Augmented reality (AR) has recently become a worldwide research topic. AR technology renders intuitive computer-generated contents on users’ physical surroundings. To improve process efficiency and productivity, researchers and developers have paid increasing attention to AR applications in engineering analysis and simulation. The integration of AR with numerical simulation, such as the finite element method, provides a cognitive and scientific way for users to analyze practical problems. By incorporating scientific visualization technologies, an AR-based system superimposes engineering analysis and simulation results directly on real-world objects. Engineering analysis and simulation involving diverse types of data are normally processed using specific computer software. Correct and effective visualization of these data using an AR platform can reduce the misinterpretation in spatial and logical aspects. Moreover, tracking performance of the AR platforms in engineering analysis and simulation is crucial as it influences the overall user experience. The operating environment of the AR platforms requires robust tracking performance to deliver stable and accurate information to the users. In addition, over the past several decades, AR has undergone a transition from desktop to mobile computing. The portability and propagation of mobile platforms has provided engineers with convenient access to relevant information in situ. However, on-site working environment imposes constraints on the development of mobile AR-based systems. This paper aims to provide a systematic overview of AR in engineering analysis and simulation. The visualization, tracking techniques as well as the implementation on mobile platforms are discussed. Each technique is analyzed with respect to its pros and cons, as well its suitability to particular types of applications.
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