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FIRST day on the assembly line? Keep your eyes on the ghost hands and you’ll do just fine. A device developed at Fujitsu Laboratories in Kanagawa, Japan, can train beginners by projecting the hands of experts in front of their own.
A video of hands doing a particular task is displayed by an overhead projector, with explanatory text and outlines of important objects or schematics shown alongside. Virtual buttons projected on the work surface let the user pause and rewind the video if they want to go back over something they missed.
To test the system, the team asked 16 people to build a printed circuit board out of Lego. Half the group were guided by the virtual hands; the rest watched ordinary videos of someone assembling the bricks.
, on average. They also said they could remember the steps better. The results were presented earlier this month at the Intelligent User Interface conference in Sonoma, California.
“People who were guided by the virtual hands completed the task in less than half the time“
The Fujitsu team is now planning to test the prototype on an assembly line with real workers. Augmented reality will soon be widely used to help people do their jobs better. Already there arelike aircraft and investigating crime scenes.
The idea of being guided by virtual hands is compelling, says Blair MacIntyre, who works on augmented reality at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. “The hand motions of the expert give you hints as to how to approach the task even if you sort of know what you’re doing.”
This article appeared in print under the headline “Ghost hands to guide newbies on assembly lines”