There’s no need to mince words: ARKit is awesome. Introduced at WWDC 2017, Apple’s augmented reality (AR) platform is just plain changing how we will use mobile devices. Plenty of developers are already hard at work on AR apps and features for iOS, and these are the five coolest projects we’ve found.
Just one month old, ARKit is a framework developed internally at Apple that “allows you to easily create unparalleled augmented reality experiences for iPhone and iPad.” It allows users to overlay digital imagery onto real-world spaces to add layers of context to your day-to-day environments.
The possibilities are seemingly endless, too. You could leave yourself digital Post-It notes on your desk, or reviews of a restaurant tied to your favorite seat at the bar. On stage at WWDC, LEGO proudly displayed a Batman game where the LEGO Batmobile could be seen in an exploded view. The beauty of ARKit is that it touches every corner of the App Store.
This one is about as impressive an ARKit project as we’ve seen. A digital doorway leads you into an entirely different world you can explore. turn around in the digital environment and you’ll see the reality you came from. Immersive, “the portal” has us eager to see just how deep the ARKit rabbit’s hole goes.
If a portal shows what’s possible when you create an entirely alternate universe, Minecraft is an example of how to recreate the real world. It makes great use of Visual Inertial Odometry (VIO) and “scene understanding,” technologies ARKit employs to track real world surface and your location to them.
Yes, a measuring tape can be exciting. This project is an indicator of just how integral AR can become for daily use. Rather than have to traipse around the house looking for the tape measure, you could just launch an app to scan the space to be measured. It’s subtly brilliant.
Gaming is expected to see a huge boost from ARKit, and this is a great example of how a simple game can be reimagined and refreshed with AR. Something as simple as Space Invaders shines when released into the real world, and adds a layer of gameplay the static original can’t touch. This project is a solid example of how ARKit will make classics viable again – but also remind us how dated they are.
Unity and Unreal support the full feature-set of ARKit. At WWDC, nobody could quite figure out what that meant, but this video is a great example. It takes a 360-degree video and overlays it into a real-world scene. Seems simple enough, but the implications are huge. This adds some human interaction to the ARKit mix, and could be used for anything from coaching to in-store acclaim for various products.
ARKit is Special
The reality of augmented reality is it has a nearly limitless potential. In these five examples, we’ve seen ARKit mimic virtual reality, replace a simple household tool and breathe life into gaming. For one platform, that’s a lot of return on investment.
And investing in ARKit is exactly what every developer and engineer should be doing. While it won’t be suitable for every app or service, there are plenty that can make good use of it. All signs point to augmented reality being the next wave of mobile, so familiarizing yourself with it now is a smart move that will pay off for years to come.