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ARCore

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

ARCore (Google ARCore) is a development platform for building augmented reality apps (AR apps) for Android mobile devices.

ARCore allows developers to create augmented reality apps that overlay the user’s view with animated 3D content including words, objects and characters. AR scenes are persistent so that those made by one individual can be seen by others visiting the site later. ARCore is a competitor to Apples ARKit. However, Google intends to develop the platform at its own pace.

Google is building from the experience of Tango, an earlier form of AR. Tango was limited as to what hardware could support it and required a 3D camera. ARCore has expanded the support to most Android devices version Nougat and later. For its SDK preview, ARCore offers limited support for phones.

Using the mobile device’s camera, accelerometers, gyroscope and contextual information, ARCore performs environment mapping as the device is moved. The software picks out visual features in the environment, tracks motion and coordinates that data with information from the inertial sensors. Plane detection features heavily in the software. The camera is also used to reference the average lighting in the area. These features provide the foundation for spatial awareness that allows 3D content to be positioned anywhere in the environment. Google’s AR development solution shows great positioning memory and stability when users are walking around. Users can also place anchors to mark creations they desire to save.

AR on the mobile phone is just a start for ARCore. Google sees the platform as a new way to deliver their services in the future. When the platform launches officially, Google aims to have ARCore working for a million Android devices.

This was last updated in October 2017

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