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Vuforia in Unity: Build cross-platform AR apps

January 15, 2018 in Technology | 7 min. read
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Unity 2017.3 offers out-of-the-box support for Vuforia 7. Developers can build cross-platform AR apps that blend 3D graphics with all types of physical objects and environments directly from the Unity editor. Learn what’s new with Unity and Vuforia, how to get started, and where to get assets.

Vuforia provides cross-platform Augmented Reality support for Android, iOS, and UWP devices, through a single API, allowing developers to write their apps once and run them using the best available core technology.

Starting with Unity 2017.2, Unity Developers have been able to create Vuforia-enabled apps using a simple authoring workflow and event-driven scripting directly in the Unity Editor. The Vuforia integration included performance optimizations, tight ongoing synchronization of features and fixes, and a native Unity workflow that enables developers to focus on creating the best AR experiences.

With Unity 2017.3, we introduce support for Vuforia 7 enabling developers to attach digital content to even more types of objects and environments using Model Targets and Ground Plane, while ensuring the best possible experiences on the broadest range of devices and operating systems.

To make the most of Vuforia in Unity, don’t forget to download or upgrade your Unity 2017.3 to Unity 2017.3.0 patch 2

While ARCore and ARKit introduced baseline capabilities to enable AR at scale, Unity 2017.3 and Vuforia 7, provides the building blocks to create cutting edge AR experiences and unlock new categories of interactive applications. Developers can now reach millions of additional users and enhance AR experiences with advanced computer-vision capabilities. We could never had imagined so many core technologies coming together to orchestrate such a beautiful symphony of easy-to-use workflows. This represents the true democratization of AR - all from within the Unity Editor!

If you are an expert AR developer or just someone that is getting started with AR, you should learn more about Vuforia’s new capabilities, check out all the resources and assets provided below.  Keep calm, and Read on!

Vuforia 7 new features:

Vuforia Ground Plane (available for free) enables you to attach digital content to horizontal surfaces, like floors and tabletops, in everyday environments. It’s an an ideal solution for creating games and product visualization apps that interact within the real world.

Developers can get started building AR experiences with Ground Plane for ARKit enabled iOS devices in Unity 2017.3. In Unity 2017.3 Patch 2, Ground Planes extends support to the broadest range of popular Android and iOS devices allowing you to reach millions of additional users.

Model Targets is the latest evolution of Vuforia’s Object Recognition capabilities. With Model Targets you no longer need a detailed visual design to attach digital content, instead, you can attach content to objects based on their shape. Model Targets also offers real-time 360º tracking and outstanding tracking robustness across a range of environments, lighting conditions, distances.

Imagine creating an AR experiences using objects like automobiles, appliances and industrial equipment and machinery. With Model Targets, you can do things like replacing a user manual with visual instructions overlaid on the object.

Additional Vuforia features available in Unity 2017.3

All of the features of the Vuforia AR app development platform are integrated natively in Unity. You can find them in the GameObject menu. Vuforia’s Game Objects enable you to recognize and track images, objects, and surfaces in your environment.

 


 

Below, you can learn more about Vuforia 7 features integrated into Unity. Plus, don’t forget that all the assets demoed below are available for free in the Unity Asset Store!

Vuforia features:

Image Targets are the easiest way to put AR content on flat objects, such as magazine pages, trading cards, and photographs.

Image Target from Vuforia free Core Sample Asset pack

Cloud Targets enable you to manage large collections of Image Targets from your own CMS. They are the best way to support product catalogs, print advertising, and any other application that benefits from easy versioning of large image sets.

Multi Targets are the best way to put AR content on objects with flat surfaces that may be viewed from multiple sides, or that contain multiple images. Product packaging, posters, and murals all make great Multi Targets.

Multi Target from Vuforia free Core Sample Asset pack

Cylinder Targets enable you to put AR content on objects with cylindrical and conical shapes. Soda cans, bottles, and tubes with printed designs are great candidates for Cylinder Targets.

Cylinder Target from Vuforia free Core Sample Asset pack

User Defined Targets enable you to place content in the real world using a camera image shot at runtime as the target. Users can create targets from images and surfaces found in their environment.

Object Targets are 3D objects that can be recognized and tracked 3D objects when scanned. Object Recognition works best with objects that are geometrically stable and have surface details.

Object Target from Vuforia free Core Sample Asset pack

VuMarks are custom-designed AR markers that can encode data to support Unique IDs as well as text and byte data. VuMarks are a great way to identify unique instances of an object, which are part of a series or collection. They’re a popular solution for unlocking digital experiences for toys and retail products.

VuMark from Vuforia free Core Sample Asset pack

Additional Vuforia 7 capabilities

Vuforia supports the broadest range of Android, iOS, and UWP handheld and headworn devices with functionality like head and hand tracking as well as stereo rendering.

Device Tracking - provides a robust inside-out device tracker for rotational head and hand tracking on standard devices.

Digital Eyewear - Vuforia enables developers to create content for optical see-through headworn devices, such as the Microsoft HoloLens, ODG R7 and the Vuzix m300.

AR+VR Stereo Rendering - Vuforia provides simple APIs to create immersive experiences that transition between Augmented and Virtual Reality.

AR+VR Stereo Rendering from Vuforia’s free Stereo Rendering asset pack

Getting started

  1. Download Unity 2017.3.0p2
  2. During installation, be sure to select “Vuforia Augmented Reality Support” when choosing components.
  3. Create a new Unity project.
  4. Under PlayerSettings/XR, check Vuforia Augmented Reality Support.
  5. Replace the default Main Camera with an AR Camera (GameObject Menu> Vuforia>AR Camera).
  6. Add an Image Target to your scene (GameObject Menu> Vuforia> Image).
  7. Make your content a child of the Image Target.
  8. Print out the Astronaut card in Editor/Vuforia/ForPrint/ImageTargets/.
  9. Press Play and use your WebCam to see your content appear in the real world!

Note: for AR+VR and Stereo Rendering apps, you’ll also need to enable VR Support in the XR Settings and to add Vuforia at the top of the list of VR SDKs. Add HoloLens at the top of that list if you are building a Vuforia app for HoloLens.

It really is that simple. Vuforia also provides a collection of high quality assets you can download for free from the Asset Store to help you learn the basics in augmented reality development and familiarize yourself with some of the keystone interactions.

Resources

  1. Live Training Session. If you are just getting started to explore AR development, we also recommend you sign up to the Live Unity training Session, “Creating AR Content with Vuforia”.
  2. Vuforia Core Samples provide complete Unity scenes that show how to create AR experiences for objects and environments using Vuforia targets and trackers.
  3. Vuforia AR+VR Sample illustrates best practices for transitioning between Augmented and Virtual reality using Vuforia’s Mixed Reality Controller and Device Tracker.
  4. Vuforia Stereo Rendering for Digital Eyewear shows developers how to create Augmented Reality experiences for optical see-through head-worn devices like the ODG R-7.
  5. Occlusion Management demonstrates an advanced rendering technique used to make augmentations appear inside of objects.
  6. Background Texture Access shows how to access and apply shaders to the AR video background
  7. Vuforia Developer Library is a comprehensive work of reference developers can refer to for the Vuforia platform.
  8. Vuforia in the Unity forum  Is for any technical questions related to the Vuforia Augmented Reality application development. Vuforia and Unity engineers will also be posting news and announcements here.

To make the most of Vuforia in Unity, don’t forget to download or upgrade your Unity 2017.3 to Unity 2017.3.0 patch 2

January 15, 2018 in Technology | 7 min. read
Topics covered