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Apple’s ARKit - Augment Reality experience on iOS

What is it? ARKit is an Augmented Reality development framework that allows Developers to easily create augmented reality experiences for Mobile devices (iPhone and iPad).

ARKit provides developers with:

  • Fast and stable motion tracking
  • Plane estimation with basic boundaries
  • Ambient lighting estimation
  • Scale estimation
  • Support for Unity, Unreal, SceneKit
  • Xcode app templates

Different ARKit Layers:

  • Tracking
    • World Tracking
    • Visual inertial odometry
    • No external setup
  • Scene Understanding
    • Plane detection
    • Hit-testing
    • Light estimation
  • Rendering
    • Easy integration
    • AR views
    • Custom rendering

So what exactly do these layers do?

  • Provide a relative position in the physical environment
  • Use camera and motion to determine location and orientation
  • Understand the attributes and properties around the device (e.g. table, floor, etc.)
  • Estimate lighting to help transition between Virtual and Real Worlds
  • note: external sensors or preexisting environment scanning is not required

Which devices are supported?

Only devices with A9 chips and up (i.e. newer iPhones and iPads).

In summary, Apple is entering the Augmented Reality field late, so there is no denying they are playing catch-up. For example, Google started testing Google Glass in 2013, and Microsoft released HoloLense in early 2016. However, it wouldn't be fair to say Apple is years behind the competition. With almost unlimited resources Apple can catch up quickly, and we have no doubts the development community will embrace ARKit and build amazing AR experiences in no time.

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