Development of a Tracking Method for Augmented Reality Applied to NPP Maintenance Work and Its Experimental Evaluation

Zhiqiang BIAN
Hirotake ISHII
Yoshitsugu MORISHITA
Masanori IZUMI

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems   Vol.E90-D    No.6    pp.963-974
Publication Date: 2007/06/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1361
DOI: 10.1093/ietisy/e90-d.6.963
Print ISSN: 0916-8532
Type of Manuscript: PAPER
Category: Multimedia Pattern Processing
augmented reality,  nuclear power plant,  maintenance,  linecode marker,  tracking method,  

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Nuclear power plants (NPPs) must be maintained periodically. Their maintenance efficiency must be improved and human error must be reduced simultaneously to improve NPPs' competitive capability in electricity markets. Although Augmented Reality (AR) offers great possibilities to support NPP maintenance work, some difficulties exist for application of AR to actual work support because current AR systems cannot be implemented in NPP environments without technical improvement. There are several kinds of problems such as recognition distance, tracking accuracy, and a complex working environment when applying AR to NPP field work support. Considerable extension of tracking distance and improvement of accuracy are particularly desired because NPPs are large-scale indoor environments. This study designed a linecode marker, a new type of paper-based marker, along with recognition and tracking algorithms for it to resolve these problems. In contrast to conventional paper-based markers, such as square markers and circle markers, the linecode marker is not merely easier to set up in complex industrial environments: it also enables the use of AR in industrial plants because of its considerable tracking-performance improvement. To evaluate tracking accuracy, the trackable distance, and the tracking speed of the proposed tracking method, an evaluation experiment was conducted in a large room. The experiment results show that the tracking distance is extended extremely over that of the traditional marker-based tracking method: tracking accuracy improved to 20 cm over a 10 m distance. The running speed of the tracking can be as fast as 15 frames per second using a laptop PC.