Blippar developing ‘WordPress of AR’ to feed Apple’s ARKit, Google’s ARCore

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Early entry into augmented reality solutions company Blippar has two new products, with one being a universal kit to develop ARKit and ARCore applications and provide them data.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

Can Apple’s ARKit shift AR from short-term gimmick to long-term staple for brands?

With only 2,000 ARKit-enabled apps to its name and installs showing a downward trend, the hype around Apple’s augmented reality technology went quickly from red-hot to lukewarm. News of the latest ARKit update has reignited excitement among developers and brands alike, with the changes inching us closer to a new world of AR possibilities and increased adoption. The question is, can Apple’s news finally be the much-anticipated catalyst that shifts the current lackluster perception of AR from short-term gimmick to long-term staple for brands?

Apple’s recent ARKit changes have opened up an ocean of possibilities for AR experiences, and the quiet ripples around the AR debate have quickly massed into tidal waves. Developers, brands, and consumers are starting to understand that AR can indeed be more than a bit of fun: it can be genuinely useful. And this realization might just push ARKit adoption on a whole new trajectory.

Marked believable change

From a developer’s perspective, the changes enable designers to make their AR experiences react to the real world in a much more believable and accurate way. Before ARKit, most developers could only really use marker-based AR, which restricted the experience to being overlaid on a physical marker in the real world — and if that marker moved out of the field of view of the camera, the experience would disappear.

Then, when ARKit first launched, it took away the need for the marker — giving developers much more freedom by suddenly enabling the experience to be anywhere around you. But it was still limited — it could only detect horizontal surfaces such as tables and floors, which meant that although you could do things such as simulate a ball bouncing off the floor, you couldn’t bounce it off a wall or a door or a pillar. The experience would stop working, thus breaking the illusion.

But this new update provides the additional functionality that allows you to be able to track walls and doors and any vertical surface. So, not only can your AR objects interact with those surfaces — for instance, an animated character leaning against a doorframe — it also means that the effects within the experience, such as lighting, can be made much more realistic.

For example, we can simulate lighting within the experience to reflect where windows and doors would be in a space, therefore casting shadows and reflections that are true to life. All of this adds an additional level of believability – making the experience more immersive, while allowing developers to have more fun too.

The other major feature that ARKit adds is the capability to detect markers, which it couldn’t actually do before. This means you can layer your AR experience with triggers for new content. So, you could be using an AR experience which then detects a marker, which then triggers the next stage of content — giving you a staggered and comprehensive overall experience.

This opens up all sorts of exciting opportunities, from gaming to storytelling to brand experiences. And the more compelling the experience, the more developers will be interested in trying it and engaging with it.

Power to the people

To date, the growth and adoption of AR has been stunted by its Achilles heel: the widespread perception that it’s cool, but not very useful. In reality, devices like the Microsoft HoloLens have shown us that far from being a gimmick, AR can be an incredibly powerful tool. You only have to read about the medical uses the HoloLens is being put to – for example, during cross-continent surgery – to see that.

What this ARKit update does is put the power that the (very expensive) HoloLens offers into the hands of anybody with a reasonably modern smartphone.

And the scope of use is diverse: from education to medicine, entertainment or construction. Imagine being able to point your tablet at a wall in a new building development and have X-ray vision showing you where all the pipework and cabling runs in the wall. That’s a genuinely useful application and it’s just there, on your smartphone, in your hand, in the moment.

Fortunately, amongst the serious talk, the fun hasn’t fizzled. There’s much more potential to design addictive and responsive AR mobile games too. So, all in all, the update will make AR more engaging and useful, both of which are crucial for adoption.

Return on reality

AR has always been about making an existing environment into something better than it already is — and the more it can model and reason with the environment it’s being used in, the more powerfully it can do that. This opens the floodgates of potential for in-the-moment AR experiences. Smart brands will turn this into an opportunity for enhanced ROI. The question is, how?

With augmented point of sale materials, brands can appeal to customers more directly, as Ferrari proved when AR first started attracting attention. Now the ARKit updates can take that direct appeal even further – making it accessible to everyone. Imagine a poster for a new car at a bus stop or in a waiting room. With ARKit, you scan the poster and the phone will put you in the point of view of the driver, so you’re free to explore the inside of the car with a good sense of scale. You could slide over to the passenger seat to see what that’s like. Turn around to look in the back. You could even reduce the car to a radio control size and drive it around on the sidewalk in front of you.

James Burrows is the Technical Director at Immersive VR.

Apple – VentureBeat

Apple to host ‘Introduction to ARKit’ session at Game Developers Conference

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Developers hoping to incorporate augmented reality into iOS games and apps will be able to get some assistance from Apple itself during the upcoming Game Developers Conference, as part of the ‘Introduction to Apple’s ARKit’ session presented by the iPhone and iPad producer.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

Apple to Offer Presentation on ARKit at This Year’s Game Developers Conference

Apple will be hosting a session at this year’s Game Developers Conference for the first time, offering an introduction to ARKit, its augmented reality platform for developers.

The session will be presented by Michael Kuhn, who leads Apple’s ARKit engineering team.

Entitled “Introduction to Apple’s ARKit: Best practices and recent updates,” the talk will cover core concepts of the ARKit framework and the ARKit API. It’s designed to teach game developers how to get started with ARKit, and it will cover ARKit best practices.

This session introduces core concepts of the ARKit framework, it’s underlying principles, and the ARKit API. It explains how to get started with ARKit using the different tracking and scene understanding capabilities as well integration into rendering/game engines. The session also highlights best practices for AR like starting an experience, placing objects in the real world, interacting with them and implications for games. In addition it explains basic concepts and challenges of AR and Computer Vision to help avoid common pitfalls and allow the creation of great experiences.

Apple has not previously offered developer sessions at GDC, but this is the first GDC since the launch of ARKit and Apple is likely hoping to get more game developers interested in implementing augmented reality features.

ARKit was introduced as part of iOS 11 back in September of 2017, and since then, developers have incorporated augmented reality features into more than 2,000 apps. Major improvements are coming to ARKit with the launch of iOS 11.3 and ARKit 1.5, which may come out right around when GDC takes place and will likely be a topic of discussion.

ARKit 1.5 can map irregularly shaped surfaces for better detection of ambient surroundings, it can recognize and map vertical surfaces like walls and doors, and it includes an image detection feature that works on everything from movie posters to bar codes.

The 2018 Game Developers Conference will kick off on March 19 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, and it will last until March 23.

Tag: ARKit

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Demo shows how ARKit will change bookstores forever

ARKit hasn’t produced any apps that are absolutely must-haves, but that could soon change with iOS 11.3. Apple has added some new ARKit features in the updates slated for release this spring. iOS developer Andrew Hart has already created a demo that utilizes the image recognition tools to identify books on a store shelf while […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

Cult of Mac