Started as a means for infotainment, augmented reality is gaining a lot of interest as a powerful means to let users easily interact with advanced and complex automatic and robotic systems. Basically, it consists in augmenting the real world scene by virtual elements: thus, the user maintains a sense of presence in real world, while having access to a great variety of additional information about the surrounding elements. However, to be easily accessible, such amount of information has to be presented properly to the user, in order to not generate confusion and overload her/his cognitive and sensing capabilities.
We are studying the use of augmented reality as a tool for assisting non expert users in the interaction with complex automatic machines, providing them with step by step guidance, for example, in long maintenance or assembly procedures. In this scenario, the users wears the smartglasses, which recognize the scene the user is looking at and the activity she/he is performing and guide her/him showing, for example, how two pieces need to be coupled, or what object needs to be manipulated first. Specifically, care needs to be paid with respect to providing the user with the correct amount of information and presenting such information properly.