Developers Share First Augmented Reality Creations Using Apple's ARKit

Apple only announced its augmented reality developer platform ARKit last week at the Worldwide Developers Conference, but some video clips have already been posted online by developers eager to showcase the impressive potential of the software.

ARKit enables iPhones and iPads running iOS 11 to superimpose computer-generated graphics over the real world, allowing developers to take their apps beyond the screen and into the user's environment.

Apple ARKit running Unity and Overwatch Widowmaker, by Cody Brown

By using the built-in camera, processors, and motion sensors found in iOS devices, virtual content appears on top of real-world scenes, and users don't need any special equipment to enjoy them because ARKit does the heavy lifting.

One developer who spoke to Motherboard said Apple had improved upon existing AR solutions like Hololens and Google Tango by making the ARKit framework elegant and simple to use.

"The most impressive aspect of ARKit is that it tends to just work," said Cody Brown, founder of virtual reality production studio IRL, in an online interview with Motherboard. "Other AR software often requires some sort of physical tracking mechanism (like a QR code), which inevitably becomes a major piece of friction if you are trying to get anyone to use this stuff.

"Another incredible aspect of ARKit is how it handles lighting adjustments in real time, continued Brown. "I can only imagine the math and magic underneath this tech to make it work."

During its keynote at WWDC, Apple demoed a range of effects that ARKit is capable of. One demo by Wingnut Studios wowed the audience with a tabletop sci-fi raider assault. Another showed a user placing a steaming digital coffee mug and a lamp on a table and moving the objects around to show off the tracking and shadow effects.

Several other ARKit developer demos have since appeared online, including a virtual "iPhone 8", roving StarWars character BB-8, dog-stalking zombies, office floor naval battles, dancing Candy rock stars, and more.

Rainforest garage by 8ninths

Apple has invested heavily in augmented reality in recent years, making several VR/AR company acquisitions including PrimeSense, FaceShift, and Metaio. Apple's much-anticipated "iPhone 8", which is expected to be announced in September, is rumored to have 3D sensing capabilities, with augmented reality being one possible use for the technology.

ARKit will come to compatible devices as part of iOS 11, which Apple is set to release in the fall.

Related Roundup: Apple Glasses
Tag: ARKit

Top Rated Comments

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40 months ago

Ummm,..this video looks no different to every other AR app I own, am i missing something? This is what Apple has been working on,..a technology that has been used by IKEA for years...unimpressed.

I would have thought a pair of AR/ VR glasses would have been a priority for 2017.

I'm not sure you realize how difficult it was to build AR into iOS apps before ARKit entered the scene. The framework has only been out for a week and already indie devs are creating stuff that previously would have taken entire teams weeks or even months to produce. This is a game changer for sure, not only for games but for education apps too (anatomy, history, geography etc). The possibilities are endless.

Apple just shifted the goalposts.
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
40 months ago
After just a few days, and a developers-only release, iOS is already the dominant platform for AR. This is a market Apple will pioneer and dominate.

Who can miniaturize an AR device to the point it's actually desirable to wear? Only Apple. It's like all their work in chips and sensors of these last years is converging to make that single device possible.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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40 months ago
Im not super into these AR VR stuffs, but this is impressive, especially its on mobile hardware with minimum weight and no cords
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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40 months ago

Feels like 2013 again. Better late than never.

Fast forward to 6:54

I don't think you get it. AR has existed on iOS for years too, since 2010 at least. There are quite a few AR apps on the App Store already as well. What ARKit does is give developers access to new frameworks making developing these apps a lot easier and more powerful than the ones are currently possible.

But of course you knew that already and you're just trolling, so carry on.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
40 months ago
Okay THAT is cool, and has a lot of potential.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
40 months ago

After just a few days, and a developers-only release, iOS is already the dominant platform for AR. This is a market Apple will pioneer and dominate.

Who can miniaturize an AR device to the point it's actually desirable to wear? Only Apple. It's like all their work in chips and sensors of these last years is converging to make that single device possible.

That is exactly what I've been thinking. The problem with the AR/VR glasses is that they are heavy and uncomfortable to wear. But Apple has the most powerful and most energy efficient chips. It also has great cameras. So they can make the best set of goggles. For now it will just be your phone (an $750 device, so pricey) sitting in a container similar to Samsung VR gear. But Apple can make something better and more powerful and still have it run on a battery that won't be that heavy. And all of Apple phones will have two cameras. Having two cameras will be key to AR. That is another happy coincidence.

Side note. Once again, Apple publicly announces dominance in a new field and the stock market doesn't get it.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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