The Augmented Reality Content Management System
Augmented Reality (AR) has the potential to make paper bases manual unnecessary. The technical hurdles get smaller and smaller. Tablet computers offer better a performance for less money and the necessary software kits are built directly by the manufactures. But content creation remains to be a problem for experts. Most systems require high level programming languages. Geometries must be created in special tools, CAD data have to be post processes to create impressive AR scenarios. But the real benefit of AR based instructions is the presentation of context- and location-sensitive information.
Creating AR instructions is a two-step process. First, the task gets split into small, actionable subtasks that are entered in a web interface. For each subtask texts, images, links and safety symbols are added to give the user enough information to successfully finish the task.
AR only plays a role in the second step. For each step an AR hint gets placed at the real machinery using a tablet application. The user can choose from a small library of prepared hints, including safety symbols and a variety of arrows. The selected position gets saved with the rest of the content in a central database.
The same tablet application is used by the end-user to view the whole instruction. There, the placed AR hints are getting shown on the tablet together with the description, links and images. The instruction then helps the user to solve the task step by step.
In use at Ruhr-University
The system gets used in education at the Ruhr-University. At chairs from the department of process engineering as well as material science AR based instructions are used to guide students through laboratory experiments. Conducted studies proof the usefulness and ease-of-use of the system, both for educators as well as students.
The ARCMS should be further spread by offering training for educators and a direct connection to the used E-Learning-System. Because of the modularized concept the ARCMS can be used in completely unrelated fields. At the Center for Medicine Didactics the system is used by medical students in the ‘Skills Lab’, together with the Chair for History Didactics the system explains historic exhibits.