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Phone with the AR companion app
Phone with the AR companion app
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Find out how to capture data and edit AR scenes directly from your mobile device with AR Companion. Then send your content to Unity to finish building the AR app you’ve always envisioned.

Demo of the AR companion app

Our new AR Companion app is out of beta and now readily available for you to download on the iOS App Store and Google Play. Formerly known as the MARS Companion app, the AR Companion app facilitates authoring and data capture using your mobile device. 

With so many AR applications built specifically for mobile, we wanted to include mobile devices in the authoring workflow to speed up environment capture and reduce iteration time. Read on for more details.

Why leverage the app

The AR Companion app empowers you to capture data for simulating and creating real-world environments and objects in the Unity Editor – all while providing AR scene editing capabilities. The aim of the app is to help decrease iteration time and efficiently develop AR content for just about any project.

Equipped with steady workflows for authoring on your mobile device, you can stay focused on the activities done directly in the medium. The app’s approachable interface enables smooth teamwork and collaboration among devs and artists alike. You don’t need to be a Unity developer to make the most of its key features.

AR companion app features

Key features

Listed below are some of the app’s main features you’ll want to take advantage of.

Environment Capture: Use the AR Companion app to capture room scans, take pictures, and record video with AR data (i.e., planes). The data can then be saved to the cloud and synced in-Editor. Once the information is in Unity, you can use it as needed to build your AR application.

Environment Capture comprises a few different aspects. Use the Environment mode to capture a static environment scan (namely, floor plans), and the Data Recording feature to record videos, as well as camera paths and surface data, which can all be uploaded to the Editor and accessed through the Simulation view in Unity MARS.

AR Scene Editing: The AR Companion app also offers straightforward authoring functionality. This allows you to create content and layouts for your assets (either primitives or imported assets) right on your device, so to improve iteration and on-device testing.

Cloud sync: Both data capture and AR scene editing tasks involve transmitting data to and from the Editor, which is done via cloud storage. This means that you and your teammates do not have to be in the same location to collaborate on a project. 

By using your existing Cloud Services account and project permissions, you can control which users have access to what pieces of information. If a user can access the cloud dashboard for a particular project, for example, it means that they have access to that project’s Companion app data, both on their AR device and in-Editor. This is determined using QR codes that transfer the project ID, so that you can log into the app using either a Unity account or a temporary token shared via QR code. This way, your team members can work offline or on an unlinked project, and then later sync their data or resolve conflicts between edits made to the same resource, based on when specific changes were made.

All AR Companion app users get 1 GB included, whereas those with Unity MARS licenses get 10 GB per MARS seat. In other words, if your organization has five MARS seats, you’ll have 50 GB of cloud storage.

Object Capture: The AR Companion app offers Object Capture, which allows you to scan real-world objects and generate 3D assets from those scans. This addresses the key creator challenge of speeding up the process around bringing digital assets into your AR application.

Object Capture works by taking multiple photos of an object. The AR Companion app visual guide is there to ensure that you take the right kind of photos for your 3D asset.

Once the capture is complete, open Unity on Mac to generate your model for your AR app. While photos can be captured on either the iOS or Android mobile app, please note that this Editor feature is available for macOS only, as it uses Apple’s Object Capture API. For more on this, check out our previous blog post following WWDC 2021.

More on AR Companion and MARS

The AR Companion app works with all versions of Unity, from the personal edition to Pro. Some of the workflows require a MARS subscription, but you can still import scenes and captured objects without one.

The following features only work with Unity MARS:

  • Proxy Creation in Scene Editing flow
  • Environment Capture
  • Data Recording
  • Image Marker

Without a MARS subscription, you will maintain access to the on-device AR Scene Editing functionality, so you can place objects in the Scene Editing flow and make use of Object Capture.

Getting started

The AR Companion app is available for free on both the iOS App Store and Google Play, regardless of your Unity license type, or whether you’re using Unity MARS or Unity AR Foundation.

You can also get started with a free trial of Unity MARS.

We’re still looking for feedback on the application, so please join us on the forum for further discussion. We want to hear from you.

February 10, 2022 in Technology | 7 min. read
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