Social augmented reality application: Enhancing remote collaboration in physical work context

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
P1 OPINNÄYTTEET D 2016 Reponen
Degree programme
99 + 7
Effective, collaborative problem solving in physical work requires building common ground and active awareness of the situation. The main hypothesis of this thesis is that mobile video conversations augmented with an on-screen drawing feature are beneficial for problem solving and communication in physical work contexts. The thesis consists of the description and analysis of the design process of a mobile video application called Social Augmented Reality (SoAR) and the results of related background and user research done in the construction, facility maintenance and quality management sectors. Mapping how the users experience solving physical tasks with SoAR and especially how the drawing feature is used are the key goals of the study. Methodologically the thesis is a combination of qualitative field and interview studies and digital tool design. The iterative design process of SoAR is founded on the research-based design framework developed by Teemu Leinonen (2010). The design and development steps are described and usability research is conducted in a controlled environment in order to learn how spoken language and drawing on screen intertwine when collaborating remotely using SoAR. Usability research indicates that pointing by drawing is experienced as effective and that drawing on screen allows compact use of spoken language. Data on current communication practices in construction, facility maintenance and quality management is collected through interviews and job shadowing. Augmented video calls with SoAR are piloted in actual work contexts, and the field tests are analyzed on the basis of recorded SoAR calls and final interviews with the users. Augmented video calls appear to have a lot of potential in enhancing remote collaboration due to effective pointing at task objects and locations. SoAR is an open-source mobile application and one of the products developed in the Learning Environments research group of Aalto University, Department of Media, as a part of the Learning Layers EU project. The original concept of the application was developed by Doctoral Candidate Jana Pejoska.
Vuori, Rasmus
Thesis advisor
Virnes, Marjo
research-based design, augmented reality, remote collaboration, CSCW, construction, facility maintenance, quality management
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