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Creating Focus: Augmented Reality for Better Standards



Matthew L. Aronoff


Successful collaborative engineering depends on clear communication between all members of the development process. As that communication becomes more and more complex -- including not only textual descriptions, but CAD models, diagnostic data, process control data, and so on -- the quality of the standards used to exchange and understand that information likewise becomes more and more important. If the standard is incomplete, redundant, ambiguous, or conflicting, most of the expected benefits are lost. In order to improve data exchange standards, explicit data models are required. However, creating those data models is a process that requires active collaboration between domain experts familiar with the information being exchanged. What is needed is a solution that encourages interaction without requiring a high level of data modeling expertise. Focus is a software tool designed to provide such an environment. It is a distributed design and conferencing application which uses augmented reality to allow domain experts to come together in real time to create data models. Focus uses concrete, 3-dimensional objects in place of abstract data modeling concepts such as domain classes. Any domain expert can therefore create data models without first having to master a modeling language like UML. In addition, because of the networked nature of Focus, it is easier to ensure the participation of the best domain experts regardless of location. Each domain expert also becomes an active participant in creating the model, which further reduces the possibility of conflicting interpretations of a given concept becoming integrated into the final standard. This paper details the development, features, and expected benefits of the Focus tool, which was initially described at PDE 2006, in a collaborative engineering environment.
Proceedings Title
PDE 2007: 9th NASA-ESA Workshop on Product Data Exchange
Conference Dates
May 2-4, 2007
Conference Location
Santa Barbara, CA


3d, augmented reality, data modeling, focus, uml, xml


Aronoff, M. (2007), Creating Focus: Augmented Reality for Better Standards, PDE 2007: 9th NASA-ESA Workshop on Product Data Exchange, Santa Barbara, CA, [online], (Accessed July 21, 2024)


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Created May 1, 2007, Updated January 27, 2020