March 19, 2018

Real World awareness in AR

Real world awareness in AR – now possible thanks to the combination of ARKit & QR codes

There is no doubt that AR applications provide a captivating and mesmerizing experience, however, they owe their growing popularity on the consumer market also to the increasing simplification of use.

The release of Apple’s ARKit significantly improved the robustness of AR apps, turning the calibration process into a seamless and effortless experience. Still, in the subject of spatial orientation, there is one more obstacle to overcome – coordination system liability.

The coordination system created by the ARKit has its origin in the starting point of the application, resulting in coordinates being reset with each start of the app. Therefore, although a coherent modeling environment may be visualized, it is not anyhow localized or reproducible. Establishing a stable connection with the real world is necessary for example to overlay BIM models with surroundings in order to navigate around a construction site or mark defects in an existing building.

ViewAR developed a solution to solve this problem by enabling for establishing a permanent coordinate system in two simple steps. All one needs is an ARKit compatible device and a QR code.

First, the Apple ARKit tracking is initialized by moving a few steps sideways while filming the ground (STEP 1). Next, an anchor point must be defined to allow establishing a relation between freshly initialized 3d space and target coordinate system. It is achieved by filming a QR code with known world coordinates (STEP 2). When scanned, its location in reference to the initial origin point is saved and a permanent coordinate system gets established. From this moment on, we are combining the precision of the ARKit with real-world location awareness.

This technology may be easily adapted to serve multiple purposes with indoor navigation, building maintenance and construction site management being just a beginning.