SDK (Software Developer Kit) is a type of augmented reality software simply a bundle of applications and software used to construct other software.
The real benefit of SDKs is that they allow developers to use tried-and-true methods and shortcuts in development rather than tackling all generic and usual difficulties one by one and wasting time doing so. Creating an augmented reality simulation is not easy, and it necessitates the use of the right tools. We’ll look at five popular and well-liked AR authoring tools in the AR developer community.
Augmented Reality’s Best Tools
The fundamental technological engine that powers the whole AR development process, including content rendering, object tracking, and combining digital information and virtual objects into the actual environment, is an Augmented Reality SDK (=Software Development Kit). Let’s see some of the most widely used AR SDKs.
Vuforia is one of the best platforms for augmented reality development because it has so many features. Let’s look into a few of them:
- The Vuforia augmented reality SDK can distinguish two-dimensional and three-dimensional objects (such as cylinders, boxes, and consumer products).
- Recognition of text. Vuforia comes with a basic English vocabulary of over 100,000 words, or you can create your own.
- Playback of video. When target surfaces are discovered, Vuforia can start playing videos.
- VuMarks are Vuforia’s proprietary bar codes that serve as both data encoders and markers.
- Recognition on-device or in the cloud.
- You may use other surfaces as a touch screen by using virtual buttons.
This SDK is free. However, it includes Vuforia watermarks and has restricted functionality. Commercial licences are available for additional capabilities that unlock the full potential of this AR SDK.
Kudan is a popular augmented reality SDK for Android and iOS that does not support other platforms. Kudan, on the other hand, has Unity support.
Kudan supports SLAM and can recognise 2D and 3D pictures. The high-performance KudanCV engine is used in this AR SDK, which has a small memory footprint.
Both free and commercial licences are available for the Kudan augmented reality development kit. However, the free version has watermarks.
EasyAR releases its next-generation SDK, including SLAM, 3D tracking, and screen recording, among other cutting-edge capabilities. These features, however, are only accessible in the 2.0 SDK Pro, not the free 2.0 SDK Basic.
However, even the free version of EasyAR augmented reality SDK has a robust set of features, including cloud recognition and unlimited recognition queries. In addition, the free edition allows for the storage of up to 1,000 on-device targets.
Wikitude’s new augmented reality development kit offers a slew of cutting-edge AR features that let you create both markers- and location-based AR mobile apps. Let’s go over the Wikitude AR SDK’s most crucial features:
- Real-time tracking for mapping environments and showing virtual objects in the absence of markers. Wikitude’s SLAM technology is used to power this feature.
- Add location-based services to your AR mobile apps with geolocation support.
- Recognition on-device and in the cloud.
- When the camera loses a marker, the extended tracking function keeps showing virtual information.
Other development frameworks supported by the Wikitude AR SDK include Cordova, Appcelerator Titanium, and Xamarin. Although a free trial is offered, this augmented reality creation kit only comes with commercial licences.
Three augmented reality products are available from XZIMG:
- The XZIMG Augmented Face plugin is a facial tracking system that works with Unity.
- XZIMG Augmented Vision recognises
- Simple photos and black-and-white markers.
- XZIMG Magic Face is a makeup-based and faces replacement application solution.
Using the unity plugin, the database is built locally. The XZIMG utilities may be used on various systems, including Android, iOS, and Windows. XZIMG can also be used with HTML 5 (through Unity WebGL) and Flash (through FlashDevelop).
ARToolKit has augmented reality software that lets you customise the source code for your mobile app. For a free SDK, the functionality is quite good:
- GPS and compasses integration for designing location-based AR apps.
- Tools for automatic camera calibration.
- Simultaneous tracking, which allows you to design AR apps that track many things at once.
- Support for a single or twin camera.
This open-source augmented reality SDK works on various platforms, including Android and iOS and Windows, Linux, and macOS. ARToolKit also supports Unity and OpenSceneGraph.
Even though ARToolKit is a free SDK with a lot of functionality, it takes time to integrate and configure.
Maxst provides two types of augmented reality software: Maxst AR SDK 2D and Maxst AR SDK 3D. One tool can only recognise 2D photos, while the other is significantly more sophisticated and can track 3D objects, as their names suggest.
- The Maxst AR SDK 3D includes SLAM, a physics engine effect (for creating the effect of snow falling and accumulating on the roof, for example), and an occlusion effect (when a real object wholly or partially screens virtual content).
- Multiple picture recognition (up to 200 photos per channel), video augmentation, and other features are included in the Maxst AR SDK 2D.
The augmented reality development tools from Maxst are offered for free (with watermarks) and a fee.
On June 5, 2017, Apple announced its augmented reality SDK at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). This augmented reality tool will be available in the fall for the brand-new iOS 11. Apple has put a lot of effort into allowing iOS developers to create augmented reality experiences. ARKit is already accessible in an iOS 11 beta version. Let’s have a look at the most significant features of Apple’s AR SDK:
- By integrating visual input from the camera with powerful computer vision processing, Visual Inertial Odometry reliably follows the environment.
- Plane detection allows iPhones and iPads to scan their surroundings for horizontal planes (floors, tables, etc.).
- Lighting estimation analyses and changes the quantity of light hitting virtual objects based on the amount of light in the natural environment.
- The Unity and Unreal engines can be used in conjunction with ARKit.