Industry and academia have repeatedly demonstrated the transformative potential of Augmented Reality (AR) guided assembly instructions. In the past, however, computational and hardware limitations often dictated that these systems were deployed on tablets or other cumbersome devices. Often, tablets impede worker progress by diverting a user's hands and attention, forcing them to alternate between the instructions and the assembly process. Head Mounted Displays (HMDs) overcome those diversions by allowing users to view the instructions in a hands-free manner while simultaneously performing an assembly operation. Thanks to rapid technological advances, wireless commodity AR HMDs are becoming commercially available. Specifically, the pioneering Microsoft HoloLens, provides an opportunity to explore a hands-free HMD’s ability to deliver AR assembly instructions and what a user interface looks like for such an application. Such an exploration is necessary because it is not certain how previous research on user interfaces will transfer to the HoloLens or other new commodity HMDs. In addition, while new HMD technology is promising, its ability to deliver a robust AR assembly experience is still unknown. To assess the HoloLens’ potential for delivering AR assembly instructions, the cross-platform Unity 3D game engine was used to build a proof of concept application. Features focused upon when building the prototype were: user interfaces, dynamic 3D assembly instructions, and spatially registered content placement. The research showed that while the HoloLens is a promising system, there are still areas that require improvement, such as tracking accuracy, before the device is ready for deployment in a factory assembly setting.
Gabriel Evans, Jack Miller, Mariangely Iglesias Pena, Anastacia MacAllister, and Eliot Winer, "Evaluating the Microsoft HoloLens through an augmented reality assembly application," Proc. SPIE 10197, Degraded Environments: Sensing, Processing, and Display 2017, 101970V (Presented at SPIE Defense + Security: April 12, 2017; Published: 5 May 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2262626.
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