How to Create an Augmented Reality App
What is an augmented reality app? This is an application that helps you to see as real as possible something that does not really exist in reality. Put simply, AR (augmented reality) is like your average camera on a smartphone with a little bit of VR (virtual reality).
For example, if you want to buy a T-shirt while at home, but you can’t try it on because you don’t physically have it around, an augmented reality app can help you try on that T-shirt without wasting time traveling from home to the store or waiting for the delivery of (perhaps not suitable) items from an online store.
It can be very difficult to see how something looks on you until you try it on and look at yourself in the mirror or take a picture in it, although it can look quite attractive on a website or on a hanger. Such an application can facilitate the choice, save money, time and nerves.
In 2019, CNBC (cable business news channel) reported that Facebook had begun work on glasses that would allow any image to be projected into the real world.
Now there are already applications that allow you to virtually try on glasses on your real face and it looks like a mask on Instagram: except in this case, the glasses you like can be purchased for real money.
In this article, we will explain how to create an augmented reality app, what are the main types of AR applications, what are the main factors to consider when choosing a platform, how much it can cost, and who can help you with this if you cannot figure it out on your own.
What to do if you need an augmented reality application for your business?
Many people try to make 3D modeling, scanning, rendering or even 3D applications on their own, thinking that if they read a couple of articles on the Internet, they can do something. But in fact often they don’t have enough knowledge, practice; the lack of proper equipment also has a deplorable effect on the result that they want to get in the end. Therefore, many people leave the 3D projects for companies to process.
CyberFox has qualified staff with years of experience, so you can contact us and tell us about your task. Our experts will be happy to help you with any questions.
Benefits of creating an AR app with CyberFox
CyberFox creates 3D models based on drawings, sketches and photographs, and also has a fair amount of experience in the AR industry. We help to implement any project, no matter how simple or how hard it can be. Use the callback order service, and we will inform you about the terms of the order and the cost of 3D modeling.
Read on for a complete overview of building augmented reality apps.
A brief history of augmented reality technology
In fact, it may be strange, but despite the fact that AR technology has been discovered for quite a long time, we are still accustomed to considering it an innovation, because everyday something new is being discovered related to it; what we have now is far from the limit, and many new methods still await us in the future. Let’s look at the history of the study of AR.
In 1968, the world’s first AR technology was created by Ivan Edward Sutherland, computer scientist and a pioneer of computer graphics. In those years, it was a complex system: a helmet that was worn on the head was so heavy that it was suspended from the ceiling and created rather primitive projections of a virtual environment: it consisted of simple wireframe models of rooms. However, this invention is considered the first helmet of virtual reality and augmented reality, which gave rise to many scientific discoveries further.
Augmented reality technology further developed into wearables and digital displays, and in 2008 BMW developed an app that brought a car to life on a phone screen when the camera was aimed at a print ad. The mini model could be twisted and viewed from different angles. This way of “augmenting” is called “snap to plane”.
A prime example of the “geolocation” method is the popular game Pokémon Go, which showed balls and other game elements only in certain places on the map. Thus, the object appears only at a certain point in the city, thanks to the coordinates as markers.
As soon as the technique was able to move from static elements to movements and recognize faces and facial expressions, AR technology changed forever. Now, starting on your face, you can try everything, including virtual makeup or trying on glasses, as well as install virtual chairs of the desired color and style in your home to see how they could possibly suit your real curtains.
How does augmented reality work
Technically speaking, augmented reality is layers of data that make up one or more virtual artificial objects or images together that are superimposed on the reality that we see with our own eyes.
Unlike VR, which takes you completely away from the real world and “transports” you to another universe, AR leaves you in the here and now, partially supplementing what you see with small unreal elements.
And now let’s see how it works.
An application or any other device that supports AR (they also are called marker-based apps), using a camera view (and, if necessary, the GPS function), recognizes a symbol or a marker, adding pre-prepared content (picture, object, etc.) to this marker, which is superimposed on reality and on the phone screen you see this visualization as if it were real.
The most common example of AR is masks and filters on popular social networks – they are superimposed on your face / body and can move with you, as if they are really there, but everything else remains the same.
Main types of augmented reality apps for business
Now many areas and industries use augmented reality for commercial and business purposes. Above, we have already briefly mentioned the use cases for this technology, let’s look at these business cases a little deeper.
It is difficult to overestimate the nature of this technology in relation to education: it’s really a turning heads methodic: everything that students had to abstractly represent before can now be seen with their own eyes in a fairly realistic form.
Elements 4D is one of the brightest examples of augmented reality educational applications, where you can see various chemical processes in action.
The Google Sky Map app makes studying astronomy visual, fun, and most importantly, easy: just point your phone’s camera at the sky and the app will automatically identify the constellations and stars.
AR dating services
Now, in a world where lots of people have almost completely moved into a home office environment, it is especially difficult to find love or any other relationship. Therefore, Tinder is now practically the most popular service: according to statistics, 75 million users visit it every month, 7.8 million are from the US.
Why not consider doing something like Tinder but with augmented reality? How would it look? Let’s think about the idea and maybe even implement it before someone else does it.
Healthcare AR apps
Unlike the frozen dating industry, the healthcare industry is moving very quickly and almost immediately began to use AR as the next step towards studying oneself and internal organs.
So, Anatomy 4D (from the creator of DAQRI and Elements 4D) has moved to a new level of interaction with the body: it “comes” inside of the human body and helps to explore the structure of bones and organs in a much more pleasant and practical way.
Sport is an important part not only of our life, but also at the country level. We can fantasize about an application that can calculate the trajectory and speed of the ball when pitching or passing, or the speed of a running person, or display statistics.
Maps and tourism
The AR is increasingly gaining momentum in the field of tourism and travel. Not only can you walk through the museum, bringing paintings/statues to life and learning new things about them in one application, but augmented reality cards completely change the mind of any ordinary user.
Perhaps the integration of AR into landscaping is another amazingly useful idea that has come true, because it really simplifies not only the construction stage, but also the stage preceding it, when you need to take measurements, calculate the cost; and all this without a tape measure and other additional tools, only with a smartphone in hand.
Teleconferencing is another area in which the world is now in great need and, perhaps, from now on, its importance will only grow, and the development of AR technology will be an integral part of this progress.
Teleconferencing can become easier, more interactive, more visual, more interesting.
An augmented reality application in the field of drawing can be an absolute gift in design, architecture, construction and other related fields.
AR in e-commerce & retail
In e-commerce, AR empowers consumers by allowing them to almost truly experience something that they intend to purchase, thus making them more attached to the product and more likely to purchase it.
This feature has long been used by the IKEA app, which gives a potential buyer an idea of how this or that furniture or object will look in the space of your home.
AR in marketing and advertising
In the field of advertising, this technology is gaining huge momentum. Marketers are working tirelessly to come up with an original advertising campaign that will use an augmented reality application to increase customer activity and increase sales.
For example, in 2019, the Giant supermarket chain launched an AR application in which it was necessary to collect snowflakes inside the store. The campaign was successful because, firstly, a certain number of collected snowflakes guaranteed a discount of several dollars, and secondly, while children walk around with the phone looking for snowflakes, parents can quickly and without distraction buy what they need for the house.
How to create an AR App?
Everything new always seems fascinating, but a little intimidating, because the process of creating such an application is not an easy thing. However, if you take each of the steps gradually, then you can quite realistically master this technology. Let’s see what steps you have to take:
- Come up with an idea: it must correspond to the formula “useful + exciting to use”;
- Analyze competitors and find out the desires and “pains” of buyers (a mandatory step);
- Explore the market of SDKs (software development kit) and platforms on which you can make an application: depending on your capabilities and tools, you can choose among a large number of supported platforms: Vuforia, Wikitude, ARToolKit (require immersion in programming language) or Blippar, Aurasma (require minimum knowledge and skills);
- Create a 2D tracker that looks like an image that is placed on a surface and scanned by devices that support augmented reality;
- Create an application design and prepare 3D models and other data necessary for the full operation of the application.
And you’re almost packed!
Now it remains to consider small but important factors that also need to be considered when developing a mobile application with AR.
Choosing the right AR stack for your app
How to choose the right SDK platform for application development? What are the main factors and options you need to pay attention to?
Let’s look at each of the factors one by one below.
If you don’t know anything about app development with AR yet, then it’s probably better to try open-source augmented reality SDKs, because they are intended for beginners, are more primitive and easy to understand and manage, and are free. While you’re learning, it’s best to learn from something simple and not spend a lot of money.
However, when skills and experience increase, you want a variety of functions, expansion of opportunities, and then you can think about choosing paid SDKs, which can cost you from $400 to $4000+, depending on the features they have.
There are so many platform options that are supported by the Android or iOS operating systems. However, macOS or Windows are a rarer choice for building an application, so there are fewer platforms with their support.
Unity is the most popular and powerful game engine that you should explore if you want to create a quality application. There are others, but this one is recognized by the entire world community. And although it is used mainly for games, it is really good for applications as well.
The recognition function is the most important, since it is she who is responsible for the correct overlay of the data layer on the reality layer. Machine vision with the help of a camera and artificial intelligence tracks reality data and, according to the settings, overlays a static image, gif animation, text, etc.
3D recognition and tracking
3D image recognition helps to read and change real spaces on the device screen, as well as to recognize three-dimensional virtual objects.
The infamous Pokemon Go app is an example of a location-based app with augmented reality. In these types of applications, GPS is indispensable.
SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) is also related to geolocation, also motion tracking of an object. However, unlike the previous type of GPS applications, SLAM can be used and operated indoors, making Giant’s popular supermarket application a good example of Simultaneous Localization and Mapping support.
OpenSceneGraph is used for visualization in gaming, science, and 3D modeling, as it is a popular open source 3D graphic toolkit.
Cloud support vs local storage
The decision to use cloud or local storage should solely depend on how big your application is as a result and whether you want to depend on Internet access when you download the application.
If your mobile application contains a large amount of data (markers), then it is recommended to use the cloud space, so you protect yourself from overloading your device memory.
However, if you store this data locally, then you will be able to load the application regardless of Internet access via Wi-Fi or mobile-data.
Summing up, we hope that this article has helped you to see the whole process and the main steps and factors important in the development of augmented reality applications as clearly as possible, and also answered the most important questions that may have arisen in your head.
CyberFox is a company that has established itself as a professional team that has been working with all types of projects related to 3D, including augmented reality, for a long time, so you will definitely make the right choice if you call us to discuss your 3D project or application with our AR experts.
If you also want to share your idea with us, please leave a request, or contact us on social networks. One of our technical experts will contact you and offer the best solution.