Wikitude SDK 9.13: new updates and affordable pricing

Get ready to explore our latest SDK release, new product pricing and a fresh look and feel on the Wikitude website.

We’re excited to share that our latest release, Wikitude SDK 9.13, is now ready for download

Android updates, compatibility with Flutter 2.10.3 and Cordova 11, new sample app assets are some of the upgrades developers will now benefit from.  

You can read details of this release in our changelog and get started by downloading your platform of choice today. 

In addition to the SDK update, Wikitude is becoming more accessible to AR developers with a simpler product offering and reduced price.  

The Professional and Expert editions for Unity will merge from mid 2023 onwards, so Expert Edition licenses and features will be globally available for Unity developers.  

New pricing plans

Wikitude licenses are more affordable, starting at 490 EUR/year for the Standard package including our complete feature stack: Image Tracking, Object and Scene Tracking, Instant Tracking, and more.  

Cloud is at 1999 EUR/year price point to support projects that require fast, scalable, and reliable cloud-based Image Tracking services for dynamic projects with large target collections. Enterprise licenses are available upon request for high-complexity or high-volume AR projects. Visit our store to learn more.  

Get read for headworn AR

If you enjoy working with Wikitude and want to take the next step towards headword development, check out the Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform. We award a free license to our partners and customers leveraging Wikitude as on-ramp for joining the Snapdragon Spaces community. 

If you have any questions our team is available via email at   

We hope you enjoy these updates and are excited to keep building the future of AR with you. 

The Wikitude team 

Snapdragon Spaces is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries. 

Follow Wikitude on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn, and sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest news about augmented reality first hand!


What are Augmented Reality NFTs, and how creators benefit from them?

This year marks the unprecedented rise of the blockchain-powered assets. NFTs are popular among the global creative community as they bring a promise to empower art creators and foster healthy relationships between buyers and sellers.

Many creators tap into augmented reality to make their NFTs even more spectacular. Dive in to explore NFTs and how augmented reality can help digital art creators benefit from this powerful combination.

What is an NFT?

Non-fungible tokens (or NFTs for short) stand for unique digital assets, as unique as the real-world objects they represent. Blockchain technology verifies NFT ownership. Their amount is strictly limited to ensure the digital collectible is one-of-a-kind and thus surge the demand and the price. Unlike most crypto-tokens, NFTs can’t be traded or exchanged for the same token, making them non-fungible.

As the official Ethereum website describes it, non-fungible is an economic term that you could use to describe things like your furniture, certain files, or computer. These items are not interchangeable with other items, because they are unique.

Each token is essentially a code in the blockchain (most likely Ethereum) tied to a particular digital asset and powered by a smart contract.

AR NFT blog

What’s so special about it? Each token has its owner, and the fact of ownership is transparent and easily verified.

Usually, NFTs represent a broad spectrum of digital pieces  – from domain names to GIFs to digital skins for your favorite game character. This year we see the rise of content creators and digital artists turning to NFTs to market their art in a new way.

 Are NFTs just a fad or worth a closer look?

The market of NFT has exploded in 2020, going from 41 million to roughly 338 million US dollars, reports WSJ.

New opportunities drive digital creators from all walks of life into the NFT space. Artists experiment with formats and explore what can be marketed as a digital asset.

As the market matures, it continues to push the boundaries of what creators put out there as NFTs. From the world’s first digital fragrance to digital racehorses or even an original YouTube video that has become a meme for the whole generation (this one was recently auctioned as NFT for $760,999).

What are the pros of NFTs?

It’s not only about potential independent income for creators, who can earn royalties with each sale and resale and benefit from the volatile cryptomarket.

NFTs allow creators to define the scarcity, making digital assets more valuable. The creators decide the quantity, going from the super rare artworks that are specifically minted to be only collectible to multiple replicas of the same creation. Creators can also easily prove the digital piece’s provenanceauthorship, resell it without a dealer and earn resale royalties.

For investors, NFTs bring the confidence that the digital artwork they own is authentic, and the ownership can be easily proved. NFT owners can also freely manipulate and resell the assets they own through NFT marketplaces, potentially earning royalties on the resale.

Augmented reality NFTs: the what, the how and the why

Now, let’s move from the origins of NFTs to the augmented reality for NFTs and explore how these two technologies can work together.

Augmented reality enables creators to provide more depth and context to any digital artwork. Overlaid digital content can be accessed by the user anywhere anytime, projected into the real world through any smart device.

Ever been to a gallery where an artwork resonated so much, you wished you can take it home to admire any time? Now you can own a piece and have it not only readily available but enriched with 3D augmentations, sounds, and other virtual components that communicate with the environment around you.

How can I use AR (Augmented Reality) for NFTs?

At this point, you are probably wondering how can you as a creator get started and if there is any value AR can bring to NFTs.

To answer those questions, we asked the XR creator, consultant, and crypto artist Don Allen Stevenson III and the architectural design studio and research collective iheartblob to share their experience.

Can Augmented Reality add value to NFTs art and if yes, in which way?

Don: I would say yes! AR can add value to NFTs for the very reason that NFT spring value to completely virtual objects. If someone can value a piece of digital artwork, they can truly value the utility that can be provided by an augmented reality asset or experience. I think that one of the easiest ways to fund the augmented reality future is through the use of NFTs, as a way of keeping a virtual receipt and provide ownership in the metaverse.

iheartblob: Digital art has been trying to establish itself within the arts community for years. People still think that it doesn’t have’ value’ if you’re not utilizing physical materials (such as a paintbrush or a canvas). The establishment of digital art is important for other mediums beyond traditional animation or still rendering. Placing a monetary value on the digital, alongside the extension of the digital into the physical has opened a unique prospect for art. 

AR gives 3D designers, architects, and visionaries the opportunity to take their project out of the flattened screen back into the real world which adds completely new complexities of scale, understanding, reflectivity, immersion, and juxtaposition.

Do you think AR use can influence the perception of an NFT art piece?

Don: AR can influence the perception of an NFT art piece because it adds another dimension to it. If the artwork can be appreciated in 2D, I feel like it has even more value and can be appreciated in 3D. If you tied the programming nature of augmented reality you can literally add a fourth dimension, filling up more ways to engage mentally with the artwork.

How Augmented Reality can influence the future of NFT art?

The main way that AR influences the future of NFT is by creating an expectation that there should be another dimension at it and FTEs to create the inherent value that they have.
Don Allen Stevenson III

iheartblob: The future of NFT art will be integrated with all things digital. As the artifacts we interact with within it are often seen as having an infinite supply, some people believe they’re free, cheap, and often worth less than their physical counterparts. The ability to mint and verify the existence of real digital item changes the entire perception of virtual space.

We can imagine a world where we independently or collectively own and govern our virtual overlaid cities through NFTs. AR will work to benefit NFTs as they do for AR, validating virtual space and architecture. 

How to get started with Augmented Reality and NFT?

Don: The best way to get started with AR is to start with tools that are free and available. I highly recommend the free program Blender to learn how to create assets that work in AR. If that’s a bit too scary, start off with a platform like SketchFab and download assets, and start learning how to integrate those into the free AR platforms. There is Spark AR, Lens studio, Adobe AERO, and Reality Composer: each has its pros and cons.  

Next, I’d recommend looking up on YouTube how to prepare assets for video games (as it’s the same pipeline for how to prepare assets for augmented reality). For NFTs, it’s best to start with what is low cost and available. My advice is to start off with a meta-mask account to store virtual currency and then making an account in a marketplace like OpenSea or Rariable.

iheartblob: For us, the simplest way to get involved with NFTs is to get familiar with the crypto Proof-of-Stake ecosystem and the NFT marketplace – we can recommend HICETNUNC. This is a great place for beginners – the minting fee is very low because the marketplace uses the cryptocurrency Tezos rather than Ethereum. 

As for AR, there are a number of simple ways to get involved. We would suggest anyone check out our main tools when creating new MR experiences. We use predominantly Unity3D and Wikitude, especially for Image Tracking and Scene Recognition, which we are incredibly excited about. 

How to use Wikitude’s SDK when creating augmented reality experiences for NFTs? 

iheartblob: Our excitement with Wikitude lies in the ability to harness advanced techniques such as visual positioning systems in the form of Wikitude’s scene recognition. It allows architects and designers to work at a 1:1 scale with our cities and architecture. This combined with NFTs gives the ability to mint 1:1 architectural experiences tied to their location, that become singular or collective experiences for the end-user. 

Did this blog post get you inspired to try Augmented Reality for NFTs? Follow Wikitude on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn, and sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest news about augmented reality first hand!

Dev to Dev

APIs: scaling up AR capabilities

An API (Application Programming Interface) allows applications to communicate. Serving as an access point to an app, API enables users to access a database, request and retrieve information, or even alter data on other applications.

In this article, we get you familiar with the functionality of the Wikitude Studio and explain how you can benefit from using Studio API in your AR app.

Introduction to Wikitude Studio API

Wikitude’s Studio is an easy-to-use, drag and drop, web-based AR content manager. Using Studio, you can easily create two types of targets(image targets (2D items) and object targets (3D items)) to further augment for your JS-based app. On top of that, you can add simple augmentations to test your targets and their position. 

Not sure if the image target quality is good enough? Use the rating indicating the quality of an image target as a guide. Wikitude Studio API also enables conversion of image target collections to cloud archives and their management, making it possible to work with cloud-based recognition instead of on-app recognition. You can create and host your AR projects in Studio and link them directly to your app without exporting and pushing app updates.  

What does the Studio API do? 

Studio API allows you to access all the functionality mentioned above without logging in to Wikitude Studio. You can have your app or system programmatically communicate with the engine behind Wikitude Studio. The keyword here is “programmatically,” meaning the flow enables simplified app development, design, and administration and provides more flexibility. In practical terms, it allows users to quickly scale up and integrate AR capabilities into existing architecture. 

How can Studio API benefit your business: use cases

Now, let’s see some real situations where Studio API can come in handy.

  • Create the project for each of the targets your customers upload in your CMS

Studio API can be integrated into your own CMS, making it easier to maintain collections and content automatically. Say you run a printing photo service and an accompanying app. The end-customer can upload pictures and add digital content associated with that photo: a video, a song, an animation, or GIF. By scanning a printed image with the app, the customer can access an AR experience that enhances a memory or a moment captured on the photo. 

Creating the image targets, assigning augmentations to the targets, and publishing content can be managed programmatically, enabling you to design the user interaction the way you want to. 

Similar functionality could be used by a postcard service, corporate merchandise producers, and other services. 

  • Easily manage image targets and have your app make updates in the background  

When working with fast-changing content, numerous images, and heavy augmentations, we discourage storing your targets and augmentations in the app. Offline recognition will force you to redeploy the app frequently and make the size of the app massive. That’s where Wikitude cloud-based recognition comes to the rescue.

Imagine a publisher (just like issuing analog books and magazines with an extra AR layer. Such a service can have one app giving access to all the AR experiences associated with each printed item. As the new books and magazines are published, the publisher simply programmatically adds fresh digital content to the server, making it available for the users in the app via cloud-based recognition.

Wikitude cloud-based recognition provides an opportunity to work with a target collection containing up to 50,000 images. Otherwise, you are limited to 1,000 target images per active target collection, and only one group can be active at a time. This flow can lead to a longer recognition speed, and the end-user will need to switch manually between collections. The functionality could be extended to many other fields, such as education, tourism, art, and culture.

  • Integrate the AR functionality with already existing architecture and automatically grab data from that closed system 

The Studio API can also be used for 3D items. By having the 3D models and the material file of a machine, a robot, or part of an assembly line, you can use that information and render images of that specific machinery. The Studio engine will automatically process those images via the API to create object targets, while the API will help position augmentations. 

Using such AR experience lets employees detect and precisely localize malfunctions on the production line by grabbing data from other parts of the system, such as live sensors, measurements, and machinery history. The factory can leverage its existing training material or repairment specifications and overlay AR instructions on the machines, reducing the time required to identify and fix issues. 

Wikitude Plugins API 

The Plugins API allows extending the Wikitude SDK by 3rd party functionality. It enables users to implement external tracking algorithms (such as image tracking, instant, and object tracking) to work in conjunction with the Wikitude SDK algorithms. Additionally, you can input camera frame data and sensor data into the Wikitude SDK, which will take care of the processing and rendering. Our compatible plugins are written in C++, Java, or ObjC and can communicate with JavaScript, Native, and Unity plugins. Please note we currently don’t provide support for the extension SDKs like Cordova, Xamarin, Flutter. 

  • Integrate with OCR and code readers 

What else can you achieve? The Plugins API can trigger AR content via QR code and barcode reader or add text recognition. Our client Anyline‘s text recognition API allows apps to read text, gift cards codes, bank slips, numbers, energy meters, and much more. The company’s solutions have been used by Red Bull Mobile, PepsiCo, and The World Food Program.

Anyline barcode reader

  • Build remote assistance app by leveraging Wikitude’s instant tracking  

Typically, our engine is set up to recognize targets in the camera feed. With the Plugins API, you can set specific images as input rather than grab them from the camera feed. Where does that come in handy? That is an implementation-specific for remote support solutions, where one needs to broadcast a user screen to another user. Scope AR used this functionality when launching WorkLink Remote Assistance, their AR remote assistance tool. They required a markerless tracking provider to complement the plugin they created, and we were happy to support it with our technology.

  • Augment the human body 

Another use case that we’ve often encountered is adding face detection, hand detection, or body detection. To use it, you need a library specialized in one of those detection functions and plug Wikitude in it. It will take over the processing and rendering of AR content. Watch our detailed face detection sample to learn more.

Connecting with a face tracking library via the Plugins API is not the only way to create this type of AR experience in combination with Wikitude. Alternatively, you could access Face and Body tracking from ARKit or ARcore via AR Bridge in our Unity Expert Edition SDK.

Wikitude AR Bridge

As you already know, an API (Application Programming Interface) allows applications to communicate with one another. Wikitude’s AR Bridge, part of the Unity Expert Edition SDK, has similar functionality: it provides access to the tracking facilities of other native platforms, e.g., ARKit and ARCore. The AR Bridge enhances Wikitude’s image and object tracking by tapping into external tracking capabilities. There are two options:

  • Internal: this is a direct communication to ARKit and ARCore maintained by Wikitude and, at the moment, it offers basic positional tracking (no plane detection or more advanced tracking); 
  • Plugin: allows an indirect connection to any tracking facility, pre-existing or written by developers.  As an example, we provide integration with Unity’s AR Foundation plugin. 

We provide a ready-made plugin for Unity’s AR Foundation that developers can use immediately. The plugin uses AR Bridge to inform the SDK about tracking. All current and future AR Foundation features work similarly to what we referred to as 3rd party libraries in the Plugins API context.  

However, plugins can be developed by anyone, not just by Wikitude. For example, a company is building glasses with its tracking system and integrating with Wikitude. Since they are not using ARKit or ARCore, the internal AR Bridge won’t be a default. Instead, they can create their plugin and have this custom solution work fast inside our SDK.

Ready to start building today? Access our store to choose your package or contact our team to discuss which license is the best match for your AR project.

Digital agencies

6 Innovative Augmented Reality Product Packaging Use Cases

This article covers six successful augmented reality product packaging campaigns created with the Wikitude AR Software Development Kit.

Augmented reality technology is gradually expanding its outreach by establishing its presence throughout various segments of the market. The product packaging sector, in particular, has been getting a lot of AR traction.

After covering the marketing advantages of augmented reality in packaging, we will now explore six Wikitude AR-powered use cases that brought innovation and excitement to the product packaging industry.

Jack Daniel’s AR Experience

The Jack Daniel’s AR Experience, from the Brown-Forman spirits and wine company, takes consumers on a virtual journey of the Jack Daniel Distillery through a series of pop-up book-style dioramas.

The Jack Daniel Distillery’s AR app offers a virtual tour of the distillery, allowing users to take a closer look at the whiskey-making process, and learn stories about the man himself—Mr. Jack Daniel.

AR app: Jack Daniel’s AR Experience [ Google PlayApp Store ]

Thirty days after the official global Jack Daniel’s AR Experience app launch, 30.000+ iOS and Android users watched over 110,000 ‘Jack Stories’ AR experiences with an average of 5:42 minutes of total session time per user.

Herbal Essences AR Experience

Herbal Essences AR

The haircare brand Herbal Essences wanted to drive more attention and encourage more consumers to make better choices when the products they use reach their end-of-use cycle.

The AR experience digitally displays an interactive beachscape around the bottle while displaying an informative video that speaks of the product and the plastic waste problem.

AR app: Herbal Essences AR Experience [ App Store ]

As the AR experience progresses, users see plastic waste washing up on the augmented shore and are invited to swipe the screen to help clean the oceans.

Mojokaii AR animated booster

Mojokaii AR

Mojokaii premium gaming boosters were created specifically for the gaming community. Tapping into the target audience’s affinity to immersive experiences, the Mojokaii AR companion app gamifies tasting and engages customers to collect all product varieties.

Augmented reality effects were created by an international team of VFX artists. By pointing to the packaging label, gamers dive into an immersive digital narrative, unique for each product variation.

The video on the labels and the visual effects around the product is shown in real-time, allowing customers to look at them from different angles. The Mojokaii app uses Wikitude’s curved marker-based tracking that recognizes label designs and shows unique stories and effects for each product.

Francesco Rinaldi® AR App

Francesco Rinaldi is a pasta sauce company that has been on the market for over 45 years. The company wanted to link tradition with innovation by bringing its brand icon, Mrs. Rinaldi, to life. The AR app enables Mrs. Rinaldi to share her stories of what makes her pasta sauce different from other brands.

After downloading and opening the app, users can use their smartphone camera to scan any of the Francesco Rinaldi pasta sauce jar labels. Depending on the pasta sauce line, Mrs. Rinaldi will magically come to life and deliver a specific message for that particular product. 

Each AR scan has a “Tap for More” button which invites the customer to the Extended Experience. Every click leads users to different landing pages containing more information about the company, packaging design, list of recipes and more.

AR app: Francesco Rinaldi® AR App

The AR experience has increased customer loyalty, brand and product differentiation, customer interaction, and brand recognition.

Ribena “Doodle your World” AR app

Ribena has been in the beverage industry for over 75 years. To bring life and user interaction to their ‘doodle bombing’ inspired campaign, they created the “Doodle your World” app to provide a fun augmented reality experience.

 The concept behind the AR app took its creative inspiration from the pop-culture art movement known as ‘doodle bombing’ and combined it with augmented reality technology. 

App users are encouraged to create their own doodle-bomb videos using the colourful Ribena character animations to share with friends via message and social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. 

The app experience goes on to reward users by unlocking more character animations from the content they create and share, and by purchasing and scanning any one of the limited edition AR ready “Doodle your world” Ribena drink bottles currently in circulation. 

Users can see Ribenary characters come to life on their screens anywhere they are. With the app, Ribena fans can also stream augmented reality videos in real-time, capture these special moments and share the fun with friends and family.

Fruit Bliss Interactive

Fruit Bliss creates wholesome snacks with simple ingredients. The company wanted to have a closer, more personal relationship with its customers and expand communication beyond the physical borders of their product packaging.

Customers use their smart device camera to scan select packages that will then trigger the AR experience.

AR app: Fruit Bliss Interactive [ Google Play ]

The solution was described as an “upgraded email newsletter”. It allows users to unlock augmented content in the form of news, info, social media links, newsletter invites, special offers, and more.

Technology and device capabilities have come a long way since the origins of AR. Today, developers equipped with the right tools have the ability to create various high-performing AR experiences that bring true value, and entertainment to the end-user.

The Wikitude AR SDK has a wide variety of augmented reality features that support can support your product packaging AR campaigns.

For Unity Experts, and due to popular demand, Wikitude is introducing AR capabilities for cylinder targets.

Wikitude Cylinder Tracking for Unity

Cylinder Tracking is the ideal AR feature for augmenting cylindrical-shaped drink cans, wine bottles, longnecks, aluminum tin cans, cosmetic bottles, and other tubular-shaped product containers.

Wikitude Cylinder Tracking technology covers a wide variety of cylindrical targets and label shapes. Unity developers can create campaigns that overlay cylinder targets with interactive digital augmentations such as videos, images, 3D models, audio, buttons, and more.

Interested in giving Wikitude Cylinder Tracking a try?

Want to enhance your product package with AR technology features? Access our store to choose your license or contact our team to discuss your specific AR requirements.

Dev to Dev

How to apply UX design principles in augmented reality

If you are a UX/UI designer who builds user experiences in digital environments, chances are you will be working with augmented reality sooner than you think. As AR applications rapidly break into the mainstream, making the user feel in control of a product becomes even more critical in user experience design.

This article breaks down the role that user experience design principles play in augmented reality application development, with a specific focus on UI design.

The article is based on a presentation by our senior software engineer, Gökhan Özdemir, for the “UX for AR” webinar. Watch the full recording here.

What is UX design for augmented reality? 

User Experience Design, or UX, is the process of designing a product that considers the needs of the users and makes the user flow as seamless and intuitive as possible. Good UX always starts with putting the user at the center of the design process. It also relies on the principles of human psychology and empathy.

Now, what about UX for AR?  In augmented reality apps, success means offering a great user experience through a seamless blend of hardware and software. 

Augmented reality experiences are overlaid on the real environment, so the user experience is spatial and highly contextual. It makes designing UX for AR more challenging as designers need to think through spatial experiences. Getting it wrong can mean users have a less than stellar experience – and no one wants that. 

Getting started

User design can be tricky. Designing for a new technology that is only getting traction? Even trickier! Let’s explore the role of user experience (UX) design in AR applications — how to think through your user experience as a designer and navigate the technical decisions when creating an AR app. 

You will learn how to create a compelling user experience for your AR application that considers the physical space and natural human interaction. 

Five pillars of UX design for augmented reality

Users prefer to interact with elements of an interface discreetly, not to be reminded of what the interface contains. This is different from the traditional user experience (UX) associated with conventional websites and mail applications. The UX for augmented reality (also known as 3D user interface) concept emphasizes interaction and visual interest above all else. Users are interested in entering the virtual space and are not distracted by surroundings that are not real.

Our five common UX design pillars for AR will help you define the considerations you’ll need to make when designing your UI and experiences for virtual objects.

Kick-off your design process by considering these criteria:

  • Environment
  • Movement
  • Onboarding
  • Interaction
  • UI (User Interface)

While it’s crucial to consider the first two pillars (environment and movement) designing for AR, the last three (onboarding, interaction, and UI) are equally crucial for both 3D and traditional 2D screen space UI.  


As augmented reality experiences are spatial and always interconnected with the real world, the environment plays a key role in the design process. The environment can be broken down into four most common categories of space, defined by the distance from the user.

Image source: Wikipedia

Examples of AR in the intimate space include face filters (like Snapchat or Instagram), hand tracking, or hand augmentations if you use a head-mounted AR display. 

Moving to personal space, augmented reality experiences might feature real objects, people, or the area around you. Featured in the video below, you can see a learning-focused AR experience that uses educational models to animate the chemistry concepts through an interactive digital layer.

AR experience in personal space

Another example of using augmented reality in personal space is popular table-top and card games and augmented packaging. Think augmented pizza boxes or collectible cards with augmented characters that interact with each other.

Next up is the social space. If you pan the camera further away, you will target the area that can be occupied by other people, unlike in a personal space where you have more privacy. This space segment is widely used for multiplayer AR games or augmenting objects on a scale, from the furniture to monuments and buildings.

In many cases, AR experiences in public space are anchored to specific locations with enough area to place an augmentation or sites that should be tracked in AR. The mumok AR experience in Vienna is a perfect example of the AR in public space where the entire building is tracked, using the Wikitude Scene Tracking feature.

mumok AR


The success of any new product or service directly depends on how well it integrates with today’s users’ minds — both physically and psychologically. Movement makes the next UX design pillar. When you design the experience, you want to use the area around the user most of the time.

As smartphones and head-worn devices give a limited view into the environment, the designer’s primary task is to guide the user. By including the navigation elements on the screen, you will be steering the user’s gaze, helping them get around and move along the experience. 

While you are visually guiding the user, it’s essential to keep in mind not to dictate to go in specific directions. This might lead to unwanted hiccups in the experience or even cause accidents. 


The next pillar we are going to explore is the user onboarding. Creating user-friendly and engaging augmented reality experiences can be a challenge. It’s not enough to just put some markers around your location or overlay some information on top of an image. You need to understand what the user is looking at and how they are using it. When creating the AR experiences, keep in mind that the most important thing for your users is not accuracy but usability. 

Another factor to consider is that different devices have various technical limitations in supporting AR features. Markerless AR, for instance, would require the user to move the device around, so that computer vision algorithms could detect different feature points across multiple poses to calculate surfaces.

The scanning process takes no time for newer devices with an in-built LiDAR sensor (like iPad Pro). But for other devices, your users might appreciate a comprehensive onboarding UI. The pop-up menu or instructions should guide the user on the following steps to successfully launch and run an AR experience.

To launch a tracking algorithm, you might want to use a sketched silhouette of the desired object to provide a clue on the shape and pose to prompt the user to align the view with the real object. Read more about the Alignment Initializer feature in our documentation.

Alignment initialization

Taking the onboarding offline, sometimes the physical methods like signage are used to communicate about the AR app, provide a QR code for quick download and mark the exact standpoint for an optimal experience. 


Once the AR experience is launched, we are transitioning to another UX design staple – interaction. During this phase, your user will benefit from the intuitive and responsive interaction. When designing for touch, you are most likely be using these most common gestures and prompts: 

  • Tap to select
  • Drag starting from the center of the object to translate
  • Drag starting from edge of the object to rotate
  • Pinch to scale

Responsive interaction means taking into account the distance from the desired objects to the camera, which will define how easy or difficult it is for the user to interact with it. To facilitate the interaction with farther placed objects, consider increasing the sphere’s bounding box to make it less dependent on the distance to the camera.

Minimizing input via finger might also be a good idea, especially when designing for tablet users. As most of the tablets are held with two hands, some UI or interaction elements placed in the middle of the screen will be very hard to interact with. Instead, use gaze input like triggering intro, interactions, or buttons in the augmented space by looking at them long enough. You might know this from VR where you don’t have any controllers and experiences are mostly driven by gaze. 

Consider using accessibility features, especially if you are designing for a broader audience. This way, you let the user rotate or reset the position of an augmentation instead of walking around it.

UI (User Interface)

The final principle we want to highlight is UI, which consists of augmented and traditional screen space. Depending on the use case, you will be using them interchangeably. While UI in the augmented space boosts immersion as the user perceives it as part of the experience, screen space UI is sometimes easier to read and interact. 

Designing with humans in mind

AR can improve people’s lives simply by allowing them to experience something that wasn’t possible before. Applying UX principles to AR can help designers create experiences that are clear, integrate easily into daily life, and create powerful emotional responses.

The guidelines we’ve shared aren’t magic bullets, but they do place fundamental guidance around where designers should be focusing their attention when crafting an experience for a user of any age.

What is your take on using UX principles when designing AR experiences? Let us know via social media (TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn) and tag @wikitude to join the conversation.

3d Dev to Dev

Creating 3D content for augmented reality

Content is constantly changing. Designed for TVs and devices in the early 2000s, it now transcends the 2D realm and comes to the world around. 3D augmented reality content needs to be as immersive as VR advocates ever dreamed, minus the isolation from the outside world.

The more AR becomes part of our lives, the higher the need for content to adapt to the 3D world. It means the content needs to be realistic, spatial, and engaging. And while there are thousands of apps online, most companies are still figuring out what compelling content looks like in AR.

In this post, we’re diving into the role of content in ​​augmented reality, the challenges the industry faces, and the future of spatial content. 

Augmented reality content basics

Augmented reality content is the computer-generated input used to enhance parts of users’ physical world through mobile, tablet, or smart glasses. It can be user-generated (think of social media face filters) or professionally produced by designers working for brands and specialized agencies. 

AR content often comes as 3D models but can also come in visual, video, or audio format.

Whether you are using AR to buy a new IKEA sofa or play a game, the quality of the content you see in the app will make (or break) the AR experience.

Image source: IKEA

The role of 3D content in augmented reality experiences

Among the thousands of AR apps in the market today, the most successful ones have one thing in common: high-quality, engaging AR content. Fail to deliver that, and your project will risk joining the astonishing 99.9% of apps that flop or become irrelevant in the app stores

Content is the heart of ​​augmented reality. It ensures users have a reason to keep coming back. 

Users might be thrilled to scan an augmented wine bottle a few times and share the experience with friends. But how many times can we expect them to go back and watch the same video? 

Companies must see AR content as a critical component of long-term, well-thought-through digital strategies to ensure app longevity. It means constantly delivering fresh, contextual, and personalized content. 

Easier said than done. From high production costs to a scarcity of skilled professionals, building AR content at scale is one of the biggest challenges companies face that blocks them from keeping the apps relevant in the long run.

Challenges of building 3D content for augmented reality

3D models need to create perfect digital twins of the real world. Combined with other rendering elements (e.g. animation, audio, and physics), they make for AR’s most used type of content and provide an additional immersive layer for the user experience. 

What the user doesn’t see is the relatively complex process of creating such realistic visual assets. Their production can go from a detailed manual process and re-using computer-aided data to a photogrammetry-based creation process.

Size limits, file formats, and the total size of the application are just some of the plenty requirements developers need to understand to build great AR experiences. In addition, a lack of industry standards for AR content and a limited qualified workforce imposes significant industry challenges.

Building 3D assets: 3D model versus 3D scanning

Before we jump into the technicalities of creating content for AR, there are some basic concepts we need to clarify.

3D modeling x 3D scanning

3D modeling and 3D scanning are two ways of building 3D assets for augmented reality. 

3D modeling uses computer graphics to create a 3D representation of any object or surface. This technology is beneficial when used to recreate physical objects because “it does not require physical contact with the object since everything is done by the computer” (Skywell Software). Therefore, 3D modeling becomes ideal for creating virtual objects, scenes, and characters that don’t exist in the real world (think of Pokémons and other fantasy AR games).

3D scanning uses real-world objects and scenes as a base for the production of AR assets. Using this method, the content creators don’t craft the model from scratch using a program. Instead, they scan the object using one of two different methods: photogrammetry or scanning through a 3D scanner device (LiDAR or similar). 

GIF source:

The main difference between the two is how they capture the data of the object. While photogrammetry uses images captured by regular smartphones, smart glasses, or tablets, scanning requires special devices equipped with depth sensors to map the object. 

It makes photogrammetry more accessible to the broader developer crowd when creating AR content, as no special equipment is required. On the flip side, 3D scanners are more reliable. 

Using either of two approaches, a point cloud can be extracted, which can be applied in the AR experience.  You can read more on the advantages of each method in the section 3D point cloud below. 

Ultimately, you can decide between using 3D modeling or 3D scanning by assessing the accessibility to the physical object to scan. If the selected AR object target is not available, then 3D modeling is the way to go. 

How is 3D content created for augmented reality?

There are plenty of AR content creation tools available on the market. Some are easy drag-and-drop that don’t require coding skills. Others are much more complex, and target experienced professionals.

Here’s an overview of the different possibilities:

Image source: DevTeam.Space

3D point cloud: In AR, a point cloud is a virtual representation of the geometry of real-world objects using a collection of points. Generated via photogrammetry software or 3D scanners, these points are captured based on the external surfaces of objects.

Because photogrammetry allows gathering 3D information out of 2D images, this method makes content creation more accessible. It overcomes ownership issues often faced with 3D models. As a result, anyone can create 3D models by simply recording or scanning the real object. 3D scanners (for example, LidAR-enabled devices) gradually become more available in the market and provide more detailed point clouds thanks to depth sensors.

Commercial tools such as Wikitude Studio, Apple Object Capture, and Amazon Sumerian are examples of photogrammetry-based programs.

AR Object Target Transformation in Wikitude Studio Editor

CAD (Computer-Aided Design): CAD models are commonly the first step to prototyping physical goods, bringing a first product view to life in the digital world. Assisted by software applications, AR developers can repurpose legacy CAD models for augmented reality-based solutions. Existing CAD data can then be used as the input method to create digital representations of the object or environment to be augmented.

Once uploaded into the selected program, CAD data is converted to an AR-compatible format in phones, tablets, and smart glasses. CAD models typically provide accurate information about the object, maximizing the potential for a reliable AR experience. Albeit being prevalent in the industrial sector, CAD-based AR experiences are progressively gaining popularity for consumer-facing apps.

Games, computer graphics: authoring software tools such as Blender, 3ds Max, and Maya are popular 3D design applications used by AR content creators. Unity, Unreal Engine, and even Apple’s Reality Composer are great tools to assemble the pieces of content and make them work together for augmented reality.

Other 3D models: beyond CAD, other popular 3D model formats can be leveraged to power augmented reality solutions, for example, glTF 2.0, FBX, Obj, etc. Compatible file formats will depend on the program used to build augmented reality. 

On the one hand, this wide variety of 3D assets formats has opened the doors to creators of many areas to put their existing models to work for AR. On the other hand, it creates confusion among developers, increasing the debate around the need for standardization in the AR industry and the creation of alternative tools that are intuitive and code-free.

What’s next for AR content creation?

With increased interest in augmented reality, we will see more tools emerging that help to create content, overcome workforce scarcity and deliver actual value through the technology. 

To facilitate content creation, AR companies invest in building platforms that don’t require technical skills (therefore closing the workforce gaps) to help brands optimize the AR content creation process. 

An example is Apple’s latest release: Reality Kit 2. This new framework includes a much-awaited Object Capture feature that allows developers to snap photos of real-world objects and create 3D models using photogrammetry. 

But if Apple’s announcement gives you déjà vu, you are not wrong. Last year, the AR media went crazy about an app that lets you copy and paste the real world with your phone using augmented reality.  

The topic of interoperability of experiences across platforms and devices is equally important. The ability to code an AR app once and deploy it in several devices and operating systems helps companies bring their projects to market as fast as possible.

The final and most crucial aspect is understanding how 3D content in augmented reality can deliver value to its users. That means getting clear goals for the AR project, understanding how it fits into your digital strategy, and having a deep knowledge of your customer. 

What are some of the trends you see in AR content creation? Let us know via social media (TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn) and tag @wikitude to join the conversation.

Toys & Games

Why digital natives choose augmented reality and your toy brand should too

A full year of the COVID crisis has proved that the toy industry is one of the most resilient. While sales skyrocket and the customer base extends to include adults seeking refuge in play, toy brands have to stay ahead of the game. Augmented reality helps to future-proof toys for the digital natives’ generation.

Nowadays, the driving force behind toy sales bonanza is preschool to teenage kids. This digital natives cohort was born into the era of technology and social networks.

The new generation’s digital affinity and other traits impact their shopping choices. To meet the next generation of consumers, toy brands should watch those traits.

Inside the digital natives’ minds

Digital natives switch between the digital and physical worlds. The new kids are more tech-savvy and aware of the latest trends than their parents. According to Ofcom, half of the 10 year-olds now own their smartphone. By the time kids get ready for secondary school, the smartphone ownership doubles. This milestone marks kids’ digital independence. 

Modern kids feel the influence from friends, family, and external sources (e.g. social media). Sure, peer sharing still stays a go-to way to learn about new toys and trends. But digital natives kids also binge-watch YouTube influencers unpacking videos. Often it happens months before those toys land on the shop shelves.

By the time family toy shopping happens, the kids (as young as toddlers) will know precisely what they want to get.

Embracing digital

After smartphones and tablets, new kids expect toys to include digital components. Companion apps bridge hands-on play with their favorite digital universe. Thus, the play experience can go beyond the living room and be shared with friends.

What does it mean for toy brands? They need to adapt to young audiences’ shifting interests. One tactic is to add a digital layer to product functionality. Brands can use new channels to collect insights about play behavior to understand their audience better.

CEOs of the household

New kids’ savviness doesn’t stop at using technology. Surprisingly, Generation Alpha kids have an increasing influence over the household buying decisions. According to the Insights People, kids are becoming the CEOs of the household. 

Well-informed about emerging trends, digital natives influence their parents’ consumer habits. Since the COVID crisis has boosted family time, toy brands worldwide have noticed a sales spike.

This trend is likely to persist even after the pandemic, along with children having more say in the household shopping. 

AR embodies the new type of play

Many toy brands strategically invest resources to future-proof the products with digital solutions. The efforts don’t stop at improving the e-commerce experience or producing high-quality content.

Recently LEGO reported the operating profit rising by 19% to £1.5bn in 2020. The growth is mostly due to the investment in bridging physical and digital play. “Children are digital natives – they don’t care whether they play physically or digitally,” says Niels B Christiansen, Lego’s chief executive.

Like Pokémon Go, LEGO has strategically invested in an AR toy line and now reaps the benefits from the increased interest of digital natives.

How AR solutions bridge tech-minded generations and toy brands?

Generation Alpha kids grow along with smart devices and technology. As a result, these kids will likely have higher expectations of toys. Augmented reality acts as an imaginative layer for kids. Moreover, this technology unlocks fantasy and gives physical toys superpowers that go beyond the hands-on play.

Various toy categories can benefit from the augmented reality layer. It not only extends IRL (in real life) fun and catches youngsters’ interest. Augmented reality helps to win the age groups that are about to switch to the digital and forgo classic toys for the lack of interactivity. 

Augmented reality is a new way to:

  • – broadcast immersive digital content

  • – enable social sharing and multiplayer experience

  • – unlock new collecting possibilities

  • Lastly, toy marketers and product developers can use AR to get insights into the dwell time and play behavior. What’s more, augmented reality solutions for toys are easy to customize. It’s also easy to use AR without disrupting the whole production cycle.

    Toy brands are using augmented reality solutions to make their products ready for the digital natives. Interested to learn more?

    Talk to our experts & start today

    Read more about Wikitude’s augmented reality solutions for toy companies:

    Toys & Games

    Augmented play: how to pitch AR to the toy industry

    The toy industry is all about connecting the imaginative world with physical objects. Now, augmented reality opens endless opportunities to make users experience play in new ways.

    With technologies penetrating every sector of manufacturing and customers’ interest steadily leaning towards digital, the toy industry is the one at the forefront of changes. For digital agencies that cater to toy manufacturers, AR offers an indispensable opportunity to bridge tangible and virtual elements, providing the end-users with a new dimension to play.

    In this post, we’ll take a closer look at how toymakers could benefit from using augmented reality products.

    The shift in audience

    Purchasing power worldwide has been rapidly transitioning to millennials. According to Accenture research, this population segment is projected to spend $1.4 trillion on shopping each year by 2020. The same cohort belongs to the so-called digital-natives generation. When asked what technologies they expect to see in everyday life, they claim AR to be one of them. With the oldest of the millennial generation being in their early 40s, they represent the majority of toy companies’ customers.

    The toy end users are the children belonging to Generation Z or, the youngest so far, Gen Alpha. These kids grow along with technology, which penetrates all aspects of their life. No wonder they naturally gravitate towards brands that stay on top of emerging technologies.

    Now, the reasoning behind customer purchasing behaviour is clear. Let’s explore what crucial improvements AR solutions bring to the toy industry.

    Staying relevant

    As the demand in technology grows, toy industry giants embrace digital elements (AR specifically) to enhance their product lines. For example, LEGO Hidden Side playsets provide building bricks with a complimentary interactive augmented reality. The app serves to deepen the game experience, turning users into real ghostbusters. Using the mobile device, gamers scan the play scene to find hidden creatures and interact with other players.

    Image source: LEGO

    LEGO is not the only toy company exploring the augmented reality niche. A few years ago Hasbro excited their fans by introducing a movie-inspired, 1:1 scale Iron Man mask that featured AR technology. By downloading the Hero Vision app and using AR goggles and markers, players have the opportunity to take pretend play to a whole new level.

    Adding value

    A cutting edge technology such as AR not only adds a new dimension to the gamers’ experience. It is also a proven way to revive the classical formats that might lose their appeal with time. Let’s take a look at a board game genre.

    The all-time favorite Hedbanz by Spin Master got a complete facelift by using Wikitude’s Image Tracking technology. The popular mask feature (well known by social media filters) is used here to add an interactive digital element. A toy industry legend, Mattel company, introduced a new spin to the popular hit – Pictionary Air. In this game, players can literally draw the words in the air by using a smart device and an app with an AR feature.

    Expanding product features

    Toymakers always rely on storytelling and the power of imaginative play as an immense resource that enhances any product. Yet, the human brain is designed in a specific way making visual information better perceived than anything written or spoken. Augmented reality allows to create life-like elements that add to the storyline and engage players deeply.

    Video source: Virtuali-Tee

    These 2D and 3D computer-generated projections complement the real-world game set, without overtaking the user’s attention. The same goes to learning by doing. By interacting with physical and digital elements of the toy, children improve their sensory skills and learn how to handle simulated reality.

    AR game features make parents commit to buying more easily as they see the added value in the tech element. At the same time, young users maintain a healthy playing habit, engaging with the real world and growing less dependent on the screen.

    Bridging sensorial and digital brand experience

    New technologies like Object Tracking and Instant Tracking make toy concepts more engaging and accessible.

    Thus, with extra investment in AR features, toymakers can achieve double as much retention for the same price. Game experiences with physical products can be easily leveraged to boost the player’s creativity and brand loyalty.

    Revamping marketing campaigns

    Existing within a pressing seasonal agenda, toy brands can benefit from including AR features into their marketing activities. Through product development to marketing strategy and ad campaigns, augmented reality solutions are highly customizable – meaning they could be tailored even to very specific needs and audiences.

    What’s more to it? AR can be used in every format: from remarkable product launches to in-store activations, brand awareness campaigns and creating viral content. To help your clients understand its value, we advise showing the direct relation to revenue and ROI.

    You are now one step closer to explaining to toy industry clients why AR is the next big thing they need to consider. Do you have questions or need advice?

    Contact us to get started

    Read more about Wikitude AR solutions for toy companies:

    For more practical advice: 5 tips how to pitch AR for your next project

    SDK releases

    Augmented Reality SDK for Microsoft HoloLens

    Expand the capability of HoloLens with the Wikitude AR SDK: attach digital AR content to images, objects, barcodes, QR codes, and personalized targets with fast, scalable and reliable AR recognition solutions.

    More and more industries are investing in mixed reality headset devices to optimize their operational efficiency.

    With this in mind, Wikitude has optimized its augmented reality SDK to support and complement one of the leading mixed reality headset devices on the market: Microsoft HoloLens 1.

    Microsoft HoloLens

    Microsoft HoloLens is an immersive, ergonomic, instinctual, and untethered mixed reality headset device that enables valuable hands-free industry-leading solutions.

    An essential part of what makes said solutions efficient, flexible and personalizable is augmented reality technology.

    That is why the Microsoft HoloLens 1 mixed reality device offers out-of-the-box augmented reality functionality:

    Native AR Functionality in Microsoft HoloLens 1

    • Positional Tracking/Instant Tracking
    • Scene Reconstruction/Plane Detection
    • Cloud/Persistent Anchors
    • Stereoscopic Rendering
    • Calibration

    As valuable as these out-of-the-box HoloLens AR functions are, they do not cover a broad spectrum of augmented reality solutions and do not enable image or object recognition and tracking. That is where the Wikitude SDK steps in.

    Wikitude AR SDK for HoloLens

    Get More Out of HoloLens

    The Wikitude AR SDK has been optimized to support and complement HoloLens 1 by enabling developers to implement additional augmented reality features into their projects.

    Wikitude Augmented Reality Functionality on Hololens 1

    • Image/Multiple Image Recognition
      Attach digital content to images and any trackable 2D surface
    • Object Recognition
      Attach digital content to physical Objects
    • Cloud Recognition
      Fast, scalable and reliable online recognition solution for big projects
    • Plugins API (Barcode and QR code samples)
      Attach digital content to basically anything with personalized targets

    This means, when working with the Wikitude AR SDK for HoloLens, industries can go beyond and attach digital AR content to images, objects, barcodes, QR codes, and personalized targets.

    Image Recognition – Wikitude SDK for HoloLens 1
    Multiple Targets – Image Recognition – Wikitude SDK for HoloLens 1
    Object Recognition – Wikitude SDK for HoloLens 1

    Wikitude AR + HoloLens = Personalized Workforce Solutions

    Incorporate Wikitude AR technology in HoloLens to optimize: training, quality management, communication, assembly, maintenance, repair, safety, inspections, communication, product identification, and more.

    With applications ranging from digitally augmented step-by-step instruction guides to compliance checklists, to product identification, to instant collaboration, many are the proven benefits of hands-free AR:

    • Reduce: human errors, execution time, breakdowns, downtime, cost
    • Increase: productivity, operation speed, fix rates, compliance, profit

    Reliable Augmented Reality

    When implementing and investing in projects of this nature, it is essential to choose and work with partners you can trust. Wikitude has not only been developing and providing augmented reality technology since 2008 but has proudly become the world’s leading independent AR platform provider along the way.

    Download Wikitude SDK for HoloLens 1: Release Candidate

    Sample Application – Wikitude SDK for HoloLens 1

    The Wikitude augmented reality software development kit for Microsoft HoloLens 1 is Unity based, comes with a Holographic UI sample app, and is now available!

    Access our HoloLens documentation section to start your first steps with the Wikitude SDK all the way through to advanced concepts and examples for developing your augmented reality project.

    Put your HoloLens 1 project into action with the Wikitude AR SDK and work with the reliable augmented reality technology you need to create hands-free AR solutions tailored to your business objectives.

    Digital agencies

    5 Reasons Why Museums Are Using AR Technology

    We invited a specialized digital agency, and Premium Partner, to share some of the main reasons why they invest in and continue to work with AR technology when creating museum applications. Enjoy the read!

    Guest post by premium partner Wezit Transmedia Solutions

    It is no secret that more and more institutions are using alternative marketing tools and technologies, such as augmented reality (AR), to adapt to, connect to and perhaps even to captivate audiences. Fact is, the new generation is consuming information differently, so to create a personal and intimate connection there has to be a ‘wow’ effect.

    As a digital agency, Wezit has been purposefully using augmented reality to help several museums effectively get their messages across. In this post, we will share the main reasons why museums, heritage sites, and many other cultural institutions are adopting and incorporating AR technology into their offerings.

    The 5 main reasons why museums are (or should be!) using AR technology

    1) AR is engaging

    Good stories blended with good AR experiences make knowledge reach out to more audiences. When exciting facts are displayed with AR, users become more connected and thus more interested in learning, informally, about themes and sub-themes.

    AR is enticing the new generation to actively participate in the learning process. By scanning targets and locations, museum visitors can better understand complex relations and processes, reconstruct the past, visualize the future, interact with augmentations and share the experience and knowledge along the way.

    Museums can include many different types of AR features into their projects, depending on what the institution has envisioned for a specific tour, exhibition or topic. And the augmented content itself can flexibly be presented in the form of video, 3D augmentations, audio, text and more.

    2) AR brings artifacts to life

    Museums typically tend to present static exhibitions. And this is quite understandable since one of their primary purposes, apart from spreading knowledge, is to preserve and protect their valuable pieces. AR has the ability to change this motionless characteristic.

    By adding and layering digital augmentations over a point of interest,  museums can provide rich and detailed access to artwork and artifacts. With AR features, museums can bring life to works of art, science concepts, architectural details, and other elements we take for granted, by revealing it in a different and expanded perspective. This not only helps to describe the object in question but also responds to the story behind an era, a style, an influence, allowing users to really intensify their discovery.  

    3) AR is fun and interactive

    Many museums attract families and young visitors by adding a little fun and play to their exhibits. This is an effective win-win tactic, and AR gaming is the new way to do so. By integrating some playful AR elements into family-oriented games, families can play and learn together around a city, a garden, a museum or other locations.

    Think Pokémon Go adapted to museum purposes. With the right AR app, museum visitors, both young and new, can engage in interactive and rewarding exploration missions together, learning, sharing and having lots of fun along the way.  In short, adding a little AR is an easy way to capture an entire family.

    4) AR is readily available and easily accessible

    AR experiences can run on most existing smart devices and do not require extra equipment to work. Those not living under a rock, most likely know how common such devices are in practically everyone’s modern daily lives. This means that even though AR may not yet be as widely known as virtual reality (VR), for example, it has the potential to become a much more used, and much more world-changing technology.

    Additionally, since AR can more naturally be added into daily life scenarios, many studies predict that augmented reality has the potential to change many aspects involved in cultural site visitation. Forward-thinking museums know this and are already taking action by adding AR technology to their exhibitions.

    5) AR gives visitors an extra reason to visit – and revisit

    Let’s face it, if museums want their audiences to come back, they have to give a good reason for them to do so. Since AR can be combined with other technologies, museums are increasingly using it to refresh outdated exhibitions.

    By adding a digital layer of fresh interactive content on top of the existing physical display, museums can offer their visitors a modern and attractive reason to visit and revisit their compounds.

    With AR, you can transform your museum or cultural institution exhibition, no matter the field of study or size, into a memorable experience that will stay in the mind of the visitor – in the form of digital and non-digital treasures!

    Have something to share? A question or inquiry? Talk to us… we love to chat!