Dev to Dev

5 ways augmented reality can improve mobile user experience

Improving the user experience (UX) is one of the most effective ways of increasing app engagement, conversions, and customer retention. The important question, however, is HOW?

How do successful mobile developers improve an app’s user experience?

Simply put, they focus on enhancing the app’s functionality, usability, meaningfulness, efficiency, design, and other elements that typically characterize a good UX.

To improve these UX elements, mobile developers usually have to work separately on several fronts. However, there is a medium that is getting a lot of attention lately as it ticks practically all the boxes when the subject is user experience enhancement. Augmented reality technology requires no equipment beyond a smart-device, allows users to utilize their phones to scan images, objects, and their surroundings to reveal hidden digital content.

When working with AR, developers can create an immersive, innovative, contextualized, practical, and meaningful experience for the user. Continue reading to further explore the benefits and practical applications of AR in UX.

5 Ways Augmented Reality Can Improve The Mobile User Experience

  • AR innovatively displays multiple sources of information

Augmented can unite various forms of information and present it in a practical and easy to digest manner. But, to make such an attribute work towards adding value to the user experience, said information must be useful and contextualized. To better visualize this example, let’s talk tourism.

Imagine an app that allows users to scan new surroundings and immediately see relevant digital information seamlessly superimposed over the physical world. Think navigation instructions, cultural text prompts, opening times, business ratings, public transportation schedules, and more; – or less for that matter, depending on the user’s preference in settings.

  • AR allows users to experience immersive engagement

In this fast-paced digital era, it is challenging to truly capture one’s attention. And, with the average attention span decreasing, it probably won’t be getting any easier to do so anytime soon. For that reason, mobile developers have been seeking innovation and getting positive results with augmented reality. Due to its naturally immersive nature, users tend to retain focus and dig deeper into the task at hand when submitted to an AR experience.

Whether the AR app is designed for a student learning a new language, a child playing with a toy, or a chef searching for the ideal ingredients to cook, AR allows users to get effortlessly involved and feel more connected to the product and the whole experience.

  • AR eases communication and collaboration

Gone are the days in which physical presence was an absolute necessity to enable rich, instant visual communication. Yes, we have come a long way since the time of smoke signaling, and luckily, nowadays people all over the world can benefit from advanced video-conference capability over long distances. But things are still changing for the better. Be it business, day to day sharing, or precise remote assistance, augmented reality is taking communication and collaboration to a whole new level.

With augmented reality, users can now communicate with an extra ability to manipulate augmented content and add annotations (draw, highlight, place arrows, share text bubbles, etc.) on the screen that appear and will remain in place on top of real-world objects during live video stream – directly in the user’s field of view. This AR-enabled feature adds a great deal of ease, security, practicality, and efficiency to the user communication experience as a whole.

  • AR makes experiences entertaining

Entertainment comes in all shapes and sizes, but to stand out as a real crowd-pleaser, mobile developers have to give an extra edge to their applications. Pokémon Go and Snapchat are unarguably a big worldwide hit in this sense. However, there is much more being explored in the AR entertainment realm.

A great example is what a London-based Michelin-starred restaurant and bar have created to delight their customers: cocktails that come to life with AR. Customers scan their drink to view an AR series entitled “art through the ages” that ranges from Michelangelo to Banksy, projected seamlessly around their glass. Fun, easy to share, and a great conversation starter.

  • AR improves shopping experiences

Online shopping has become a standard activity for many. But, there are some situations in which nothing beats looking at the actual product itself in its intended setting – nothing except for AR that is. Thanks to augmented reality, users can now experience a product, digitally and proportionately placed in their physical surroundings. This AR capability helps users make the correct choice when planning a buy, saving time, effort and money. This valued user experience can be better understood with a space planning and design showcase.

The Roomle 3-D furniture catalog allows users to utilize AR to visualize any brand product using a smart-device camera. After selecting a piece, users can position and configure the product according to personal preference for a realistic augmented reality view – a great feature for customers and professional sales staff alike.

Due to its versatility and innovative traits, augmented reality is changing user engagement and social interaction by providing practical functionality, entertainment, valuable content, and a welcomed breath of fresh air in a variety of sectors.

Retail, marketing, gaming, decor, industry, logistics, education, and many other sectors are finding, in augmented reality, new ways to connect with and please their audience while getting their message across, achieving their goals, solving problems, and improving the overall user experience.

Want to learn more about AR and its potential? Check out our series AR 101 to learn about the technology, development platforms, and most common use cases.

Dev to Dev

How to start your AR project: planning and tips to succeed

Augmented reality has been complementing campaigns and digital solutions across multiple sectors of the market. From assisting Nissan dealerships with product visualization and sales to telling the stories of Jack Daniel’s and its whiskey, AR truly has a versatile nature. How to get the AR strategic planning right?

If you are interested in creating your first (or next) AR app, it is crucial to keep in mind a popular, yet meaningful quote by Benjamin Franklin: 

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

In the app development world, having a clear roadmap for strategic planning is essential. That’s the right way to get the ball rolling and to hold yourself and your team accountable. 

Continue reading to explore 8 steps that will help you get your AR project planning started on the right foot.

Strategic planning and tips for your AR project 

1. Outline the concept and app objective

This step sounds a little obvious; however, it is essential to pinpoint your objective so that efforts can become laser-focused and aligned throughout the team.

What are you creating, and why?

When defining your concept, think about the purpose of the app; how it will be attractive and useful for the end-user; how your business will benefit from it; does the AR app solve a problem? How? Be specific about your vision.

Keep in mind that in the AR app world, sometimes it is not about solving an end-user issue (even though it often is: see augmented reality sewing patterns). The project objective could also be, for example, about achieving a marketing strategy by engaging the user through entertainment (see Ellen DeGeneres’ TV game show AR app) or providing much more than expected from a product (see augmented reality stickers by Mardles).

By the end of this step, you should have written down the main idea behind the project and its core functionality in a clear and concise matter.

2. Define your audience

Defining your audience is very much aligned with the step above, yet, those who take the time to properly explore this step typically experience more success regarding user experience, content, and outreach.

Who is your target base?

Is the AR project designed for a specific age group? A broader audience? Company employees of different backgrounds? Once you clearly define your audience (country, age, gender, area of interest, etc.), take the time to research how to reach and keep your specific target group interested and engaged.

As an example, let’s take a case from the toymaker Spin Master. Knowing that their target group – kids – are, nowadays, so connected to mobile devices, both for entertainment and gaming, they wanted to provide a fully immersive experience into the world of their Dragamonz toyline by extending the play with AR

Use this logic and your research abilities to better connect with and cater to your target audience.

3. Research market vertical

This step is an important one to gain knowledge and align your expectations by tracking the success rate of similar projects in your market segment (how fierce is this marketplace). It is also a great source of inspiration.

What has already been done, and how could you do it better?

Save yourself time by learning from the mistakes of your competitors – both the successful and unsuccessful ones. Check ratings and customer reviews, download similar apps to have the experience first hand, analyze the number of installs, find gaps in the market, and dig deeper whenever possible and relevant. 

The better the research, the better the outcome. Check for design characteristics, functionality, user workflows, and jot down any positive and negative aspects of each investigated app. Then, use that valuable (not to mention free) info to optimize your AR project in all fronts possible.

4. Define AR app features

At this point, you should have a clear vision of why and how you want your AR app to function. Regardless of whether your project is to be deployed on an existing app or a dedicated one, this is the moment to define which specific functionalities and AR features you wish to include.

What are the AR features that will better suit your project?

At this stage, keep in mind that as a developer, it is often easier to settle for what you know. And as a client, you probably don’t want to limit your possibilities. So, take the time to explore the AR tech you wish to work with to see if any of the technological advancements could be a better fit for your project. 

Access the links below to get inspired by what can and is being done in the AR world today:

Once you are up to date with new technology features and possibilities, define all the features you want your app to have and organize them by priority. 

5. Create a marketing strategy

It doesn’t matter how good your final project is if people don’t know about it. So make sure you have a plan to publicize your AR app.

How will you educate users about your new AR app?

Sadly, this step is often overseen and disregarded, but it could be the key element tied to leading your app into a successful path – or not.

Let’s take an example from a use case mentioned in the intro. One could imagine that a well-known brand like Jack Daniel’s wouldn’t need to focus much on marketing their launches, as the brand in itself would attract all the buzz automatically. Not the case. Even though JD would experience success of some sort without even trying, the company planned and acted out an efficient marketing strategy that began months before the launch of the AR app. The results? Thirty days after the official global Jack Daniel’s AR Experience app launch, 30.000+ iOS and Android users had watched over 110,000 ‘Jack Stories’ AR experiences with an average of 5:42 minutes of total session time per user.

So, whatever your budget is, include a detailed and efficient communication plan to let your target audience know about your AR app.

6. Analytics

Tracking data that is aligned with your project goals will, among other things, indicate what is working well, what needs to be improved, and ultimately measure the progress and success of your project goals.

Define the metrics and KPIs that are important for your AR project.

As you might already know, a KPI is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a project is achieving its objectives.

The mobile metrics to be tracked can be:

  • generic: downloads, registrations, crashes, upgrades, number of AR target scans;
  • related to engagement levels: sessions, social shares, active users;
  • revenue-focused: conversion rate, return of investment (ROI), in-app purchase;
  • user-experience-oriented: load time, devices used;
  • marketing-related: geo-metrics, demographics, keywords;
  • and, of course, reviews and ratings.

For an in-depth review, check this extensive list of 50+ detailed Mobile App KPIs.

As you can see, a lot can be tracked. Think outside the box, and if it is important for your project, track it.

7. Budget

Cross-examine what was defined in the steps above with the budget available for your project. Does your budget allow you to develop everything you have planned to include?

Align existing budget with the AR project plan.

Be realistic, and trim where needed. And remember that It is always possible to revisit, re-edit, and add along after the initial AR app launch.

If you are not too sure about cost estimates, the next step (and article) will give you further guidance. Just remember to make room for step 5 (promotional strategy) into your budget. 

8. Start the development process

By following the steps above, your AR project outline will be ready to be taken to the next exciting step that will bring your project to life: the development phase!

If you have in-house expertise, your team probably knows how to take it from here. If that is not your case, we have prepared a complete guide with tips on how to choose the ideal AR professionals for your project. Coming up on the Wikitude blog:

Can’t wait for the next blog to know more? Contact our team to get your AR project started today!

Dev to Dev

“The Turtle” developer tutorial: markerless app made with Unity (SLAM)

Update: Track, save and share AR experiences with SDK 8

Since the launch of Wikitude’s SLAM technology, “The Turtle” has been the #1 tutorial request we’ve received. So who better than the developers themselves to show you how they made turtles float around the streets of Michigan?

This post is a guest post by YETi CGI, a tech design company who developed projects for companies like Disney, Mattel, National Geographic and more.

The Turtle, as we affectionately call it, is a markerless AR concept demo we built on the new Wikitude SDK as part of our own research into 3D mobile AR. In broad strokes, the app causes your phone to see a majestic sea turtle swimming about the room, getting believably close and distant depending on where it is in virtual space.

Building the AR experience

The demo’s effect hinges on the turtle itself, right? Both its look and its feel contribute to the sense of it swimming in the same room the user occupies. In order to convey this, the first step is to give the turtle some context, which is where Wikitude’s SDK comes in. The SLAM algorithm they’ve got defines the virtual space based on the physical, gathering data from the room and mapping it into a Unity scene.

Because of what Wikitude provides, our coding needs were actually pretty simple. Once the Unity scene is created the camera performs a raycast onto the ground, giving the program most of the variables it needs to run. Aided by the virtual map of the physical room and the raycast data, the prefabbed object (which is then given the turtle as its identity) is positioned at a comfortable distance directly in front of the user.

When scene is set to it’s active state, and if tracking is active, position the Turtle correctly in front of the viewer

if (_isTracking)
    //cast ray out from center of screen, get position it hits the ground plane
    Ray cameraRay = Camera.main.ScreenPointToRay(new Vector3(Screen.width / 2, Screen.height / 2, 0));
    RaycastHit hit;
    if (ground.Raycast(cameraRay, out hit, 30))
        objectHolder.transform.position = hit.point;

The turtle’s animation is mostly provided by the art team, but it only consists of a looped reel of images. The baked in animation doesn’t actually include the circles that the turtle is turning, though it’s worth noting that it could have been accomplished that way. Our approach was to use a free plugin, called DOTween, to assign the turtle an animation state. We think it worked nicely.

Did you know you can now use Unity’s live preview with the Wikitude SDK? See more

Again, Wikitude’s SDK accommodates the project beautifully: most of the code done by our team determines position and camera input. By using Unity, Wikitude was able to provide us with prefabs (pre-built assets) which allowed us to drag and drop ready-to-go elements, giving us the freedom to work on the design and UX without having to first reinvent the wheel.

The outcome

How cool is to track the world around us? We’re pleased with how it turned out, and we’re going to continue learning about the applications of markerless 3D AR. At YETi we’ve been active in the scene for some time, and to have tools like Wikitude’s SDK showing up is a huge encouragement. 

That’s it! Hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Below are some relevant links to get you started with Instant Tracking. Let us know in the comments below which tutorials we should make next.

Get started with the  SDK for Unity: 


Download Unity SDK
Set up guide
Instant Tracking info
Other apps using Instant tracking

Interested in creating an AR project of your own?
Talk to one of our specialists and learn how to get started.

Contact The Wikitude Team

Dev to Dev

Halloween Special: The Dark Side of Augmented Reality

Halloween, nowadays, is most commonly associated with spooky costumes, trick-or-treating, haunted houses, horror movies, excessive amounts of candy, and scary pranks.

But, what originated this tradition?

With a little help from Wikipedia, one soon learns that the word Halloween is actually a contraction of All Hallows’ Evening – the night that precedes the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day, followed by All Souls’ Day, a time dedicated to remembering the dead.

Back in the mid 700’s, it was believed that the link between the afterlife and the physical world was thinned on All Hallows’ Eve. For that reason, people would disguise their identities with costumes or masks in order to prevent being recognized by vengeful souls. That explains a lot.

Thinning the link between reality and fiction

Modern tech In a modern technological association, some believe that augmented reality is thinning the link between the physical world and the digital world. If that is true, will there be a time in which we will have trouble distinguishing what is real and what is not? Some futuristic fictional storytellers seem to believe that is the not-so-distant case.

Despite the glaring benefits that augmented reality is bringing to various segments across the board, imaginative minds, as with all else, attempt to predict the outcome of a possible dark side of AR. In other words, how a benevolent technology could take, accidentally or not, a rather sinister path.

Unsettling AR films to watch this Halloween

If you are a tech and/or horror genre fan, be inspired by the spookiest season of the year, gather your favorite peeps, plenty of popcorn, and schedule a Halloween AR Movie Marathon. Below you will find a few movie recommendations – read till the end to find out how you can prank your gang with a good AR scare.

Strange Beasts

This short film revolves around an AR game called Strange Beasts that allows players to create and interact with their own virtual pets. The digital animations are perceived directly in the user’s field of view with the aid of special contact lenses. The short film has an unexpected twist that shows how physical isolation could play a great role in futuristic settings.

Black Mirror: Play test episode

The Play test episode of Black Mirror, the acclaimed science fiction anthology series from Netflix, perfectly illustrates the thinning link between the real world and the digital world. It tells the story of a man who signs up to test an innovative inner-fear-provoking AR gaming system. The game is so advanced that the test subject starts having trouble knowing where the game ends and reality begins. No spoilers!


Black Mirror: Men against fire episode

Soldiers of the future use complex technologies and augmented reality to improve their overall combating skills and effectiveness. On a specific mission, set to protect villagers from invaders, one of the soldiers will have a full-scale experience.

Halloween - Black mirror
Credits: Black Mirror

Let’s Be Evil

A group of gifted children, kept in a maximum-security underground facility, rely on Augmented Reality to boost their advanced learning program. However, the newly hired student chaperones soon learn, the hard way, that something is terrifyingly wrong about the situation.

Halloween - lets be evil
Source: Let’s be Evil

No Halloween get-together is complete without a decent prank. So after watching the above-mentioned films with your friends, be prepared to give them an AR experience they won’t forget anytime soon.

Access our Augmented Reality Halloween App Tutorial to learn how to create your very own scary prank application. All it takes is 13 lines of coding! Use our award-winning AR SDK and get started!

Dev to Dev

Halloween Unity Tutorial: AR zombie pumpkin shooter

Halloween is creeping up! With social distancing in mind, trick-or-tricking might not sound like a good idea this time around. Why not seize the occasion to improve your developing skills.

To encourage all fellow developers to embrace the Halloween spirit to further exercise their craft, we are sharing a cool Halloween AR Game Tutorial in Unity created by Professor Dr. Penny de Byl. After all, practice makes perfect and our tutorials are here to prove it!

In this Halloween tutorial, Dr. Penny uses the Wikitude SDK in Unity and guides you step by step to set up an AR zombie pumpkin shooter game using the Object recognition and Extended Object Tracking features.

Watch the full spooky extended object tracking tutorial in Unity and get started with your very own Halloween AR game creation!

Did you enjoy the tutorial? Share your results with us by tagging @wikitude in Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. 

Happy Haunting!


Dev to Dev

Augmented Reality 101: Top AR use-cases

The first part of Wikitude’s Augmented Reality 101 series tackled the basics. After explaining what AR is and going through the most common types of AR technologies, we will now explore how augmented reality is being used in our world TODAY.

Before we proceed, let’s make one thing clear: AR is not just about dog face filters and Pokémon GO. We kid you not. People are using this technology to bring ease to their lives and many forward-thinking companies are working with augmented reality to improve their workflow and businesses. Let’s see how.

Augmented reality use cases

We created an extensive list of selected AR use cases. Navigate through the topics below to learn more about current AR applications.


Static mediums are being innovated and brought to life through AR: enhanced catalogs, flyers, brochures, billboards, posters, packaging, t-shirts, print-ads, bus shelters, and storefronts. It’s easy to create targeted experiences and user engagement by including videos, 3D animations, extra info, links to website or social media, and much more.


Medical students are using anatomically correct AR 3D models for study purposes and AR simulations to train for surgical procedures. Real surgeries, on the other hand, are using remote physicians to give guidance and share expertise that is shown on display in real-time to the performing surgeon.

Handheld scanners are being used to project the estimated position of veins in patients’ bodies for increased accuracy when drawing blood. Doctors are providing better explanations about diagnosis and treatments through enriched AR content and Pharma companies are providing drug info in a 3D AR setting for a better understanding of medicament working mechanisms and dosage instructions.


Use of interactive AR books that include animated 3D models, sound, and engaging actions. Customizable printable AR worksheets, linked to the content of a specific lesson, for in-class usage, homework, and study purposes. Enhancing field trip experiences with more information and interaction by visiting locations that have incorporated AR features.

Here and in the video below you can find out more about how you can take education to the next level with augmented reality:

Journalism and mass communication

Renowned newspapers around the globe are using AR to enhance reporting and storytelling. Printed issues are being enriched with exclusive content and app AR experiences are bringing more sensory detail to readers. This AR series from The Washington Post is probably the most known example of how AR is changing storytelling.


Users may visualize and modify the size, color, and placement of a piece of furniture in their environment before buying the product. Roomle’s AR space planner is a great example for home planning and decor with Augmented reality:


Shoppers can use AR product placement to see how the object will look like it is in their environment, being able to change color and style, before the purchase. Through AR animations, shoppers can also better understand how a product works and functions. Check how Manor created a digital catalog for E-commerce.


Different types of AR dressing rooms are being created to allow consumers to experiment with product placement by digitally trying on clothes, changing their color, sampling different shoes, eyewear, accessories, makeup, and more.

Design and modeling

As an alternative to pricey prototypes, designers are utilizing AR to create 3D models that can be viewed in the real world to better understand, modify, develop and present their projects.

Sport events

Big sport-related events such as the Olympics, UEFA, Wimbledon, and others are relying on AR to innovatively bring exclusive content, event info, and fun engagement to their spectators.


Static PDF work instructions are being replaced with real-time, rich interactive AR content to assist employees during production on complex assembly lines.


Warehouse employees are scanning their orders to be guided by AR prompts that offer the best route to move faster and more efficiently, indicating the precise storage location.

ViewAR is a great example of AR applied in logistics for process optimization.

Maintenace and repair

Technicians can scan machines to check for faulty settings and when corrective measures need to be taken, 3D AR graphics are projected on the exact location where the task needs to be performed along with useful information and other procedures. AR-enhanced content is also being used as an alternative to traditional owner’s manuals and setup guides.

Remote assistance

Remote experts can connect with on-site technicians who receive real-time audio, messaging as well as AR instructions. Users can place annotations and 3D models through shared one-way videos which stay locked onto the real world, giving rich context and eliminating confusion.


Traditional GPS directions are not only being layered in the user’s line of sight to better avoid accidents caused by distractions but are also being enhanced to show real-time hazards, traffic, and even public in-building navigation.

Tourism and travel

Travel guides and maps, both printed and digital, are being enhanced with augmented reality content to provide extra information for tourism. With AR, tourists can easily find valuable information by scanning their surroundings to get pinpoint props of free Wi-Fi, restaurant and accommodation tips, customer reviews, directions, transportation options, historical facts, interactive maps, customizable itineraries, and more.


Artists are creating digital art pieces layered over public places that are unveiled through AR. People can leave notes and doodles in public places that are also revealed through AR. Museums have been enhanced with AR guided tours that provide extra content about exposed items. Don’t miss the CoCA Pop-Up (AR)t Book and Direct2Artist showcases powered by Wikitude.


The most notorious AR game to date is Pokémon GO. When the game went viral people went to the streets to capture Pokémons digitally layered in the real world. But the possibilities are many and expanding constantly. The spectrum goes from tactical space shooting quests to traditional board games enhanced or totally created with AR. In case you missed it, check out the world’s first augmented reality card game powered by Wikitude.


Instead of using expensive equipment like, single-use targets, bombs, ammunition, aircraft, and others, AR technology is being used to substitute these components during military training. AR is also utilized to enhance the vision and navigation of pilots and soldiers by providing target identification, obstacle avoidance, terrain information, more precision in aiming, and even ally and enemy location.


AR is being used to project subsurface utilities, like underground pipelines, to avoid during excavations. Constructors are also measuring the length and distance between objects using the tracking capabilities of augmented reality. With the help of AR, engineers can also view their finished project on-site before the actual building process begins.


Augmented reality features are being used in retail for interactive advertising, product visualization, showroom enhancement (product exploration, special feature revelation), indoor store navigation (product finder, customer loyalty incentive, discounts), shopping assistance (product details and comparison, personalized suggestions), sampling campaigns and more.

PeekPerks, the retail engagement app:

Retailers are also exploring creative and useful ways to use AR to improve internal business processes for logistics, design (shelf optimization, product, and label placement), employee management (in-company training, access to information), employee assistance (modular set-up, restocking support), quality control (audit simulations), personalization and security (facial recognition technology to track customers in-store) and even to create bold new disruptive business models (virtual stores in parking lots, parks and in front of famous landmarks).


Industries are using AR to optimize their business in design, production, distribution, maintenance, and remote assistance, as discussed in the correspondent topics listed herein.

As seen above, the use cases are many, and it excites us to imagine what the future of AR has in store.

For a deeper technical insight, read about the different technological features that Wikitude’s cross-platform SDK provides to make existing and future AR experiences possible.

More posts from the AR 101 series:

Interested in creating an AR project of your own?
Talk to one of our specialists and learn how to get started.

Contact The Wikitude Team

Dev to Dev

A beginner’s guide to augmented reality with Unity

The Wikitude Academy has been successfully supporting students, professors, and academic institutions since 2012. In short, this awesome initiative has been giving free access to the full feature set of the Wikitude SDK EDU to eligible applicants all around the globe.

Due to the success of the program and popular demand, the Wikitude Academy has now partnered up with award-winning international professor & best-selling author Dr. Penny de Byl to offer online augmented reality courses.

If you are a mobile app creator, game designers/developer, or an AR/Unity enthusiast looking to expand your skill set, this course is for you. Presenting:

A Beginner’s Guide to Augmented Reality with Unity  featuring Mobile AR Applications with Wikitude using ARKit & ARCore for iOS and Android.

Hosted on the online learning platform Udemy and designed for AR beginners, the course ranges from examining AR’s earliest origins to understanding the mashup of computerized environments with the real world. The topics covered in the course include:

  • Projecting Virtual Objects over the live camera feed
  • 2D Image Recognition
  • 3D Object and Scene Recognition
  • 3D Scene Recognition
  • QR and Barcode Detection
  • Image Tracking, and
  • Placing virtual interactable objects and animations into a real scene

Like what you see? Then we suggest you act fast.

With a small investment, enrolled students have full lifetime access to 53 lectures, 10.5 hours of on-demand video, 6 articles, 28 downloadable resources, certificate of completion, and more:

  • All students enrolled in this course are entitled to a free Wikitude SDK EDU license.

Enroll now and learn how to create your own AR app from scratch with Unity and Wikitude.

“Dr. Penny introduces augmented reality techniques using her internationally acclaimed holistic teaching style and expertise from over 25 years of teaching, research, and work in games and computer graphics. Throughout the course, you will follow along with hands-on workshops designed to teach you the fundamental techniques used for designing and developing augmented reality mobile applications.”

To read the full description of the course and sign up, please access A Beginner’s Guide to Augmented Reality with Unity.

Interested in creating an AR project of your own?
Talk to one of our specialists and learn how to get started.

Contact The Wikitude Team

Dev to Dev

Migrating from Blippar: augmented reality with Wikitude

When big players like Google, Apple, and Facebook jump on the bandwagon, you know the technology is close to mass adoption. And this is exactly the case for augmented reality.

AR is becoming part of our daily lives and the last two years, the industry boomed. Pokémon GO was a huge catalyst for AR to reach millions of users. After that ARKit was launched, and shortly after ARCore. Several companies were acquired and the AR landscape suddenly started to shift.

These dramatical and fast changes in the industry certainly bring amazing opportunities, but also many challenges. In order to gain ground, all the players need to plan carefully while maintaining proactive flexibility.

Sometimes not even an apparently meticulous strategy and a great vision can guarantee success. This seems to be the case for Blippar, a pioneer in augmented reality that has been shaping the field since 2011.

The company sadly announced on the 18th December that it is ‘entering into administration’, due to funding cuts and difficulties in boosting its revenues. It is indeed a disappointing situation for their team that has been driving innovation for so many years.

It is, as well, unfortunate to the users, who have chosen Blippar because they were inspired by its vision and believed in its product. According to a post on Blippar’s blog, its ‘services are likely to come to halt once the administrators take control of the business and its servers’. This must leave some disoriented and worried.

To those of you, Blippar users left adrift, rest assure, there are alternatives in the market and you shouldn’t give up on your augmented reality dreams.

Here’s how Wikitude can help:

We have the full package to counterbalance most of the things you were used to with Blippar: Wikitude SDK, Wikitude Studio, Wikitude App and Cloud services.

Wikitude SDK – your alternative for Blippar SDK

We won’t build your augmented reality campaign, but we will provide a powerful software that will empower you to make impressive AR experiences. The elaborated documentation, sample app, and tutorials will help you from your first steps up to advanced concepts.

With Wikitude, there is a wide range of AR features you can work with:

There are multiple ways to build your AR app, so you can choose one of the many development platforms supported by the Wikitude SDK. Our motto is to ‘code once, deploy everywhere’, so you can publish your projects to a wide variety of iOS, Android and Windows devices.

Additional Wikitude tools and services

The Wikitude Studio is, similarly to the Blippbuilder , a code-free web-based platform for creating and publishing AR experiences. Moreover, it enables developers to generate and manage target collections.

As the Blippar app, the Wikitude App makes it possible to publish augmented reality campaigns within minutes.

For projects requiring more than 1,000 target images, we offer Cloud services that enhance offline recognition, ensuring a very quick response time and high recognition rate.

On the other hand, Wikitude doesn’t cover out of the box Blippar’s barcode scanning, visual search, facial recognition, and car recognition smarts. For those functionalities, developers must use our Plugins API feature, which allows you to integrate our SDK with third-party libraries, like face detection libraries, barcode scanning libraries, etc.

No provider out there will be able to be the absolutely perfect substitute for Blippar. But we’re here to help and ensure your augmented reality projects remain up and running. So if you are looking for a solid alternative, Wikitude is able to deliver.

How to migrate from Blippar to Wikitude

1. Download our free SDK trial

2. Set up your project following the documentation and set up guides

3. Use Studio to manage your content and publish to the Wikitude app

3. Select your license or reach out to our team to help you choose the right license for you.

Before you go asking yourself what guarantees do you have when switching from Blippar to Wikitude….

  • We have been in the market for 10 years
  • We’re the largest independent AR company in the market
  • We have our own technology and we are proactively making adjustments to better serve your project
  • The main focus for us is to develop the business in line with the broader technology trends
  • We have a strong global community with 100.000+ developers and established partners
  • There are over 20.000 apps and over 1 billion installs powered by Wikitude
  • We are here to stay!

Don’t be shy, if you have any questions or need help, reach out to anytime!

Dev to Dev

Product update: Titanium Module

Over six years ago Wikitude launched its Titanium Module for the Wikitude SDK. It enabled Appcelerator developers to easily embed augmented reality into their Titanium project. Since then, hundreds of developers were using Wikitude and Titanium to create and publish their apps.

As the AR market evolved, we saw a strong shift in download patterns and a declining demand from Titanium developers over the past year.

As we aim to expand our offering to better serve AR developers with a broader range of innovative products, we find it necessary to discontinue our support for Titanium.

What does this mean?

The last updated version of the Module is scheduled for February 2019.

Our intent is to provide support for existing subscription customers using Titanium for a limited time in order to ease migration. Wikitude will fix critical issues in the Titanium Module at its discretion until 01.06.2019.

Other development frameworks

Next to the officially maintained extensions like Unity, Cordova or Xamarin, the Wikitude developer community created several extensions in the past weeks like Ionic, React Native or Adobe Flash. We are also investigating to support new development platforms in the future.

You can check all supported platforms and details how to get started in our 101 AR series and in our documentation section.

We apologize for any inconvenience this announcement may cause and are eager to meet our community’s future product requirements with our award-winning AR SDK.

Our team is here to help and clear any questions you might have.

Dev to Dev

Track, Save and Share: A Developer View on SDK 8

More than 6 years ago in April 2012 the very first version of the Wikitude SDK found its way to our first customers. So now, after XYZ releases in total, what can one expect from the 8th major market version of an augmented reality SDK? In short: a lot. Wikitude SDK 8 represents a change as significant as SDK 5 was when we started to offer native APIs for the Wikitude SDK. Some features in this 8th version made it necessary to rethink software architecture choices from the past and re-write major parts of the SDK to give it a structure that supports future challenges and meets the requirements of future projects.

In this article, we will share insights about the technical background of the key changes and features that are new in Wikitude SDK 8.

Instant Targets – making augmented reality persistent

Back in early 2017, the Wikitude SDK was the first SDK to provide developers with the ability to use Instant Trackers (aka markerless tracking, aka Positional tracking) for a wide range of devices. Some of this functionality is now available as part of our SMART feature, which wraps ARKit and ARCore and Instant Tracking into a single API. Positional tracking is a fantastic capability, but it is not persistent at all. Users can place content freely but will have to re-do this every time they start another session.

Wikitude’s Instant Tracking included the ability of visual re-localization right from the beginning (once tracking was lost, it would pick up again in case it detected an area already covered). With SDK 8 Wikitude now introduces the ability to save Instant Tracking sessions in the form of Instant Targets. The API allows you to serialize the current session and use this target to load as a target later on – the same way used with other trackers in the Wikitude SDK. Object Tracker recognizing Object Targets, Image Tracker recognizing Image Targets, and now, Instant Tracker recognizing Instant Targets.

Instant Targets is a 3D representation of whatever a user tracked in a session – in fact, the file format in which the information is stored is identical to the files generated for Object Tracker (wto). This could be really anything – internally we tried plain images, objects, and smaller scenes with good results.

Reworked AR engine

The introduction of Instant Targets is accompanied by a major upgrade to our Instant Tracking engine – actually to the entire 3D SLAM engine that is powering Instant Tracking, Object Tracking, and all Extended Tracking modes in the background. Anything SLAM-related was revisited and improved – the algorithms have been updated to the latest generation of SLAM algorithms and incorporate findings from recent research.

While ARKit and ARCore are deploying sensor-fusion-based systems, we saw that there is still a great potential in vision-only systems, that don’t require detailed calibration of camera and IMU. Of course, sensor-fusion systems have their advantages when it comes to fast, rotational-dominant movements like fast 180° turns.

Apart from this, the new 3D SLAM engine reaches extremely good results in tracking benchmarks even compared to ARKit and ARCore. In our tests, we could see a reduction of tracking error by up to 60% compared to SDK 7.2.

The general benefits of the new SLAM engine you will enjoy are:

  • Higher precision of tracking the environment in general
  • Instant Tracking more robust for pure lateral movements with low parallax at the beginning
  • Tracking can cover greater areas

Going beyond Object Recognition with Extended Object Tracking

For Object Recognition SDK 8 has many changes included. Both the quality and accuracy of the initial recognition and tracking improved substantially, particularly for 360° tracking scenarios. The version of Object Recognition in SDK 8 is fundamentally better compared to our previous versions. Part of the improvements are due to the new 3D SLAM engine, but a great part is also due to the new recording process for Object Targets introduced with SDK 8.

Previously, Object Targets were created by uploading a video of the object. While this method worked properly for many of our customers, we identified weaknesses with this approach:

  • Extending Object Targets was cumbersome as it required producing a new video of the entire object
  • The size of the video files was limited and as a direct consequence, the video quality could only be average.
  • For some objects, it is hard to create a proper video

So with SDK 8, we are introducing a different way to create Object Targets: Meet image-based conversion. Object Targets for SDK 8 are now created by uploading images of the object to Studio Manager, which will then convert the images into an Object Target.

With this approach, the quality of the resulting Object Targets will already be a lot better compared to the video-based approach (e.g. if you create an Object Target from a video and compare it with an Object Target created from still images of that very same video, the new image-based conversion will produce a more accurate Object Target).

Precise Object Targets obviously also result in higher accuracy. However, the new conversion method made it necessary to adapt the internals of the wto file format and wtos created using image-based conversion will not be backward compatible.

The new image-based conversion also makes it a lot easier to add uncovered parts by just adding images to the existing map and recreating it using the new images.

We also saw that many objects from customers consist of mirrored faces or have some sort of symmetry in it. The long sides of the toy fire truck that you find in Wikitude’s sample app are nearly identical but mirrored. The new image-based conversion has been developed, so it can detect these cases and identify symmetrical faces correctly.

Speaking of new images: this method also allows you to upload images from the object under different conditions. Using images of the same object in front of a light background and in front of a dark background (or adding variants of an object in direct sunlight and in overcast conditions) will increase the stability of recognition in changing light conditions.

Scene Recognition – tracking LARGE objects and scenes

This brings me to the next great (!) addition of Object Recognition in SDK 8 – Scene recognition. As a direct consequence of the new conversion method, suitable objects can now be considerably larger. In our tests, we mapped objects like monuments, entire house facades, and castles that cover areas over 2400 square meters.

You might already get the feeling that SDK 8 is more than just another feature release of the Wikitude SDK. With SDK 8 we re-built many parts of the SDK to make the architecture fit the growing requirements. Similar to SDK 5 more than 3 years ago, SDK 8 includes another major software architecture redesign. Under the hood of the SDK now works our internally dubbed “Universal SDK”, a platform and OS-agnostic SDK wrapping the core functionality in C++ – while the Wikitude SDK always consisted of a C++ core, we took this approach to the extreme with SDK 8.

Unity Live Preview

As a result of the Universal SDK, we can now finally offer Live Preview for Unity, for both using attached cameras or Unity Remote for testing your experiences directly within the IDE. No more building and transferring your app to an attached device for your testing. Live Preview works for all tracker types – even Instant Tracking using the Unity Remote application. Unity developers can now work using this feature on their macOS or Windows machines.

Introducing support for Windows

Windows! Finally, the Wikitude SDK will run on Windows 10 UWP computers as well. Not only for Live Preview but as a first-class citizen under the operating systems supported by Wikitude. Again, the Wikitude SDK for Windows is powered by the Universal C++ core. For the start, you can build augmented reality experiences powered by Wikitude through Unity and a Native API, so you can build pure UWP AR apps without the need to learn Unity. Our JavaScript API and support for Hololens will follow later. Given the unfortunate developments of the Windows Phone ecosystem, we decided on the initial release in which only devices with Intel™ chips will be supported. As Microsoft and ARM are gearing up to run newer Microsoft hardware also on ARM-based chips, we will monitor the market and add support for ARM-based devices later on.

Some additional cool features

The camera obviously plays a vital role in every augmented reality experience. With the Wikitude SDK, you already have several ways to control the camera streams available on a device. From changing camera (back/front) to setting focal distances, there already is a great variety available. With SDK 8 we are adding two additional items that you can manually control if needed. Developers can now tell the camera which area of the camera image should be used to calculate exposure time and set focus. In a sample, we demonstrate that usage in a tap-to-focus scenario.

With this release, Android developers can use Gradle 3 (used in Android Studio 3) without any limitations.

Endless AR possibilities

Wikitude SDK 8 is a big step for us to make the life of AR developers easier and help them create new ways of AR experiences. We are proud to announce the beta version of SDK 8 today and will continue to increase stability and performance in the upcoming weeks.

Start developing with Wikitude SDK 8

Getting started with SDK 8 has never been easier! Here’s how:

Download SDK 8 and sample app (included in the download package)

Select your license plan

Got questions? Our developers are here for you!

Help us spread the news on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn using the hashtag #SDK8 and #Wikitude.