AUGMENTED REALITY AND ITS LATEST APPLICATIONS
Augmented reality (A.R) is making headlines throughout the world. Whether it is students, developers or I.T professionals, it seems that people are getting more and more intrigued in what that technology has to offer. For starters, understand the fact that A.R is a groundbreaking technology that tends to superimpose CGI on an individual’s world’s view.
ARKit on Apple
A.R is adopted by world’s leading technologies such as Apple. Recently on June 2017, Apple announced that it is introducing ARKit, its A.R developer platform. This amazing technology allows gadgets such as iPads as well as iPhones featuring iOS11 to lay computer generated imageries over actual world. This means developers have the option of shifting their apps into a person’s real-life surroundings,
Furthermore, the virtual content makes use of an iOS gadget’s processors, motion sensors and camera to show upon real life items. Take note of the fact that Apple takes A.R very seriously. This is why for the sake of it, in the past years, it has done many well-known acquisitions such as Metaio and FaceShift. Moreover, it is expected that the upcoming iPhone 8 is likely to feature 3D sensing capabilities, and A.R might be a part of it.
What the New ARKit Offers
As mentioned before, ARKit uses iPhones’ cameras and sensors. But it also makes use of a very unique and brilliant technique known as visual-inertial odometry a.k.a. integrating information from gadget’s motion sensors and from its computer vision via camera.
Surely, many developers who are inspired by the A.R technology will be impressed by this simply because of the fact that all of this tracking is done without the requirement of additional hardware. Moreover, due to the utilization of hit-testing, the functionality of world tracking can gain a brilliant understanding of a scene that it observes, on an elementary level – at least.
Here is another amazing thing about ARKit, it performs ambient light estimation. This means an application can now do a more pinpoint match of the virtual lighting that it has with a specific location’s lighting. So now, any user will enjoy an immersive as well as seamless A.R experience.
Besides the mentioned new additions, ARKit also have included Unreal and Unity support. Here, note that Unity features bitbucket repository alongside a very special plugin that permits the entire included ARKit functions to Unity apps – exclusively for the iOS platform.
Creating a basic application on unity
Today I will create a basic application that utilizes the power of ARKit on unity platform
- An iPad or iOS with latest version of iOS (currently 11)
- MacBook pro (I use MacBook sierra 10.12 ) with latest version of XCode (which is XCode 9)
- Unity version 5.6.1p1 (with all the standard assets installed)
- iOS device that supports ARKit (iPhone 6S or later, iPad (2017) or later)
Download and install unity version 5.6.1p1 from the link given below
Note: This later released patch of unity consists of ARKit support and can run ARKit
Download the unity AR kit plugin which you can simply download link given below
Note: If you are using 2017.1.f1 , download ARkit plugin from asset store
Open the unity editor and select a 3d project from the description. Name the project “GettingStartedARkit”.
Drag and drop the ARKit plugin which we downloaded in step 2 onto the project window. Unity will then automaticity give a popup of what to import. Import all the packages contained in the ARKit plugin.
We have our basic project setup; we will now begin experimenting on the plugin. For testing purposes, select the “UnityARKitScene” and double click to select.
A new scene will open. I will give a quick go through of the hierarchy.
The purpose of AR camera manager is to setup a new camera based on augmented reality in the real world. For now, let’s leave it at that. Generate planes will give a representation of planes detected by the camera in the shape of a blue rectangle. The rest are deactivated for now.
Now go to the project build settings and switch to iOS platform if you haven’t already. This might take some time to process. After it is done, click on player settings and over the inspector window we have camera description change that to augmented reality.
After which give it a path onto the empty folder created on desktop and start the building process. This might take some time but after it is done go to the folder and click on “Unity-iPhone.xcodeproj” and open.
Change the display name and bundle identifier to whatever you like. Next a developer account would be needed in signing tab.
Deployment target should be 11.0 and main interface would be an iPad for me (you can also try it on an iPhone) click the build button on upper left corner of the screen after connecting your device properly. The scene will start building on your iPad or iPhone and should run automatically.
Next I will be showing that how to make a basic character that will be appear in AR with standard controls like walk, run and shoot. Please mention any issues in the comment section and I will be happy to help.