Google’s augmented efforts have previously been limited to a small collection of Tango-enabled smart phones. Today, they’ve announced they’re bringing AR to a much larger audience with the new ARCore SDK.
Announced on their blog, Google has released a preview of the ARCore platform that will bring augmented reality to current and future Android devices. The preview allows creators to experiment across three development environments: Android Studio, Unity, and Unreal. The ARCore website has a collection of downloads and guides to help devs get started. Today, ARCore runs on the Google Pixel and Samsung's Galaxy S8. The company is working with Samsung, Huawei, LG, and Asus to hopefully reach 100 million devices after the preview.
Google new AR initiative focuses on three things:
- Motion tracking: Using the phone’s camera to observe feature points in the room and IMU sensor data, ARCore determines both the position and orientation (pose) of the phone as it moves. Virtual objects remain accurately placed.
- Environmental understanding: It’s common for AR objects to be placed on a floor or a table. ARCore can detect horizontal surfaces using the same feature points it uses for motion tracking.
- Light estimation: ARCore observes the ambient light in the environment and makes it possible for developers to light virtual objects in ways that match their surroundings, making their appearance even more realistic.
ARCore is the answer to Apple’s ARKit, which was used by Dunkin Donuts when they decided to cause a solar eclipse with a donut hole. Google’s VP of Virtual and Augmented Reality shared a video of ARCore in action and the company has already set up a showcase of experiments so devs can see just what’s possible with this platform.
Immersive tech enthusiasts are having a hell of a week. Virtual reality saw some new challengers appear with Microsoft announcing a collection of headsets coming in October, Sony dropped the price of their PS VR, and Google now joins Apple in bringing AR to the masses. All this and it's only Tuesday.