It doesn’t matter if you code every day or can barely use your phone, AR toys are all about the ideas and creativity.
Platforms and apps are being developed rapidly and options for AR creation are better than ever. Everyone can find what suits their skills and needs best, so explore away. My suggestion would be to search for the best efficiency in terms of time invested. In other words, learning every feature of Unity might not be the best use of you time if you just need to make simple illustration overlays twice a year. However, if you do have time to spare, always go for platforms with more options (you never know where your exploration might lead you).
HP Reveal (Aurasma)
Every day new platforms and apps are released, so to save you some time searching – HERE is a review article from 2017, which compares 11 most popular AR creation tools. However, keep in mind that 2 years is a very long period for this industry, many features could have changed. Use this article for an initial overview and explore the sites of the mentioned platforms:
・ ARToolKit: currently considered one of the most used frameworks for the development of applications with AR resources, in view of being an open source tool, being constantly updating, offering a series of features and allowing the exportation to other platforms. ARToolKit is capable of tracking planar, geolocated and multiple targets ( ARToolKit, 2017 ).
・ Augment: consists in an AR 3D viewer, composed by an application for mobile devices and a web-based platform, in which its users can register their own markers and associate them with 3D models and other virtual elements. Augment offers planar marker tracking and tracking via cloud storage ( Augment, 2017 ).
・ Aurasma: classified as an AR 3D viewer, Aurasma provides their own mobile application and a web-based platform, through which they allow their users to transform objects, images and places in new interactive opportunities using graphic content, animations, videos, audios and 3D content. It allows tracking of planar and geolocated targets, as well as tracking via cloud storage ( Aurasma, 2017 ).
・ BlippAR: it’s an augmented reality 3D viewer that provides their own smartphone application and a web-based platform so that their users can register their markers and link them with many visual and interactive assets. BlippAR allows the user to track planar targets via cloud. It also instantiates a computer vision module with artificial intelligence and Deep Learning Algorithms, increasing the application’s capacities by making possible that it eventually learns to recognize different things that the user may direct it towards ( BlippAR, 2017 ).
・ CraftAR: yet another AR 3D viewer, CraftAR offers their mobile app and a web-based platform so that users can easily manage and register their own markers, associating them with virtual content, e.g. 3D models, images, audio, video, etc. It also has an SDK supported by many platforms, making it possible that users develop their applications with CraftAR resources. It’s capable of tracking planar images through the cloud ( CraftAR, 2017 ).
・ EasyAR: characterized as a development framework for AR based applications, EasyAR has a web-based platform through which users can register their projects and obtain the licenses needed to test and release their applications. It offers multiple planar target tracking ( EasyAR, 2017 ).
・ Kudan: it’s categorized as a framework for developing applications with AR resources. Kudan offers an SDK that makes feasible the exporting to many other platforms, has a broad documentation and practical samples, besides having a support forum. It allows markerless tracking, using SLAM ( Kudan, 2017 ).
・ LayAR: consists in an augmented reality browser. It provides a mobile application and a web-based management platform, in which users can create and edit planar and geolocated targets and associate them to informative virtual contents such as text, URLs, audio and video ( LayAR, 2017 ).
・ PixLive: classified as an AR 3D viewer, PixLive offers a smartphone application and a web-based platform, through which users can create their own planar and/or geolocated targets. They can also associate them to digital resources, e.g. 3D models, images, audio, video, etc. ( PixLive, 2017 ).
・ Vuforia: also categorized as one of the most used frameworks for developing AR applications, besides having an SDK for several development platforms, Vuforia provides a web-based environment where users can create and manage their markers and obtain the licenses required to test and publish their applications. It’s also capable of tracking planar, geolocated and multiple targets, texts and 3D objects, which can either be via cloud or locally stored in the user’s device. Vuforia even allows markerless tracking, through two technologies: Extended Tracking and Smart Terrain ( Vuforia, 2017 ).
・ Wikitude: consists in an AR 3D viewer that provides the user with a mobile application and a web-based management platform, through which users are enabled to create their markers and link them to 3D models and other virtual elements. It also offers an SDK available in many development platforms, allowing the implementation of applications with Wikitude’s resources. This framework is able to track planar markers, multiple targets, 3D objects, geolocated markers and it even makes use of markerless technology SLAM ( Wikitude, 2017 ).
After more than 3 years of creating AR materials, I can say I’ve explored just about any AR platform there is. My aim was to find a tool that can be used by teachers everywhere. In other words – free, quick to learn, but powerful in terms of features. My absolute favourite is BLIPPAR
To start using BlippAR, you will first need to create an account. Remember, educators can use this platform for free so make sure you click on the option “education” in the drop-down menu like shown in the picture
Tutorials available on this site will show you how to create AR materials in 3 easy steps:
(click on the links to learn more)
- STEP 1: Trigger
- STEP 2: Overlay
- STEP 3: Access