Kristoffer Winge, Rune Haugaard, Timothy Merritt
Augmented reality, CNC, Laser cutter
Laser cutters are increasingly relevant within many user contexts and have become an essential tool for model building and prototyping. While providing precision and flexibility, these tools are typically suited for expert staff in industrial settings. VAL (Visually Augmented Laser cutting) proposes a novel system utilizing spatial augmented reality techniques to provide visual augmentation directly on the work surface. VAL involves projection of the user's model prior to and during laser cutting providing key benefits including minimizing idle time, reduction of errors, and support for new creative practices. We interview and observe laser cutter users to identify issues and concerns in the shared work context of a design school and describe the design process for our prototype, which aims to address these problems and unmet needs. Initial evaluation suggests VAL reduces complexity and raises user confidence. Our findings extend research on adapting new use contexts and creative practices with industrial fabrication tools.