Towards Modern Cost-effective and Lightweight Augmented Reality Setups

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Telmo Oliveira Adão
David Gonçalves Narciso
António Cunha
Emanuel Peres Correia
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Augmented Reality (AR) has been widely used in areas such as medicine, education, entertainment and cultural heritage to enhance activities that include (but are not limited to) teaching, training and amusement, through the completion of the real world with viewable and usually interactive virtual data (e.g. 3D models, geo-markers and labels). Despite the already confrmed AR benefts in the referred areas, many of the existing AR systems rely on heavy and obsolete hardware bundles composed of several devices and numerous cables that usually culminate in considerably expensive solutions. This issue is about to be tackled through the recent technological developments which currently enable the production of small-sized boards with remarkable capabilities - such as processing, visualization and storage - at relatively low prices. Following this line of reasoning, this paper proposes and compares fve different multi-purpose AR mobile units, running Windows or Android operating systems, having in mind low-cost and lightweight requirements and different levels of immersion: a laptop computer, two tablets, a smartphone and smartglasses. A set of tests was carried out to evaluate the proposed unit performance. Moreover, a set of users' assessments was also conducted, highlighting an overall acceptance regarding the use of the proposed units in AR applications. This paper is an extension of a previous work (Pádua et al., 2015) in which a conceptual architecture for mobile units - complying with AR requirements (including visualization, processing, location and communication) for indoor or outdoor utilization - was presented, along with a shorter set of lightweight and cost-effective AR mobile units and respective performance tests. Copyright © 2015,.