Aside from gaming, augmented reality (AR) tools and virtual reality (VR) tools are employed in several industries, and they have many beneficial applications. In today’s article, we will outline some of the most useful open-source platforms for AR and VR that can help developers and non-developers implement these technologies.
Without wasting any more time, let’s move ahead and learn in detail about AR and VR technologies as well as a few relevant platforms that are free and open-source.
What Is Augmented Reality?
A wide variety of industries, including healthcare, education, entertainment, and technology, are transforming because of augmented reality tools. The demand for a quality AR experience on smartphones and other smart devices is consistently increasing. It is now very hard to find any person who hasn’t heard about AR tools in the present digital world.
Brands are employing augmented reality tools in their business models to offer an advanced user experience to their customers. Augmented reality tools are often used by companies to generate product demos and collaborative advertising. Customers can also use AR technology to get real-time information about a business.
To put it exactly, AR assists in creating computer-generated items to seamlessly blend the virtual world with the real world. As I said, it has a broad range of applications from healthcare to aviation to gaming. Augmented reality technology mostly includes digital visuals or audio content that appear in the customer’s real-world environment.
Identifying Features of Augmented Reality Tools
Augmented reality tools typically include the following critical features:
Drag-and-drop: The end user can choose a virtual object by controlling it and then dragging it to another location.
Editing: One can edit the 3D model that has been uploaded on the platform. One can enter any additional details if required. One can also scale the images and adjust the colors.
Real-world backdrop: AR software can layer images, texts, and other 3D objects on a real-world background.
Hardware integration: AR software should integrate with common devices and function smoothly. This will help in providing a seamless AR experience to the user. This includes glasses, tablets, and smartphones.
Content creation: Augmented reality tools allow daily users to generate their own AR content and experiences.
Upload content: Users can upload 3D content for any relevant purpose via augmented reality tools and products.
Programmers can generate AR apps with the help of an SDK (software development kit) which ought to have the ability to build these necessary features.
What Is Virtual Reality?
Virtual reality is trendy these days in the gaming industry, simulation, and education sectors. We can say that virtual reality tools are computer-generated simulated worlds. Virtual reality encourages 3D motion graphics that look realistic from the end user’s perspective.
VR generally uses an HMD (head-mounted display), which is a helmet-sized device that has compact display optics directly in front of both eyes. Virtual reality technology is still in its initial developmental stages. In order to experience virtual reality, users must wear various virtual reality tools or devices on themselves.
Identifying Features of Virtual Reality Tools
Virtual reality tools or systems must have the following key characteristics to make the overall VR experience more realistic. The stronger these characteristics are, the more compelling the user experience will become.
Realistic virtual world: The virtual world should be believable. This is the key characteristic of VR. The virtual world here is a computer-generated 3D virtual environment where real-world rules and physics are applied.
Immersive: Virtual reality tools need to involve customers’ senses to make sure that the customer believes that they are present physically in the virtual world.
Feedback: Incorporating user feedback is a key characteristic of virtual reality tools. It helps in making the overall virtual experience more realistic.
Interactive: A virtual world should be very responsive in real time to make the overall experience more and more logical.
What the Stats Have to Say for AR and VR Platforms
According to the latest Statista reports, AR and VR markets are estimated to reach a global total of $72.8 billion by 2024. Seeing the rapid growth of the AR and VR industries, developers and non-developers alike are exploiting some of the most popular AR and VR platforms, tools, and SDKs to generate exciting AR and VR applications and user experiences.
Virtual reality and augmented reality complementing each other as they improve people’s perceptions of their surroundings by integrating technology that looks natural.
Open-Source Platforms for AR and VR
ARToolKit+ is an open-source and free software that helps solve the fundamental problems in AR and VR. It offers impressive results to users, and it is seen as a scalable AR and VR solution to solve real-world issues.
Some of its core functionalities are modular open-source code, smart glasses, Android and iOS support, content creation, simulation, virtual reality integration, and much more.
Holokit is one of the most popular open-source augmented reality tools and virtual reality tools for mobile devices. The tool incorporates a HeadKit cardboard headset and TrackKit software. Holokit gives access to the world of mixed reality by utilizing mixed-reality apps and smartphones.
Some of the key functionalities of Holokit are virtual reality integration, superimposed objects, real-world backdrop, content creation, 3D objects, and merging the real with the virtual.
If you want the best free AR and VR platform, then you should try BRIO. This platform supports ray tracing. There are a bunch of materials and textures in the BRIO library that the developer can use for their models, and it is easy to share the BRIO screen online.
The key functionalities of the BRIO platforms are a drag-and-drop interface, virtual reality integration, 3D objects, content creation, cross-device publishing, content library, real-world backdrop, superimposed objects, and simulation.
4. Adobe Aero
Adobe Aero is also a free AR and VR tool that lets you view, build, and share captivating and interactive AR experiences. It does not require complex coding and can smoothly blur the lines between the physical and digital worlds. The software provides appealing AR experiences faster.
The key functionalities of Adobe Aero for AR and VR are content creation, content library, simulation, drag-and-drop, add interactive features, cross-device publishing, and virtual reality integration.
5. Vuforia Engine
The Vuforia engine is another free AR and VR open-source platform that can be used by companies of all sizes to generate strong outcomes. Among all the top platforms, the Vuforia Engine helps AR gadgets reach the widest audience.
The key advantages of the Vuforia Engine are unparalleled accuracy, simulation, virtual reality integration, 3D objects, content creation, content library, real-world backdrop, creative opportunity, superimposed objects, advanced vision, tracking, and analytics, and much more.
A-Frame is an open-source AR and VR platform with a WebGL framework for creating a lavish VR and AR experience. A-Frame is recognized as a top WebGL framework, and it is also the endorsed library in the Mozilla Mixed Reality Project.
A-Frame is a good virtual reality tool, and it works smoothly on some mixed reality gear like the Vive, Rift, Daydream, and GearVR, plus it performs smoothly on desktop. Benefits of A-Frame include the fact that it works well for both VR and AR, works on mobile, and operates on many VR platforms.
ApertusVR is an open-source, modular, distributed AR and VR library. It is written in C++, and it offers good performance on normal or advanced hardware specifications. It is platform-independent, easy to use, and easy to configure.
ApertusVR has plugins for many virtual reality devices like HTC Vive, Oculus DK2, and CAVE systems. ApertusVR supports AR and VR modules, and it supports many VR fringe and control devices.
Core Application Sectors in AR and VR
AR and VR are frequently used in education, e-governance, the corporate sector, and many other domains. The availability of open-source tools broadens the applications even further. Some of its popular domains are as follows:
Assembly/disassembly of engines
Replica of blood circulation in the heart
Replica of space stations
Myths Related To AR and VR
There are still lots of myths linked to AR and VR. Some quite famous among them are:
Need for huge resources and expensive hardware
Need for specialized processors
Need for specialized graphic cards
Integration of GPU/TPU
Need for a high-performance framework
But none of the above points are true. AR and VR can be built using minimal resources with limited infrastructure and hardware, as these open-source options help demonstrate.
AR and VR offer a multisensory experience. Real-world objects are being enriched with computer-generated visual, haptic, somatosensory, and olfactory information. Researchers and developers can use open-source platforms for AR and VR to create an interface between real-time experience and remote infrastructure.
We have tried to highlight above some high-level free and open-source AR and VR platforms.