The Most Advanced AR Development Tools in 2021

The Most Advanced AR Development Tools in 2021

The digital world has become overwhelmed with the inclusion of Augmented Reality in the technology domain. Without a doubt, Pokemon Go is the prime reason behind the popularity of AR in non-technical communities. This is the reason why people tend to believe that AR development tools are only confined to the entertainment industry. On the contrary, domains like Healthcare, Ecommerce, Architecture, and Real Estate are leveraging multiple AR capabilities. 

Today, organizations across the globe are harnessing this technology in their operations to augment user experience and engagement. Implementing AR in creating interactive product demos, advertisement, and delivering real-time information is helping brands to carve a niche in their domain. With AR development tools, customers can engage better with a product and with better engagement. It paves the way for a quick buying decision. This is the reason, the biggest tech giants like Google, Apple, Facebook, and more are making heavy investments to make AR technology more feasible to use. 

Now, before going down further on how companies can develop augmented reality apps by using different top-notch tools. We must discuss what types of Augmented Reality apps exist. So, there are two types of AR apps: Location-based applications and Marker-based applications. 

Location-based applications

Location-based AR apps work without markers. They take the help of a GPS, an accelerometer, or a digital compass to detect the user’s position. With the help of these app development tools, users can overlay AR objects on top of real-world objects. Pokemon is the best example of this type.

These apps have integrated functions that allow them to send notifications about AR-related content to the user based on their location. 

Marker-based applications

These applications are based on image recognition. To display any content, they use markers in black and white as triggers. Users have to point the camera in a marker’s position. When a device recognizes it, the app automatically overlays the data on the marker and reflects the augmented object. 

When you develop a marker-based app, you have to set a database of images or descriptors to ease the process for the camera to search them. It simply means, the objects are already in the database in the app, so they are easy to detect. 

If you also want AR app development for your business and see how it will pave the way for enhanced user engagement. This article will encircle all the necessary tools on how to create augmented reality apps.

But before mentioning the tools, you must have an understanding of how to choose a great AR tool. All the good AR development tools must support these features:

  • 3D object tracking 
  • OpenSceneGraph support
  • Cloud storage or local storage 
  • GPS support 
  • Image recognition 
  • Game Engine Support 
  • SLAM support 

According to the Statista forecast, the market of augmented and virtual reality is $16.8 billion in 2019, which is expected to reach $160 to $215 billion in 2023.

Now, let’s look at the AR app development tools in the market:

Vuforia

A leading portal for augmented reality apps development with some amazing multiple features and support. Vuforia Augmented reality SDK has:

  • Ability to recognize multiple objects (toys, boxes & others) and images altogether 
  • It also has text recognition ability and can be recognized among 100,000 words 
  • Better experience than QR code, it empowers to create customized VuMarks
  • By its Smart terrain feature, it can create a 3D geometric map of any environment
  •  It can turn static images into a motion video to play on any real surface
  • It comes with a unity plugin
  • Supports Cloud and local storage

Compatible platforms: Android, iOS, Unity, Windows 

Price quote: Its basic version comes free of cost. Users have to buy a subscription for classic and pro version

ARToolKit 

To develop augmented reality apps, it is one of the best open-source tools in the market. 

It features a free library and multiple features for tracking including:

  • It comes with the dedicated support of Unity3D and OpenSceneGraph 
  • Perfect adaptiveness with single and dual camera 
  • GPS and compasses support for location-based AR apps 
  • Real-time applications can be developed seamlessly 
  • Smart-glass integration 
  • Best fit for small to medium size teams across all platforms

Compatible Platforms: Android, iOS, Linux, Windows, Mac OS, and Smart Glasses

Price Quote: Available for free

Google ARCore

Now, with more than 2 billion users, Google just can’t afford to miss the opportunity to empower developers for AR app development for their operating system. This toolkit works with java/OpenGL, Unity, and Unreal. Its features are:

  • It features motion tracking. ARCore identifies the correct placing of the device by using the camera and spot all the available feature points. It ultimately helps to place virtual objects accurately. 
  • It understands the environment precisely. So it can detect horizontal surfaces and allows users to place virtual objects on the floor. These features also useful in motion tracking 
  • It can perfectly judge the natural lights and allows users to adjust the light of virtual objects to look natural as well. So basically, it creates more realistic objects.
  • Best for anyone who’s looking to develop AR apps in the Google environment

Supporting Platform: Android 

Price Quotes: Available for free

Apple ARKit 

With the introduction of iOS11, Apple came up with indigenous ARKit. This announcement came up at Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2017. Have a look at the features of AR SDK for iOS.

  • Without having any additional calibration, iOS inbuilt Visual Inertial Odometry (VIO) can adapt to any environment
  • It comes with face tracking ability so it is easy to apply face effects of 3D characters
  • To make objects more realistic, it can track the environment light and apply it to the virtual objects to balance the whole effect
  • It can detect vertical, horizontal, and irregular surfaces
  • It detects 2D objects and empowers developers to interact with them 
  • Seamless integration Unity and Unreal engine 

Supporting Platform: iOS

Price Quote: Available for free

Maxst

It comes with two SDK’s available in Augmented Reality Services:

  • 2D SDK for image tracking 
  • 3D SDK for environment recognition 

Have a look at its 3D SDK features:

  • Tracking and mapping feature provided by visual simultaneous localization and mapping by MAXST
  • Maps can automatically extend beyond the first view while tracking surroundings
  • Amazingly, it let you save maps for later
  • 3D rendering ability to more immersive AR experiences
  • 3 images can be tracked simultaneously 
  • Seamless integration with Unity

Compatible Platforms: iOS, Windows, and Android 

Price Quote: Its basic version comes for free. Users have to pay for its Pro and Enterprise version.

Wikitude

A new entry in the market of AR reality development, but it has earned a good reputation. It is a good fit for developing AR apps for iOS, Android, and Smart Glasses devices. It supports multiple technologies and tracking features and it recently introduced its SDK7. Have a look at its features:

  • It comes with 3D recognition technology and tracking 
  • The ability of image recognition and tracking 
  • It has cloud support, so can target images hosted in the cloud 
  • Smart-glass integration 
  • It comes with the ability of third-party plugin integration

Supported Platforms: iOS, Android, and some Smart Glasses

Price Quote: Users has to buy its Pro, Cloud, and Enterprise Version 

The Road to Conclusion 

There is no doubt that augmented reality services have become an increasingly popular trend in the mobile industry. So if you can harness the true potential of Augmented Reality by using these tools, you can also develop immersive and engaging experiences for your customers like never before. Since AR apps are highly agile and adaptable, you can use them with different domains like E-commerce, Gaming, Healthcare, Fitness, and Entertainment industry.

The tools mentioned above have everything you can look for to develop full-fledged AR apps with multiple capabilities. If you want to try out any too and know how to create augmented Reality apps, you can try with a free version before purchasing any paid version.

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