Get ready to experience an immersive virtual experience from the comfort of your phone. Apple has developed its own solution to bring augmented reality to its users. With the launch of ARKit, it is now possible to experience augmented reality from your very own iPhones and iPads. Apple’s ARKit allows rendering of 3D media over physical objects just by using the phone camera and motion sensors. Here is a complete overview of what ARKit really is and how it can impact the world of mobile technologies.

A Quick Rundown on Augmented Reality:

Augmented reality (AR) superimposes computer generated images over real world objects. This heightens the view of physical reality by creating an immersive experience which brings together virtual and real world objects. Augmented reality is usually experienced using phones or tablets which allow the virtual image to be viewed on the screen with real world objects in the background.

Stay updated with the latest announcements on Augmented Reality: 

Read More: 7 Examples of Augmented Reality You Probably Won’t Know

What is ARKit?

ARKit is Apple’s initiative to bring augmented reality to users with the public launch of iOS 11. In the WWDC Conference, 2017, Apple showcased how its new framework can help develop AR apps. While there are other frameworks that help in creating AR apps, ARKit effectively reduces some of the existing obstacles. It essentially has three add-ons that make the creation of  augmented reality apps a lot easier and comfortable:

1. Environmental Understanding and Light Estimation: 

Environmental Understanding refers to identifying horizontal surfaces (like tables and floors) from the view presented by the cameras. ARKit can detect horizontal surfaces , and uses an anchor to virtually track and place objects on smaller feature points. It also has a light estimation feature which uses the camera’s sensor to estimate the level of brightness in a given area and apply appropriate lighting to virtual objects.

2. Visual Inertial Odometry: 

Visual Inertial Odometry (VIO) allows phones to precisely determine the physical environment around it. It fuses data from the camera’s sensor with CoreMotion data. This enables the device to accurately analyze its movements without the need of any additional calibration.

3. High-Performance Hardware and Rendering Optimizations: 

Apple A9 and A10 processors which power the ARKit, enable fast environment understanding and breakthrough performance. Thus, ARKit lets you create engaging virtual content on top of real-world scenes.

Read More: Comparison between Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore

How ARKit will help bring Augmented Reality to Masses?

Augmented reality is not new. The history of AR goes way back to 1968 when Ivan Sutherland created Sword of Damocles, the first head mounted display system that used computer generated graphics to showcase simple wireframe drawings. We have come a long way from there. Now you can simply use your phone to experience augmented reality. What difference will ARKit make? It can make it easier for app developers to further expand the potential of mobile phones and create 3D graphics more easily without the need of specialized hardware.  With all iOS 11 devices  being compatible with ARKit, the market potential of AR apps will also increase significantly.

Read More: 8 AR Apps that succeeded in delivering customer value

The Trends in AR:

From the day of its launch, Apple’s ARKit has created a huge buzz in the developer’s community. You can follow #MadewithARKit on Twitter to see the latest developments and tweaks developers are trying with this framework. Here we have also compiled some interesting applications of the ARKit for you to explore:

AR and UX designer, Jelmer Verhoog created Model3AR –  an app that lets the user deploy and control a Tesla on any surface. Most impressive are the neat 3D graphics that create an engaging experience capable to surprise the user and create that “wow” factor.

Fabin Rasheed, experience designer, created a beta application for sculpting and painting using augmented reality. This app allows users to create 3D models on physical spaces and tweak them with different design tools.

What’s Next to Come? – Our Take

With the launch of ARKit, augmented reality has gained significant momentum in a relatively short period of time. This platform has opened a huge gateway of opportunities for businesses to leverage AR and create immersive user experiences. For years, businesses have been competing over customer experience. Now, with this innovative framework, businesses can easily create an increasingly immersive user experience for a wide range of audience. This will help in creating a lasting brand impression potentially leading to a wider scope of brand advocacy and loyalty. What is to be seen is how and when brands actually begin to create content around this new innovation and which ones establish themselves as the pioneers in leveraging the advantages that AR has to offer.

It is also equally obvious that ARKit will empower the gaming and entertainment industries taking it to new heights of creativity and immersive gameplay. Media companies and game developers have the best time to get their creative kit ready because a strong competition is on its way. ‘The Walking Dead: Our World’, a game based on the AMC’s ‘Walking Dead’ TV series is coming soon to all Android and iOS devices. This game effectively will utilize ARKit to create an engaging experience. Earlier in 2016, Pokemon Go created a similar game only a little less deadly. It is evident that users are very eager to experiment with augmented reality on their devices and this presents itself as a huge opportunity for further design and development.

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