6 Augmented Reality Tools for Developers

AR tools exist to offer developers adequate resources to design and develop a wonderful Augmented Reality experience. AR is forever evolving. What was once used for the sole purpose of entertainment now has a far-reaching impact on all industries. It has revolutionized the online shopping experience with virtual try-on. We have already seen the implementation of AR try-on on popular websites and applications, such as Amazon, Ikea, Modiface, etc. We have created this list of popular Augmented Reality tools for Developers for those who have started dipping their toes in the waters of Augmented reality.

Remember that developing each AR application will be a bit different. Although you might work with a similar user interface, the code will have to adapt to the requirements. These requirements may vary, some of them may include building an app with one or more of the following features:

  • Smart Glass Support
  • Cloud Storage
  • Body Tracking or Face Tracking
  • Detecting Surfaces
  • Barcode Scanner
  • Screen Recorder
  • Object identification (2D and 3D)

We have provided additional details and links to resources such as use cases, documentation, SDK downloads, supported platforms, and pricing plans for apps that have paid plans. The list includes two renowned tools that are ARCore and ARKit. These tools have already helped build numerous applications and games with the help of these free resources. Anyone can access these, provided they have their devices support them.

Google’s ARCore (Free):

One of the prominent tech giants in the world, Google, launched ARCore on 1st March 2018. It was a year after the launch of Apple’s ARKit, which was exclusive to the iOS community. Google’s launch of ARCore opened development opportunities for other platforms. The constant growth and updates ARCore receive allows developers to experience and utilize improved features such as surface detection, motion tracking, and light estimation. ARCore allows your devices to detect flat surfaces, letting you place the Ar objects on or against them. Its light estimation feature detects lightning, using it to cast shadows and to detect colours. Other features include depth detection, playback and recording technology, and persistent cloud anchors. For more information on the workings and ARCore features, refer to the official ARCore documentation.

 

Use Cases:

Supported Platforms: Android, Unity, Unreal, and iOS

Refer to the extensive list of Devices supported by ARCore, here.

SDK Download Link: ARCore

Apple’s ARKit (Free):

Apple’s ARkit was launched in June 2017. It wasn’t a surprise to find out that it only supported iOS devices. ARkit is compatible with iOS version 11 and higher. So, what does ARKit offer? It presents developers with features such as 3D object recognition, space recognition, Tracking and detecting two-dimensional images, light estimation for creating realistic virtual objects, recognizing horizontal planes, face tracking, and more. For more information about the ARKit, refer to the official ARKit documentation. Remember to download the ARKit SDKs and betas. You’ll need to sign in with an apple developer id. The link has been provided below. Apple also provides resources, such as AR creation tools, including Reality Composer and Reality Converter beta.

 

Uses Cases:

SDK Download Link: ARKit

To check device compatibility, refer to Apple’s iOS device compatibility reference.

Supported Platforms: iOS 11 or higher, Unity

ARToolKit (Free):

ARToolKit offers a package of open-source libraries that you can use to create AR apps by using marker recognition. ARToolKit has shared some use cases/projects made by using these open-source libraries. http://www.hitl.washington.edu/artoolkit/projects/

Its focus lies on providing impressive functionality by utilizing features, such as Camera position and orientation tracking, Image processing, Marker detection with code, Square marker templates support, and camera calibration code. For more information about ARToolKit, refer to its official documentation.

 

Use Cases:

Supported Platforms: Windows, Linux, SGI, and MAC OS X.

SDK Download Link: ARToolKit

MAXST AR (Free Trial: Non-commercial use):

Unlike Google and Apple, MAXST AR is a paid AR development tool. Although it has a free trial, it offers a free license only for non-commercial apps, allowing developers like you to check it before you purchase it. Its wide range of features includes a barcode scanner, image tracker, fusion tracker, cloud recognition, object tracker, marker tracker, and instant tracker. With MAXST AR’s visual slam tool, you can create a map of 3D objects and environments. For more information about MAXst Developer, refer to its official documentation.

 

Use Cases:

Supported Platforms: Android, iOS, and Unity.

Refer to the list of Devices supported by MAXst, here.

SDK Download link: MAXST AR

Pricing and features Covered in Plans:

EasyAR (Free Trial: Non-commercial use)

Like MAXST AR, Easy AR offers a free trial that allows you to explore the multitude of features offered to the developers. Some of its features are 3D object tracking, surface detection, planar image detection, screen recording, video playback support, multi-target detection and tracking. Working with EasyAR offers a little more flexibility in building AR solutions, as it involves a lot of coding compared to other AR tools. For more information about EasyAR, refer to its official documentation.

Use Cases:

Supported Platforms: Android, iOS, Mac OS, UWP, Unity Editor, and Windows

Refer to the list of Devices supported by EasyAR, here.

SDK Download link: EasyAR

Pricing and features Covered in Plans:

Wikitude (Free Trial: Non-commercial use):

Here’s another top-notch addition to the list. Wikitude was launched in 2008, way before ARKit and ARCore came into the picture. With Wikitude, you can create an immersive Augmented Reality experience with enhanced quality. It offers features such as Image Tracking, Instant tracking, object and scene tracking, multiple object tracking, multiple image targets, Geo AR, and Cloud Recognition. For more information, refer to Wikitude’s official documentation. Wikitude’s 45-day free trial offers all the features of a premium plan. Whatever you create with Wikitude with its free trial cannot be used commercially. To know more about it, visit Wikitude’s free trial page.

 

Use Cases:

Supported Platforms: Android, iOS, Windows, and Smart Glasses (Hololens, Vuzix, and Epson Moverio).

Refer to the list of Devices supported by Wikitude, here.

SDK Download Link: Wikitude

Pricing Plans:

You can get started with these free tools and learn how to build apps that convert. The paid plans offered by MAXst AR, Easy AR, and Wikitude are very competitive, with MAXST AR being the most affordable of the three. It provides developers with a one-time purchase.

 

Michael Pignataro
co-CEO - Operations at 'corePHP'
Michael spearheads ‘corePHP’s software solutions and service offerings. Focus on sales and marketing for the organization. A huge believer in family and has an amazing wife and 4 beautiful children. Loves camping and hiking.

Michael's philosophy is simple: "If you can dream it, we can do it."
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Michael Pignataro

About Michael Pignataro

Michael spearheads ‘corePHP’s software solutions and service offerings. Focus on sales and marketing for the organization. A huge believer in family and has an amazing wife and 4 beautiful children. Loves camping and hiking. Michael's philosophy is simple: "If you can dream it, we can do it."

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