You may have noticed that almost all the new smartphones that are being launched these days sport two cameras at the back- one additional for sensing depth. While this obviously enhances photographic capabilities, there is something additional about them. You can consider them as the groundwork for mass deployment of AR that is going to come much sooner than you might expect.
For a quick overview, tech companies have been exploring the technology for a very long time of which Google’s Tango and Microsoft’s Hololens remained the most popular. But the problem is, it requires a whole bunch of different sensors and cameras and computing power. Then Apple took a new lead by making its smartphone AR-ready by using two cameras and releasing an SDK- ARKit that did all the heavy lifting. Soon Google followed with ARCore and Qualcomm with it’s new AR-tuned platforms. So as of now, virtually all the new devices are AR-capable and the only missing link is the applications themselves.
As an app developer, you couldn’t have asked for a better time- a largely unexplored market with cutting-edge tools at your disposal to serve them. Here are some of the finest of the:
As mentioned, it is the official SDK of Apple to build iOS applications with AR capabilities. Except that it is limited only for iOS 11 and above, it is one of the best SDKs with almost all features you’d need. It can detect and recognize all kinds of images and objects and is also excellent at 3D tracking.
It is Google’s counterpart of ARKit and has more or less the same features. If you are looking to develop an AR-enabled Android app, this SDK can help you in motion tracking, in an understanding environment, and light estimation- all of which are swiftly handled in the background without the need to delve into the details.
As the name suggests, this is a very simplified open-source SDK that should be perfect for those just starting with AR applications. Having support for platforms like iOS, Android, Mac, among others, the SDK currently offers only image recognition and tracking but has promised to bring all those other features in its next update. You can use Easy AR for free.
It is one of the most popular AR SDK with a sweeping range of features. Along with all those capabilities of other SDKs like object, text, and image recognition, it also offers additional perks like Vuforia Fusion that comes handy when dealing with fragmentation and sensor data. The SDK is available in various price models including free, $99/month, $499/app, and even custom pricing for enterprise usage.
As you can see, there are all kinds of AR SDKs available- native, cross-platform, free, open-source, paid, and so forth. So when an app developer has to pick one of these, try not to find the best of them, because there are none, but pick the one that aligns the most with your AR app development environment. That is, if you are building a native app for Android or iOS, there is no point in deploying a cross-platform tool or if you are building an app just for test cases, you should probably avoid using those paid tools.