Google has just launched a preview of the Google ARCore, its new software development kit that brings augmented reality capabilities to all Android powered devices. This even includes all the mobile devices that do not come with high-end hardware like depth sensing cameras.
In case this development sounds familiar to you, it can be because Google already has an AR platform known as Tango. But the problem with Tango is that it works only with a handful of extremely powerful phones, which have been specially tricked out with all the necessary sensors. These sensors allow you to place virtual 3D objects in a physical space and interact with them through your phone as if they were really there.
However, with the Google ARCore, Google is planning to open up the augmented reality sector to multiple users, as the company says that they are hoping to get it to work on 100 million devices by the end of the preview.
Moreover, Google wants to get more and more developers involved in creating AR apps and content. Just last month, Google released Blocks, an app that lets users create 3D models and environments without the need for prior experience in the field. But the catch here is that you can only use Blocks if you have an HTC Vive or an Oculus Rift.
What is Google ARCore?
Google ARCore, as the name suggests, is Android’s equivalent to Apple ARKit: a baked-in augmented reality platform for developers. ARCore is less powerful than the Tango, for sure, but it makes up be being more accessible in comparison.
It’s scheduled to launch on the year-old Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy S8 phones, which will be supported by Android 7.0 Nougat as well as its recently released successor Android Oreo. An official launch for Google ADCore is loosely planned for this winter when Google promises ARCore will work with 100 million existing and upcoming devices.
Google’s head of augmented and virtual reality, Clay Bavor, says:
Our approach with Tango was to un-constrain ourselves. That really let us learn a lot, figure out what the use cases are, and push forward the technology — out ahead of what would have been possible with standard smartphone hardware.
As Google describes it, ARCore has three basic ingredients. The first is motion tracking, which basically estimates a phone’s relative location based on internal sensors and video footage, so you can pin objects in one place and walk around them. The second is environmental understanding, which uses the camera to detect flat surfaces. The third is light estimation, which helps virtual props cast accurate shadows and otherwise fit in with their surroundings.
What does one expect from it?
3D characters who can move around physical spaces, fun lighting effects like fireworks that look like they’re exploding right before your eyes, and virtual highways that you can draw and set robots to drive on in your living room.
Augmented reality offers up an entirely new way of looking at the world — and no matter what kind of window you’re looking through, Google is designing the tools to interpret what you see.