Expand Reality Around You

From time to time, I have an opportunity to speak about making games or experiences. This time I wanted to talk about Augmented Reality – AR in short.

AR always was present in my career. Sometimes it was a simple project that I had to build over a few days, some other times AR was the core of a business where I worked.

But I never thought more in-depth about that technology. Until I had to prepare for the presentation “Expand Reality Around You“.

The idea ?

Next week, I’m attending Edge Experience Hackathon in Kraków – Poland. This is one of many hackathons around the globe focusing on edge computing and 5G network.

Besides my will to attend the event, we wanted to make something for our IT community in Lublin. And we did – Data Science, 5G, Mixed Realities & Game Dev!

Thanks to the collaboration between Lublin GameDev, Lublin IT, Data Science Lublin, Machine Learning Poland, meetXR and Edge Experience this event came to fruition.

The main theme for our event was “what we can expect from the future?”. The theme inspired me to finally think about “what will drive progress in the near future?”. With technologies that we have currently and people are developing I though that AR is the way to go for this presentation.

History ?

My first experience with AR technology was in the beginnings of my professional career when I played with AR plugin Vuforia.

Vuforia and Lublin GameDev logo.

That memory sparked my curiosity and led me to the Wikipedia page about the history of AR technology.

Can you imagine that someone was thinking about AR technology back in 1901?! That’s insane! ?

But humanity had to wait almost the whole century until the first AR system was built. It was Virtual Fixture which was developed in the early 1990s at U.S. Air Force Armstrong Labs. Due to the limitation of the hardware, they had to be creative about building that system. Go read it! It’s fascinating! #nerdforlife ?

The next step was to make it mainstream, for which we had to wait for two more decades and smartphones.

Famous dog filter in Snapchat.

In 2011, Snapchat was released, and I think this was a point where AR started becoming even more popular.

But a few years later, in 2016, Niantic dropped Pokemon GO to the market. Thanks to the Pokemon brand and Niantic technology, the game become an immediate hit! People were running and chasing Pokemons in real life, which they could see through their phones in AR mode. Even I was playing this game! ?

This was the turning point for AR, as year after that, Apple and Google released their AR solutions! Apple released ARKit, and Google released ARCore. With both solutions, developers could make more AR games.

Unite everything! ?

At that point, we could ask if that means that we – developers, have to make games separate for both platforms? Thanks to Unity and their AR Foundation, we don’t have to!

Unity did what they do best. They united both AR solutions into one simpler interface. Now, with AR Foundation, we don’t have to worry about building an Android game with ARCore or iOS game with ARKit because we can use the same components in both cases.

As both solutions have some unique features, you might expect some limitations, but other than that, you can play with it as you wish. ?

I made a post about building simple AR experience in Unity, so if you want to see how it’s done, go and check it! ?

Placing object in AR

The future ?

So the question about AR is that if it will become a norm in the future? I think it will! With the introduction of ARKit 3, iPhone can recognize human body and hide virtual element behind it. I can’t express how beneficial it will be for the immersion of the final user!

I think there would be whole new industries built around AR technology. We can already hear about giants like Boing or NASA, which started using mixed reality glasses like HoloLens for their work. Those are small steps, but there will be more companies interested in using it!

Personally, I’m waiting for a new AR glasses that I could wear as regular glasses! It would be so amazing, and I can’t wait! ?

But until that becomes a reality, we will have to wait a few more years… ?

Slides ?

So basically that was my presentation last Friday, which people seem to enjoyed ?

If you want to see slides, they are available below and at SlideShare.

Let me know what you think about AR and what will happen with that technology in the future in the comment section below!

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And I hope to see you next time! ?

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