ARchemist

ARchemist is a laboratory task management system, designed to enhance students’ self-awareness and control over performed hands-on exercises. It takes the advantage of mobile augmented reality solutions to provide in-situ guidance for laboratory procedures.

Informated by the visits and the interviews, we developed a tablet-based system which adopts augmented reality technology to minimize cognitive workload resulting from procedural execution. The solution places the primary focus on the contents of the performed experiment.

The system consists of 4 modules:

  • The AR mode in which the app displays you the contents and the name of the glassware, formulas, and warning labels
  • The calculation activity, crafted specifically for the chemists’ needs, stores every consecutive number entered and the results in order to simplify logging and analysis
  • The instructions provide a multi-leveled description of the tasks.
  • Static assignment activity enables the user to perform the same actions as in the AR mode but without having to use the camera

The system was assessed in two qualitative experiments in order to inform the future development of the project.

This work contributes to the HCI for education through proposing a system that can be applied in the existing laboratory classes, aiding the work with professional equipment and real reagents. We employed a low-scale and effective approach to designing for specific activities and environments. Our study highlighted the potential of technology to facilitate the learning process and boost students’ attitude.

Further research is necessary to develop a fully operational and versatile tool. Purely qualitative nature and low scale of our studies impose serious limitations to our findings. It is essential to conduct a full-scale experiment in which we will investigate the system’s true influence on the knowledge acquisition and the perceived cognitive effort.