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Today we’re gonna discuss the Augmented Reality SDKs which are currently in the trends to develop Augmented Reality Apps in Unity for various platforms. Before continuing, I would like to give a brief information about Augmented Reality if you don’t know what it is.

Augmented reality (AR) is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that reside in the real world are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information, sometimes across multiple sensory modalities, including visual, auditory, haptic, somatosensory and olfactory. Here’s the explanation video by Tedx Talks:

Now, I’m shifting to Augmented Reality SDKs which is the focus of this article. There are lots of Augmented Reality SDKs available for developing apps in Unity for multiple platforms. Here, I’m gonna list and discuss the most popular and trending SDKs.
ARKit:

ARKit is an Augmented Reality kit developed by Apple for creating AR experiences for iDevices(iPhone, iPad). It provides access to the device’s camera and sensors necessary to create AR experiences.
It uses Visual Inertial Odometry to track the world around your iDevice which enables the device to sense how it moves in a room.
ARKit can detect horizontal planes like tables and floors. Also vertical planes like walls can be detected. This helps users to place virtual objects on those surfaces in your physical room.
Features:
  • SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping).
  • Object Tracking/Recognition.
  • Persistent AR (AR experience can be stored and viewed later or can be shared with other people).
  • Face tracking.
  • Geo-location based AR experiences.
ARCore:

ARCore is developed by Google for creating AR experiences in Android devices. ARCore enables your phone to sense its environment, understand the world and interact with information. Some of the APIs are available across Android and iOS to enable shared AR experiences.
ARCore uses three key capabilities to integrate virtual content with the real world as seen through your phone’s camera:
  • Motion tracking allows the phone to understand and track its position relative to the world.
  • Environmental understanding allows the phone to detect the size and location of all types of surfaces: horizontal, vertical and angled surfaces like the ground, a coffee table or walls.
  • Light estimation allows the phone to estimate the environment’s current lighting conditions.
ARCore’s motion tracking technology uses the phone’s camera to identify interesting points, called features, and tracks how those points move over time. With a combination of the movement of these points and readings from the phone’s inertial sensors, ARCore determines both the position and orientation of the phone as it moves through space.
In addition to identifying key points, ARCore can detect flat surfaces, like a table or the floor, and can also estimate the average lighting in the area around it. These capabilities combine to enable ARCore to build its own understanding of the world around it.
Vuforia:

Vuforia Engine created by PTC is a platform for AR development, which supports leading phones, tablets, and eyewear. It allows developers to use advanced computer vision functionality for creating AR experiences and apps for Android, iOS, and UWP (Universal Windows Platform), that realistically interact with objects and the environment.
Features:
  • Image tracking: It allows the use of the image as a tracking target for virtual objects to appear in AR.
  • Object tracking: It works the same as image tracking but uses real objects instead of images.
  • Environment tracking: It allows the use of the environment such as Ground Plane to detect floors and planes to create AR experiences.
  • Cloud Recognition.
  • Works on Wearable Devices.
Maxst:

MAXST AR SDK allows developers to develop augmented reality apps. It includes six key features of the SDK for recognizing and tracking 2D images and 3D spaces. It also includes a cloud server-based image recognition feature and AR Fusion Tracker with the powerful tracking of ARKit / ARCore. It supports Android, iOS as well as Wearable devices.
Features:
  • Cloud Recognition: Cloud Recognizer provides cloud-based image recognition features for projects that require large amounts of target images and frequent data updates.
  • QR/Barcode Reader: The QR/Barcode Reader recognizes QR codes and Barcodes.
  • QR Code Tracker: With the help of QR Code, users can augment the information of QR Code used in real life, the URL link button using this information, the 3D model, or image.
  • Object Tracker: The Object Tracker loads up map files created with Visual SLAM Tool and superimposes AR experiences on them.
  • AR Fusion Tracker: The AR Fusion Tracker generates world coordination based on Image Tracker, Object Tracker, Marker Tracker, QR Code Tracker, Instant Tracker, and tracks the environments by using ARCore/ARKit.
  • Marker Tracker: The content can be augmented on markers with regular patterns. MAXST provides 8,192 unique markers.
  • Instant Tracker: The instant tracking feature allows the use of planar surfaces detected in the camera and scans the surroundings to allow the user to place 3D objects in alignment with the surface.
  • Image Tracker: Image Tracking recognizes and tracks images. Videos including transparent ones as well as 3D models and animations can be rendered based on them.
Wikitude:

Wikitude is an Augmented Reality engine used to make AR apps on native as well as cross-platform tools. It allows developers to use the functionality such as 3D model rendering, location based AR and video overlay. It also provides SLAM technology (simultaneous localisation and mapping) which facilitates seamless object tracking and recognition alongside markerless instantaneous tracking. The Wikitude SDK works across multiple platforms and is currently available to support Windows OS, iOS, Android and a number of HUD’s (heads up displays).
Features:
  • Image Recognition.
  • Instant Recognition.
  • Object Tracking.
  • Cloud Recognition.

Onirix:

Onirix is a platform that allows you to create different types of augmented reality experiences in a fast and easy way. Onirix consists of three different components: Onirix Studio, a web application to manage all your projects and contents, Onirix Player which is the way to show your experiences from the browser (WebAR) or through native apps for iOS and Android, and Onirix SDK, a Source Development Kit to create your own augmented reality applications. it allows to create virtual layers over reality with the purpose of enhancing or augmenting it.
Features:
  • WebAR: Allows developers to create AR experiences and apps that don’t require to be installed in phones. It runs directly in Web Browsers of phones by just visiting a particular website made with the Onirix WebAR technology.
  • Spatial tracking: Use a whole room or facility to place virtual content or even create indoor routes using vision based navigation.
  • QR Codes: Use current QR codes on product packaging for displaying extra information over them.
  • Image tracking: Scan a magazine cover, poster or flyer and enhance it through virtual content.
  • Surface tracking: Place a virtual object on the floor and check how it looks up to scale. i.e: furniture.
Finally, I want to present a comparison chart of all the SDKs:

pricing-table

Thank you for reading. Meet you in the next article. Till then take care and don’t forget to tell me your thoughts about which SDK suits you in the comments.



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