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You may have seen some articles on news & tech websites recently about Google's AR (augmented reality) platform, and seen some of the cool new tricks that they've put into Google search (more on that later!)
Many have been wondering what can we do using ARCore. What is this development platform about?
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Here's the science bit!
What is ARCore?
ARCore is Google’s platform for building augmented reality experiences. Using different APIs, 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 type 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.
How does ARCore work?
Fundamentally, ARCore is doing two things: tracking the position of the mobile device as it moves, and building its own understanding of the real world.
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.
Using and understanding ARcore
You will also learn more about the current industry landscape, the hardware needed to view AR content, and how people are using AR today. In this module we’ll dive into the hardware components inside mobile devices that power augmented reality, and you'll discover ways in which AR assets can feel real and keep users immersed. You'll learn about ARCore features that help make a digital object behave as though it exists in a real world space, as well as a few constraints facing AR today. To help you get started, and grasp the platform, I have rounded up some of the popular ARCore apps for you to try out yourself.
Some of the apps to try:
Yes, that's right, the Google App now has AR built into it. If you search for an animal and spot the below...
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Then make sure you select it, as you'll be treated to your very own miniature beast wherever you are!
So far I've found dog, cat, racoon, shark, bear, snake, panda, aligator, octopus, wolf, horse, turtle, tiger and cheetah but there are probably many more!
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Monster Park AR - Jurassic Dinosaurs in Real World
Monster Park AR is an augmented reality app that lets you observe and control incredibly lifelike dinosaurs and other monsters with your device’s camera.
Charming and mysterious creatures immerse you in an augmented reality gaming environment where you can:
◆ Take a look at the creatures in real size
◆ Bring huge dinosaurs into your real world
◆ Follow dinosaurs and other monsters everywhere and walk together
◆ Touch those monsters and see what will happen
◆ Listen to their fearsome roar!
◆ Create cool photos and videos to wow your friends
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Porsche Mission E/AR Visualiser
Porsche have a couple of AR apps which allow you to put an AR Porsche in your surroundings, explore it, configure it, and even drive it!
·Position the Porsche car at home in the living room or in front of your garage
·Visualize the cars in any color
·Learn more about the iconic Porsche design DNA of the exterior and interior
·Explore the charging and driving technologies in X-Ray mode
·Take an augmented reality test drive - this is great fun!
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IKEA Place is built on ARCore and lets you virtually 'place' IKEA products in your space. It also has a ‘visual search’ function: point your camera at any piece of furniture you love and your phone will tell you which IKEA product it is or resembles the most.
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ARCore is designed to work on a wide variety of qualified Android phones running Nougat and later like Mi Mix 2S, Mi Mix 3, Mi 8, Mi 8 SE, Mi 8 Pro, Mi 9, Mi 9 SE and Mi 9 Pro.
Special thanks to feds64 for the inspiration for this article
So guys! What do you think? Perhaps the animal & dinosaur apps are a little gimmicky, but this is a new tech and it may take a while to find the killer app for it...
I think the Ikea app is pretty cool, and would like to see more of this going forwards.
Let me know what you think in the comments!