AR User Manual for Home Appliances



Project Members:

Sophie Westfahl in cooperation with BSH Home Appliances

My Roles:

Conceptioning, Development, Testing & Distribution of results

How often do you find yourself thoroughly reading the user manual of a new home appliance? If you're part of the 70% of individuals who favor digital information over traditional printed manuals, this project will likely resonate with you.
In the course of my Bachelor's thesis, I conceptualized, developed, and prototyped an Augmented Reality (AR) User Manual specifically designed for dishwashers, offering an innovative solution to accommodate more than 2500 different model variants.

Methodological Approach

Embarking on this project, I had to start from ground zero, with my initial step being a simple Google search: "What is AR?". The journey thereafter led me through iterative Design Science Research Cycles, culminating in the creation of distinct artifacts. The first was an understanding of the Unity framework and the Vuforia Engine, while the second delved into resolving the challenge of multi-variant solutions. To abstractly represent both of these learning processes, I used a 3D-printed model train - a more manageable object compared to a full-scale dishwasher. The insights gathered from these initial stages subsequently formed the basis for the final dishwasher prototype.

Process diagram

AR User Manual Design

When it came to the creation of the AR User Manual content for the dishwasher prototype, the primary focus was on facilitating user familiarization with the appliance and providing detailed instructions on loading the dishwasher properly. Each component of the dishwasher is identified by a number. When the user focuses their smartphone camera on a particular part, an animation springs up, providing valuable information about that specific component. The loading process is also illustrated through an engaging animation.

Identify & Use Scene: Gaze Interaction, Red highlights, description and animation
Load Scene: Loading Examples for the bottom and top basket and cutlery drawer

Implementing Multi-variant Solutions

In the practical implementation phase, we were faced with the challenge of efficiently incorporating over 2500 product variants. Two significant problems were identified: the limited storage capacity of mobile devices insufficient for storing such an extensive array of 3D models, and the realization that not all product variants are entirely unique, but rather combinations of multiple products. While AR user manuals are not an entirely new concept, our innovation lies in the development of an efficient methodology to handle multiple product variants. The solution I devised is not only easy to implement but also highly scalable, capable of accommodating an infinite number of models across diverse product categories.

Dynamical download of variants

Further use

The effectiveness of the proposed AR framework is not limited and is also proven in further practical applications. Beyond dishwashers, we have successfully adapted and implemented this framework for refrigerators, and a roll-out across various home appliances is disussed.

Furthermorre, the innovative approach to multi-variant AR was showcased on a global platform at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Kaleidoscope conference held in Accra, Ghana.

Moreover, the framework has been recognized and honored with the "IHK Schwaben Hochschulpreis". This accolade, accompanied by a monetary reward of 3000€, is an esteemed acknowledgment of exemplary academic work between regional business and science.

Refridgerator demonstration