This paper aims to propose a real-time augmented reality (AR)-based assembly assistance system using a coarse-to-fine marker-less tracking strategy. The system automatically adapts to tracking requirement when the topological structure of the assembly changes after each assembly step.
The prototype system’s process can be divided into two stages: the offline preparation stage and online execution stage. In the offline preparation stage, planning results (assembly sequence, parts position, rotation, etc.) and image features [gradient and oriented FAST and rotated BRIEF (ORB)features] are extracted automatically from the assembly planning process. In the online execution stage, too, image features are extracted and matched with those generated offline to compute the camera pose, and planning results stored in XML files are parsed to generate the assembly instructions for manipulators. In the prototype system, the working range of template matching algorithm, LINE-MOD, is first extended by using depth information; then, a fast and robust marker-less tracker that combines the modified LINE-MOD algorithm and ORB tracker is designed to update the camera pose continuously. Furthermore, to track the camera pose stably, a tracking strategy according to the characteristic of assembly is presented herein.
The tracking accuracy and time of the proposed marker-less tracking approach were evaluated, and the results showed that the tracking method could run at 30 fps and the position and pose tracking accuracy was slightly superior to ARToolKit.
The main contributions of this work are as follows: First, the authors present a coarse-to-fine marker-less tracking method that uses modified state-of-the-art template matching algorithm, LINE-MOD, to find the coarse camera pose. Then, a feature point tracker ORB is activated to calculate the accurate camera pose. The whole tracking pipeline needs, on average, 24.35 ms for each frame, which can satisfy the real-time requirement for AR assembly. On basis of this algorithm, the authors present a generic tracking strategy according to the characteristics of the assembly and develop a generic AR-based assembly assistance platform. Second, the authors present a feature point mismatch-eliminating rule based on the orientation vector. By obtaining stable matching feature points, the proposed system can achieve accurate tracking results. The evaluation of the camera position and pose tracking accuracy result show that the study’s method is slightly superior to ARToolKit markers.
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