What was once simply considered wild imagination is now a possible reality thanks to Augmented Reality. AR is basically a complex computer-produced vision that augments real environments in captivating ways. It’s redefined software and app user experience today. AR software development is a booming industry as we speak. It isn’t easy to master the technology however.

Businesses that realized the potential of AR in enticing their customer base have started investing in AR-powered apps, and developers are looking for the best approaches to mastering the technology. This is where open source comes in.

The gaining momentum of AR led developers to seek out open source technologies that could help them effectively leverage the technology to build AR apps. That said, here are the 4 most popular open source AR software development kits that have impressed AR app enthusiasts across the globe.

Google’s ARCore

Right at the forefront is Google’s ARCore. Launched in 2018, the SDK is open source under Apache 2.0 license and is designed to bring sensational AR experiences to Android devices.

ARCore enables developers to build AR apps that utilize the features of the mobile device to sense and augment real world environments transforming them into interactive, creative AR scenes that serve multiple purposes. The popular platform also features a multitude of APIs. Some of these APIs are available on iOS as well supporting shared AR experiences. The three most important capabilities of the ARCore are motion tracking, light estimation, and environmental understanding.


DroidAR was initially developed in 2010, and is known as the only open source AR exclusive to Android. The SDK supports image tracking, location-based and marker-based AR app development. However, it lacks a Unity plugin. DroidAR is a simple SDK licensed under GPLv3 – an ideal option for those looking for a free kit to deliver top notch location-based and marker-based AR experiences.


Licensed under MIT, AR.js is a JavaScript-powered SDK that enables developers to incorporate AR experiences to web browsers without installing an app for it. What makes AR.js unique is the fact that it runs very fast – fast enough to hit 60 fps on older smartphone models. AR.js can be used on all popular mobile platforms such as Windows, Android, and iOS.


ARToolKit stands next to Google ARCore as one of the most widely used AR open source technologies. With this SDK, developers can overlay virtual imagery on real environments while delivering a fast and intuitive user experience. ARToolKit is also cross-platform i.e. you can use it on Linux, Android, iOS, and Windows.

Its primary capabilities include tracking the user’s viewpoint and physical position to draw the imagery, tracking of planar images, Unity plugins support, and camera orientation tracking support.


As Augmented Reality expands its boundaries and crosses over to various industries including healthcare and fashion, the open source SDKs mentioned in this blog could be the game changer for developers who wish to utilize AR in the most effective manner.

Share your thoughts below on AR and AR app development.

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Written by: verbat

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 ARCore

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.

Written by: verbat

Over 5000 developers attended Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference last month while the rest of the world waited patiently to see what the tech giant has in store for mobile application development and its future.

Apple started the conference with a video that showed a world without apps, and why the world needs apps. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook later emphasized the importance of mobile technologies in an app-driven world before an announcement of sensational innovations, officially kicking off the conference.

iOS 11 was the biggest announcement on the mobile front. The OS comes packed with new native features one of which includes the ability to send money to friends and family using Apple Pay. They have upgraded Siri and redesigned the App Store.

Apple announced a bunch of other updates for iOS 11 that will be released later this year. Here are a few of them worth checking out.

iOS 11 Updates

Augmented Reality with Apple’s ARKit

Augmented Reality has been gaining a lot of traction lately, evident from a rapid increase in AR integrated applications after the success of PokemonGO. AR can provide great, meaningful customer engagement in many ways. With Apple’s ARKit, developers can do just that. ARKit could be the game changer for the tech giant this year, as it will help developers figure out and create innovative ways to provide immersive experience to customers.

Very soon, iPhones and iPads will have AR capabilities essentially making Apple the largest AR platform on a global scale.

A more intelligent Siri

The upgraded Siri now learns from the user’s search patterns, and will attempt to accommodate their needs based on searches. Apple also revealed that they have used machine learning to make the Siri voice (both male and female) sound more natural. The tech giant’s finally made Siri capable of understanding context better, making it more useful than ever.

Customer Service via Business Chat

Business Chat is Apple’s new unique feature to improve customer service options for businesses. Unlike the existing AI chatbot systems, Business Chat allows customer care executives to directly communicate with users via chat.

This feature allows the customer to directly begin a chat session, via iMessages, with the representative of a business they have been looking up on the internet.

Drag & Drop

iOS 11 will come with the drag & drop functionality that can be used both within an app and across many apps. Users will now also be able to tap select multiple items at once with the multi-touch functionality.

iMessage Money Transfer

The iOS 11 upgrade also improves the Apple Pay feature, expanding it to include person-to-person payment features. Using iMessages or by commanding Siri, users will be able to make and receive payments with friends and family instantly.

Core NFC

iOS 11 features Core NFC which allows developers to read NFC tags to types 1 through 5, and read data in the NFC Data Exchange Format (NDEF). In addition, the new OS will also include apps that utilize NFC technology. Just like ARKit, Core NFC allows developers to try out innovative ways to use NFC.

Redesigned App Store

The App Store has been redesigned to provide users with a better experience to find the newest apps. The ‘Today’ tab addition showcases apps users would be interested in on a daily basis. The new upgrade to the Search option added a new UI. It now features more filters in search results including developers, in-app purchases, categories etc.

The store layout will now have tabs at the bottom serving as filters to categorize Games, Apps, and ‘Today’ feed.

Impact on Mobile App Development

Apple intends to make app downloading exciting again with the redesign of App Store. App Store ratings are lifetime ratings now, and developers will also be able to perform a phased roll-out of applications releasing them slowly to customers or for a specific demographic.

In addition to iOS 11, new APIs and innovative features, Apple also unveiled TVOS, macOS, and WatchOS. This means developers will now be able to build more personalized and relevant apps to users, essentially taking the company higher in the app-driven ecosystem we live in.

Written by: verbat