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Problems Analysis and Solutions for the Establishment of Augmented Reality Technology in Maintenance and Education

Research output: Collection of articlesDoctoral Thesis

Details

Original languageEnglish
PublisherTampere University of Technology
Number of pages67
ISBN (Electronic)978-952-15-3451-5
ISBN (Print)978-952-15-3435-5
StatePublished - 30 Jan 2015
Publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

Publication series

NameTampere University of Technology. Publication
PublisherTampere University of Technology
Volume1275
ISSN (Print)1459-2045

Abstract

Maintenance is one important area in the life-cycle management of scientific facilities. The design of a maintenance model requires time and effort, and the best solutions and technologies need to be considered for its implementation. Scientific infrastructures that emit ionizing radiation are complex facilities that require taking into account not only traditional maintenance approaches but also specific solutions to prevent operational and health risks. Radiation directly affects workers' health, and therefore new approaches for enhancing maintenance operations are sought. For instance, scientific facilities are integrating remote handling techniques to reduce the radiation dose of workers. As a result of the need for risk reduction, a fast and accurate maintenance procedure is required to provide working conditions for the equipment, increasing the safety in the facilities and reducing costs and maintenance time. Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that has previously shown benefits in the maintenance field. AR applications allow workers to follow virtual in-place instructions of the maintenance tasks displayed on real devices. This approach provides shorter maintenance time, as workers do not need to find the required help in the appropriate manual and reduces risks, as the right steps to follow are always displayed to the worker. This is especially important in scientific facilities, as less maintenance time implies less radiation affecting workers and equipment, while less risk reduces the potential damages created by a wrong procedure. This thesis proposes a new platform to provide a flexible AR solution targeted to help maintenance procedures at scientific facilities. The platform comprises the required elements for the creation and updating and execution of AR applications, including maintenance-specific features. The platform includes a powerful AR engine capable of producing AR scenes in maintenance environments and an authoring tool for the creation of the AR applications. The platform has been tested in a prototype case in a real facility, where a guiding system has been designed to aid the collimator exchange at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. In order to demonstrate the flexibility of the platform in adapting to other environments, it has been used as basis to develop a solution for a problem detected in a second field: education. AR has been previously used in the education field with promising results. However, the technology has not been established in the large majority of schools and universities. The difficulties in creating AR experiences for educators (related to the lack of time or the required programming expertise) have constituted a barrier to the expansion of the technology in the field. Therefore, new solutions that help to overcome this barrier are needed. For this reason, the main platform developed in this thesis has been utilised as a basis to develop a new educational platform that aims to promote collaboration between developers and educators in order to overcome the detected problems. Finally, during the development of the aforementioned solutions, a comprehensive review of the state of the art of AR technology has been carried out. During the study, the main drivers and bottlenecks of the technology in several fields have been analysed. The results of this analysis have been published with the aim of helping other researchers to find solutions that help the spread of AR technology.

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