AR for Task Assistance

Prof Xiangyu Wang’s talk on Monday 26th August explored BIM's Future Trends and Developments, including AR. Below is a video that touches on the research projects being undertaken by the Australasian Joint Research Centre for BIM and Curtin University, and demonstrates AR's potential for task support - in this case, in the assembly of complex pipework.

The idea of using Augmented Reality for Task Assistance is not new, and harks back to the early 90s. The automotive, military, and aerospace industries have explored this capacity of AR with greater drive and success than the construction sector. The reason for this has to do with the presence of standard componentry in industrial applications, where mass manufacturing provides the impetus to develop AR task support applications that speed up repetitive processes. Multiple planes, for example, share the same component engines, presenting a strong argument for the development of an AR app to aid and speed up the assembly process- please refer to the below video by Prof. Steven Feiner, 'ARMAR- Augmented Reality for Maintenance and Repair,' for an example of AR used to assemble an aircraft engine combustion chamber.

In the construction sector however, the majority of buildings tend to be produced as 'one-offs',  with teams of architects, engineers and consultants working to develop a single, custom end product. While it is possible to develop AR assembly instructions for custom, complex componentry - as in Prof. Wang's pipework assembly - the effort required to produce such one-off applications, coupled with the relative unpredictability of on-site building conditions, makes the use of AR less compelling. The assessment as to whether resources should be placed on developing AR instructions, rather than using other 'tried and true' methods ultimately depends on the spatial complexity of the task at hand. Prefabricated buildings, however, enjoy a similar  'conveyor belt' procurement process to that seen in industrial design projects, and are potentially great candidates for AR task assistance.  When a complex -and ideally, repetitive- process may be spatially communicated in a more intuitive manner than with traditional 2D media, Augmented Reality is your medium.

Improving Productivity in LNG Construction (Curtin University)
Steven Feiner on AR for Task Assistance
Posted 27 August 2013
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