Visual inspection with augmented reality head-mounted display: An Australian usability case study

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Augmented reality (AR) is an Industry 4.0 technology. For more than a decade, advancements in AR technology and their applications have been expected to revolutionise the manufacturing industry and deliver quality and productivity gains. However, due to factors such as equipment costs, skills shortages and technological limitations of AR devices, operational deployment beyond prototypes has been constrained. Real-world, usability studies can explore barriers to implementation and improve system design. This paper details a mixed method usability case study of an AR head-mounted display (HMD) to perform a short, simple visual inspection task. Twenty-two participants from South Australian manufacturing businesses inspected a pump and pipe skid while working at height. Overall, workload demands for the task were considered acceptable and just below the “low” workload threshold (NASA Task Load Index, mean = 29.3) and the system usability was rated “average” (system usability scale, mean = 68.5). The results suggest the task did not place too high a burden on users and was an appropriate initial exposure to AR HMDs, but further refinement to the interface would be desirable before implementation to minimise frustration and promote learning. Users were enthusiastic and open-minded about the AR HMD although results indicate that even with recent advancements in AR HMD technology, interactions between the task, technology and environment continue to cause human and technical challenges—some of which are relatively straightforward to address but others are dependent on larger-scale efforts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-296
Number of pages25
JournalHuman Factors and Ergonomics In Manufacturing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • augmented reality
  • cognitive load
  • head-mounted display
  • sociotechnical system
  • usability


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