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What is Augmented Reality and Best Tools to Built It?
What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented Reality is the artificial environment that is produced by mixing the components of the digital world in the physical world of the user. In the world of AR, the user does not get magically transported to a new world, that is different from reality. Somewhat, it just places some artificial components in the physical context of the user, which enhances the perception of the user’s idea of reality.
The purpose of augmented reality has been widely accepted in recent years by both users and app development companies. Especially, since the arrival of apps like Snapchat and Pokemon Go, the majority of Augmented Reality has attained the maximum of the sky.
Presently, there are different kinds of AR services in the market that allow interaction with the outside world. These services fall broadly into two categories depending on the technology required to identify objects:
- Recognition Based
If a mobile device enabled with a camera tracks its exact position through the GPS, an application can be built around it to give information about any object in the field of vision in 3D. The application would exploit the capabilities of any of the numerous navigation sensors incorporated in the latest smartphones to help contextualize surrounding information. Below are a few navigation sensors used to build location-based AR applications.
- A GPS to accurately decipher the user’s position using satellite triangulation
- A digital compass, also known as a solid-state compass, to measure the relative position of the Earth’s magnetic North Pole
- An accelerometer to detect changes in speed and orientation, and the variation of inertial motion, including falling and vibration shocks
- A gyroscope to support the exactness of the accelerometer and correct disparities in the conservation of angular momentum All these features, which were too far-fetched for a mobile phone a few years ago, are now the basis for the development of various AR services that impose virtual information on real space.
- It improves the interactivity of the user within the digital world and the physical world.
- The users don’t even have to do one single thing to go out of the way to generate any information.
- With the aid of AR devices, all location-based notice is in front of them instantly.
How Does Augmented Reality Work?
The working mechanism of Augmented Reality is as simple as you can easily connect with. A layer of artificial things with the tech-aided opinion of the real world enables one to have great communication with the virtual world. In short, AR is a mixed form of virtual reality and the real world. Augmented Reality doesn’t drip down the real physical world, but it joins new layers to it for an enhanced experience. You probably got confused with the concepts of AR, VR, and MR. Let’s break from here by knowing how AR works differently from others.
The data included with AR is distinct and more likely to act based on what you do and where you are. In a nutshell, a device with AR-enabled software functioning initiates recognizing a symbol, object, or image and adds relevant content to it as layered visualizations so that you can feel it as real.
The best things about AR include improving understandings, highlighting major aspects, and presenting timely data. All of the features of AR widely explored by AR apps. Starting from a simplistic text notification to complex instructions, AR allows accessible functions with zero difficulties to the users. The prime goal of AR is to pass artificial objects into the real world.
BEST AUGMENTED REALITY TOOLS
It’s time to review the most popular augmented reality platforms on the market to consider features. Though there are quite many of them, we’ve shortlisted eight AR SDKs.
1. Apple ARKit
Apple launched its own augmented reality SDK during the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).
Apple ARKit will be ready for the brand-new iOS 11. Apple has set a lot of effort into creating augmented reality experiences available to iOS developers.
Let’s go across the most prominent functionalities of Apple’s AR SDK:
- Visual Inertial Odometry accurately tracks the environment by combining visual information from the camera with high-level vision analysis.
- The plane disclosure enables iPhones and iPads to examine the environment and detect horizontal planes (floors, tables, etc).
- Lighting predicting Automatically analyzes the significance of the light in the real world and regulates the amount of light smacking virtual objects.
- ARKit can be used in alliance with the Unity and Unreal engines.
ARToolKit is open-source augmented reality software that enables you to tailor the source code for your mobile app. The functionality is rather good for a free SDK:
- Integration with GPS and compasses for creating location-based AR apps.
- Automatic camera calibration utilities.
- Concurrent tracking, allowing you to create AR apps proficient in tracking several objects.
- Single or dual-camera support.
This open-source augmented reality SDK can run on multiple platforms, including Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, and macOS as well. Moreover, ARToolKit has Unity and OpenSceneGraph support. Though ARToolKit has quite a lot of features for a free SDK, it requires time to integrate and configure.
EasyAR is offering its next-generation SDK, which gives a number of cutting-edge highlights, such as SLAM, 3D tracking, and screen recording. However, these functionalities are accessible only in the paid 2.0 SDK Pro, not in the SDK Basic. Even the free EasyAR augmented reality SDK, however, boasts an extraordinary set of functions, such as cloud recognition and unlimited recognition queries. Also, the free version can store up to 1,000 on-device targets.
Kudan is a successful Android and iOS augmented reality SDK that doesn’t encourage other platforms. However, Kudan does have Unity support. Kudan can recognize 2D and 3D images and supports SLAM. This AR SDK practices the high-performance KudanCV engine that claims a low memory footprint. The Kudan augmented reality development kit is available with both free and commercial licenses. The free one holds watermarks, though.
Maxst offers two kinds of software to create augmented reality apps: Maxst AR SDK 2D and Maxst AR SDK 3D. As their names suggest, one tool can recognize only 2D images, while the other is far more powerful and can track 3D objects.
- Maxst AR SDK 3D boasts such features as SLAM, a physics engine effect (used, for example, to create the effect of snow falling and accumulating on the roof), and an occlusion effect (when virtual content is fully or partially screened by a real object).
- Maxst AR SDK 2D appears with various image recognition (up to 200 images per channel), video augmentation, and more.
Maxst augmented reality development tools are available for free (with watermarks) as well as under a commercial license.
Vuforia is one of the greatest programs for augmented reality development, as it offers an exciting set of functions. Let’s go over some of them:
- The Vuforia augmented reality SDK can recognize 2D and 3D targets such as cylinders, boxes, and consumer products.
- Vuforia has a standard English vocabulary with over 100,000 words to recognize the text, or you can use your own custom vocabulary.
- Vuforia can play videos when target surfaces are detected.
- VuMarks are Vuforia’s own barcodes that not only encode data but act as markers as well.
- Virtual buttons allow you to use various surfaces as a touchscreen.
- Local or cloud recognition.
This SDK is available for free, but with Vuforia watermarks and restricted functionality. Additional functions that unleash the full potential of this AR SDK are available under several commercial licenses.
The latest version of the Wikitude augmented reality development kit includes a lot of top-notch AR features that allow you to build both – and location-based AR mobile apps. Let’s go over the most important capabilities of the Wikitude AR SDK:
- Instant tracking for mapping environments and displaying of virtual objects without markers. This function is based on Wikitude’s SLAM technology.
- Geolocation support for adding location-based services to your AR mobile applications.
- On-device and cloud recognition.
- An extensive tracking function keeps displaying virtual content even when the camera misses the marker.
Apart from Unity, the Wikitude AR SDK supports other development frameworks, such as Cordova, Appcelerator Titanium, and Xamarin. This augmented reality development kit comes with commercial licenses only, though a free trial is available.
XZIMG offers three different augmented reality products:
- XZIMG Augmented Face is a facial tracking technology that works through the Unity plugin.
- XZIMG Augmented Vision recognizes simple images and black-and-white markers.
- XZIMG Magic Face is a solution for makeup-based and faces replacement applications.
The database is created locally with the help of the Unity plugin. XZIMG tools can be stationed on a variety of platforms like Android, iOS, and Windows. Also, XZIMG can be deployed for HTML 5 (through Unity WebGL)
AUGMENTED REALITY SDK COMPARISON
Based on the criteria above, we’ve compiled a comparison chart of the top eight augmented reality platforms.
Apple AR KIT
AR Tool Kit
Free, Open Source
Android, Ios, Linux, Windows, Macos
Android, Ios, UWP, Macos.
Android, Ios, Windows, Macos
Android, Ios, Windows
Android, Ios, Uwp
Smart Glasses Support
Augmented Reality app development is seeing a rise in today’s market. At the rate at which it is going forward, the time is not far when Augmented Reality constitutes a billion-dollar industry.
Have ideas for creating an augmented reality app? Our company has 6 years of experience in delivering complex IT-projects for medium and large companies from the U.S and E.U. Contact us and let’s build a futuristic solution for your dream!
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