Date of Award
Master of Science
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Computer Engineering; Human Computer Interaction
Maintenance operations and lifecycle engineering have largely been considered one of the most expensive and time-consuming components for industrial equipment. Numerous organizations continually devote large quantities of resources towards maintaining equipment. As such, any optimizations that would reduce maintenance errors and expenses could lead to substantial time and cost savings. Unfortunately, there are often not enough specialists to meet the demand, forcing localized technicians to perform on-site maintenance on equipment outside their area of expertise. Augmented reality (AR) is one technology that has already been shown to improve the maintenance process. While powerful, AR has its own set of challenges, from content authoring to spatial perception. This work details a system that puts both the power of AR and the knowledge of a specialist directly into the hands of an on-site technician.
An application was developed that enables a specialist to deliver AR instructions in real-time to assist a technician performing on-site maintenance. Using a novel and simplified authoring interface, specialists can create AR content in real-time, with little to no prior knowledge of augmented reality or the system itself. There has been ample research on different AR-supported processes, such as real-time authoring, video monitoring, and off-site assistance. However, much less work has been done to integrate them and leverage existing personnel knowledge to both author and deliver real-time AR instructions. This work details the development and implementation of such a system. A technical evaluation was also performed to ensure real-time connectivity in geographically distributed environments. Three network configurations were evaluated. A high-latency high-bandwidth network was used to represent a typical modern maintenance facility. A low-bandwidth network was evaluated to mimic older or more isolated maintenance environments. Lastly, a 4G LTE network was tested, showing the potential for the system to be used across global locations. Under all network configurations, the system effectively facilitated the complete disassembly of a hydraulic pump assembly.
Jonathan A Schlueter
Schlueter, Jonathan A., "Remote maintenance assistance using real-time augmented reality authoring" (2018). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 16457.