Comparative effectiveness of augmented reality in object assembly
Although there has been much speculation about the potential of Augmented Reality (AR), there are very few empirical studies about its effectiveness. This paper describes an experiment that tested the relative effectiveness of AR instructions in an assembly task. Task information was displayed in user's field of view and registered with the workspace as 3D objects to explicitly demonstrate the exact execution of a procedure step. Three instructional media were compared with the AR system: a printed manual, computer assisted instruction (CAI) using a monitor-based display, and CAI utilizing a head-mounted display. Results indicate that overlaying 3D instructions on the actual work pieces reduced the error rate for an assembly task by 82%, particularly diminishing cumulative errors - errors due to previous assembly mistakes. Measurement of mental effort indicated decreased mental effort in the AR condition, suggesting some of the mental calculation of the assembly task is offloaded to the system.