Augmented Reality or AR is generally seen as a technology that impacts media/entertainment industries. However, the technology is widely used in various industries like healthcare, fashion, eCommerce etc. AR mobile app development has incredible potential when it comes to redefining a brand’s customer experience. Businesses can create AR demos of projects, interactive advertisements, and display information in real-time etc. providing unique experiences to customers that remain in their thoughts.
Statista expects the global market size of AR and VR to reach around $210 billion by 2022. With such a market potential, AR’s already garnered big investments from big corporations like Google, Facebook, and Apple etc. AR mobile app development can make all the difference for modern businesses to gain a foothold in a tech-dominated future.
That said, let’s take a look at 4 great Augmented Reality SDKs for mobile apps of the future.
One of the most popular tools for creating real-time AR mobile apps, ARToolKit is open source and comes with a free library. It’s packed with many features including:
- Unity3D support
- Single/Dual camera support
- Auto camera calibration
- OpenSceneGraph support
- Multiple languages support
ARToolKit can work with all popular platforms including Linux, Android, iOS, Windows etc., and Smart Glasses.
Google’s already invested in AR & VR technologies, and seem to have an idea of what the technologies can positively lead to. So it’s no surprise that the company is at the forefront when it comes to encouraging AR mobile app development. Google’s ARCore gives developers many cool things to leverage in order to build innovative AR mobile apps, and it’s free.
The Google ARCore toolkit works with Java/OpenGL, Unreal, and Unity and packs features such as:
- Motion tracking: To determine the position and orientation of the device running the app using the camera, and aiding with placing virtual objects accurately.
- Advanced environmental analytics: To detect horizontal surfaces and other aspects of the environment so as to properly place virtual objects (similar to motion capture).
- Light estimation: This feature of the ARCore toolkit enables the app to adjust itself and match the lighting of the environment so virtual objects would look natural within that space.
ARCore works only on a select few devices (at the moment and bound to change) running Android 7.0 and higher.
Wikitude recently introduced their contribution to mobile AR revolution – SDK7. The SDK7 comes with support for simultaneous localization and mapping. Other major features include:
- 3D recognition and tracking
- Smart glasses integration
- Image recognition
- External plugins support
- Unity support
Android and iOS are supported of course, and the SDK also allows developers to work with thousands of target images hosted in the cloud. The toolkit isn’t free, and requires a subscription to access all its features.
Vuforia didn’t take long to become popular for being a great, if not, leading portal for AR mobile app development. Its wide array of features, some of which you can find below, complement the best mobile technologies of modern times to build robust, innovative apps.
- Advanced object recognition – Recognizes multiple objects including boxes, cylinders, toys, images etc.
- Text recognition support
- Custom VuMarks creation
- 3D geometric map creation using Smart Terrain feature
- Unity plugin
- Cloud & local storage support
- Static images to motion video conversion
Supported platforms of Vuforia include Android, iOS, Unity, and Windows.
There is a free version with limited features, and many commercial versions. The classic Vuforia requires a one-time payment of $499. The cloud version can be subscribed for $99 per month.
AR-driven mobile apps are embraced with excitement by a global community that’s becoming increasingly reliant on friendly, innovative technologies. As AR gains prominence and momentum, app developers need to refine their skillsets, master this technology, and channel its potential into a different genre of mobile apps.
The toolkits mentioned in this blog, and many other toolkits out there can be of help for AR app development aspirants. AR/VR technology is the game-changer that modern businesses are betting on. It’s time for everyone else to jump on that bandwagon.