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Research and Development in Virtual Engineering

Mobile Assistance Systems for Use in Manufacturing

Mobile assistance systems with augmented reality contents can support workers in many industrial use scenarios, e.g. manual or partially automated manufacturing of complex products. A head mounted display or HMD inserts information in worker’s field of view as necessary and synchronous with their position so that jobs no longer have to be interrupted. Especially in light of demographic change, assistance based on visual information is an integral part of smart workstation systems that help people execute their jobs according to their skills.

The technologies and methods employed for the mobile augmented reality system are matched to the particular application domain. In collaboration with occupational medicine specialists, the Fraunhofer IFF studies the causes of changed stresses on users in order to guarantee that augmented reality systems are used productively and accepted by users. An order picking workstation where test subjects select product components based on a job order was designed as a reference scenario for these studies.

This scenario permits long-time studies in a realistic work environment. The mobile augmented reality system for this blends part numbers and information on navigation to picking locations in the test subject’s HMD. User studies with different optical-see-through HMDs and visualizations have been performed in the reference scenario in order to the stress on workers using the augmented reality system. It was demonstrated that the stress is no higher than that of conventional modes of work and job performance and quality can be improved.