Since it’s launch in 2017 Apple’s ARKit has grown into a very popular and feature rich AR development platform for iOS devices around the world. Now, as apple’s long-time competitor (Google’s Android) has entered into the AR industry in 2018, Apple has been on its toes to provide some really effective upgrades to its ARKit system to compete with the industry. Thus, Apple has recently launched it’s ARKit version 3 in it’s WWDC event 2019 which comes with a whole bunch of new features and tools that has taken the game of Augemented reality to the next level.
The two new tools which have been introduced with ARKit 3 are the Reality Composer and the RealityKit which would contribute in making the development of AR apps much easier. Not only this, the latest version brings a slew of ground-breaking features for the AR industry namely, People Occlusion, Motion Capture, Multiple Face tracking and many more. We will delve more into those later in this Article, first lets talk about what is the Reality Composer and the RealityKit.
Reality Composer: Reality Composer is a new robust app for iOS and Mac operating system which would allow the users to create their own interactive Augmented Reality Experiences with almost zero experience in 3D industry. It also supports Live Linking which allows you to move your project seamlessly between various devices be it Mac, iPad or iPhone, so that you can create from wherever you are. Developers can either import their own custom USDZ files to create the AR experience they want, or they can also choose from the long-list of pre-built elements available in the AR Library.
Reality Kit: It is newly developed high-level framework which supports photo-realistic rendering, animations, camera effects etc. specially for AR development. It helps in blending real world environment with virtual objects created using Reality Composer. Its created in such a way that the AR Objects created using this framework would automatically scale their attributes to perform flawlessly on various iOS or Mac devices.
Besides these technical changes brought along by ARKit 3, now let’s talk about some exciting consumer based features which you would definitely be eager to try on your devices once the developers start creating apps using the latest version of ARKit.
Motion tracking allows accurate tracking of body position and movements in real time via the device’s camera itself. It detects your body as a series of joints and bones, thus, introducing a whole new way to interact with AR elements and create some really out of the world AR experiences.
Have you ever wondered why green screen is always used in movies for creating VFX or shooting scenes of a film? The answer is that it very accurately differentiates the actual person from the background without losing any of the character’s body detail and elements. In a Similar way, ArKit 3 introduces a way to distinguish between a real person and the AR elements In it’s surroundings, allowing the person to realistically pass in front and behind of an AR object.
Simultaneous Front and Back Camera
The latest version of ARKit supports the use of both Front and Back cameras at the same time, opening up a whole bunch of new opportunities for AR developers to create apps which would allow the interaction with AR objects using their face, which are being viewed using the back camer for e.g. creating face expression based games.
Multiple Face Tracking
For the devices which feature a TrueDepth Sensing Camera such as the iPhone X/XS/XS Max, iPhone XR, and iPad Pro, the newer version of the ARKit allows detection of multiple faces at once, improving the already exceptional abilities of apps such as Memoji and Snapchat.
It allows you to create a collaborative world map, and exchange/share the information between multiple ARKit connected apps between multiple people. This technology can really come in handy in scenarios where a user would like to share his AR experience with another person or in Multiplayer games. This technology was demonstrated at the WWDC event 2019 in Minecraft Earth game.
Besides these really complexing list of new features, ARKit 3 brings along some more advanced improvements in the existing AR Kit version such as detecting around 100 images at once, and then providing an automatic approx. estimation of the physical size of the image. Moreover, it now also has enhanced object detection in variety of environments along with speedy place detection using machine learning.
With these improvements, we should really look forward to see some sensational and exciting AR apps in the apple eco-system soon, and it should not be an understatement if I say that it’s competitors would also be catching up soon, to provide even better developments in the AR industry. The pace at which technology is growing day-by-day, means that we are really closer to imitating the sci-fiction environments as seen in the movies n our real life.