Since we are indie developers with no money we wanted to go from concept to product as quickly as possible. The best way for us to do this was to use a third party solution for augmented reality. Since AR Flashcards version 2.0 we have been using Qualcomm’s Vuforia SDK. SDK stands for software development kit. We use the Unity 3D extension for our project.
Unity is the development environment that we use to create AR Flashcards. The easy implementation of Vuforia allows us to spend our money and time on things like creating 3d content and graphic design.
The Vuforia SDK has several different elements that can be used but we currently only use the Image Target solution. This allows us to choose any image we want to be our marker that triggers the AR. In our case we use our beautifully designed flash cards that our graphic designer Denny has created as our image markers.
The process is simple yet complicated. The hard part is creating markers to use that have a lot of contrast and subtle differences in them so that Vuforia can differentiate between all the different markers when you are trying to load your different 3d models. There is a lot of trial and error involved when we test this. The easy part is integrating the images with Vuforia. Once you are a registered developer on their website their is a section called Target Manager. This is where you go to upload your image markers for use with the SDK. The cool thing is once you upload your images (in our case it’s our flash cards) Vuforia gives you a star rating for how well they think your image marker will track. 5 stars are the best and is what we shoot for. The better the rating the better you content will track on the marker. Once you upload your markers Vuforia creates a downloadable package to use in your project.
I forgot to mention that Vuforia is free!! Other 3rd party AR solutions cost a lot of money to license which is hard to justify when you don’t make any money! Qualcomm does a fantastic job updating their SDK with bug fixes and fantastic new features. They offer a ton of solutions that we hope to utilize more of in the future. Examples of this are cloud recognition, text recognition, virtual buttons, user defined targets and more! They have a lot of great tutorials on their developer site and I encourage any developer that’s interested in AR to check it out. You can have one of their sample projects up and running on a device in minutes.
For our 3.0 launch of AR Flashcards we are going to be digging deeper and using more of what they offer!! I’ll update you on what those are as we progress!
Thanks for reading!
Mitchlehan Media, LLC