Hands-On Review: Vuforia SDK 5

Hands-On Review: Vuforia SDK 5

Yesterday, I had the chance to play with the recently released Vuforia SDK 5. Previously, I’ve written about it and excited by its promise. This SDK has its own set of AR and VR features, which intrigued me. So, I thought, why not dive in head first and add another tool to my arsenal, who knows some project might benefit from it? The SDK comes in 3 flavors, native iOS, native Android and Unity Plugin. Since I’m pretty much working with Unity these days, I decided to pick the latter. As with my previous encounter with this SDK, installing and using it inside Unity is a breeze. Basically the SDK gives me several prefabs that I can use straightaway. But its biggest selling point is the image/object recognizer & tracker. With this, I can track whatever image/marker that I want and augmented it with any object. This is AR, Vuforia’s bread and butter experience. What’s really new in this SDK version, is the ability to pair AR Camera (this is the camera that does image recognizing and tracking) with additional 3rd party camera provided by HMD such as Google Cardboard or Oculus Mobile VR. This enables the application to be rendered in stereo mode, thus enabling VR mode for your application. So, the mobile device is used for two things: image tracking through its camera stereo rendering on its screen Using this for a project in Unity itself is pretty easy, though might be complicated for beginner (the manual is pretty much scattered in Vuforia’s site at the moment). In case you need a help, here’s what I did...
Getting Started with Mobile VR Development: What are My Options?

Getting Started with Mobile VR Development: What are My Options?

Getting excited about developing contents for mobile VR? Well, if you’re a programmer with earlier experience in using game engine such as Unity, or web-based technology such as JavaSCript or specifically, three.js, then you’re in for a treat. I can report that today, these tools can give you a lot of power to make your own VR experience. Now, let’s get into the details. Here are your options: Google Cardboard SDK This SDK is well crafted by Google that even in their recent version also supports iOS as well. You can either program it using Android SDK, or Unity. The Unity enables the Cardboard application to be deployed to iOS devices as well. Vuforia SDK The recently updated version of this SDK provided by one of the biggest player in AR SDK for mobile devices, also supports VR rendering as well. It supports both the Google Cardboard SDK and Oculus Mobile SDK. You have the options to do development in iOS, Android or Unity. Plus, it has many AR-related features, so you can start tinker with mixed reality experience. It’s not free, but it’s pricing makes a lot of sense. Oculus Mobile SDK This looks like the best options for developing [Samsung Gear VR devices](https://www.oculus.com/en-us/gear-vr/). Personally, I haven’t had a chance to test it, but judging by the many reactions in internet, the Gear looks very interesting for many people. It has the name Samsung, so that’s probably expected. I predict that this device will have many fans, once the consumer version is released. So, developers, you don’t wanna miss the boat. WebVR Boilerplate This is a bit experimental. This...
The Importance of Mobile VR

The Importance of Mobile VR

Let me start by saying that at first, I’m not really sold by idea of having a VR experience accessed through the small screen of a smartphone. I did try Google Cardboard, it was good, better than I expected but left much to be desired, especially considering that I felt pretty nauseous after trying one of the demo game. However, after more experience in tinkering with VR content and many events happening in the real world, I realize that mobile VR is very vital for the future of this technology. It has a significant role in spreading the experience to common everyday people. For starter, the price point for this is very low. Google Cardboard can be purchased for about $25. A much better HMD like Zeiss VR One costs around $99. That’s way cheaper than Oculus Rift that costs around $399. Sure, you’ll need smartphone, but chances are, you’ve already owned one. While, for a proper experience, Oculus Rift requires a high-end gaming PC that costs around $1500. Arguing about price doesn’t really makes sense here. How about the contents then? Well, I assume that many will be developed using Google Cardboard SDK, which is actively promoted and developed by Google. It’s a good tool to make VR content, and therefore, in terms of making games, I think mobile VR is in a good company. In fact, quick search of Cardboard in Play Store yields so many results, from movie, to tech demos to games. And if installing apps proved to be much hassles, well, Google has another trick up its sleeve: YouTube. Recent update in YouTube, allows viewer...
It’s A Good Time to Develop VR Contents

It’s A Good Time to Develop VR Contents

Ever since the head of my department bought two Oculus Rift HMDs and lent one of them to me, I started to dabble a lot into this field. Some months before it, I managed to get a Google Cardboard, which was a good introduction to VR, but I didn’t really able to develop further interest, partially because I had quite a massive simulation sickness for playing with it in a short time (though, this is probably mistake in my side, since I have an acute vertigo to begin with). Now, Oculus Rift DK2 is actually a very good piece of hardware. I can use it comfortably for 20 minutes using my 2012 non-retina MBP. It also comes with a rapidly developed software suites for developers, meaning it’s actually pretty fast and easy if you want to start making contents for it. The ecosystem is lively, plus there’s a lot of options to pick from should you want to start your adventure here. Indeed, generally speaking, it’s a good time to develop for VR. As I looked around for games and apps demos for the Rift, I founded out that there’s not much released by big studios/companies, but there are plenty to download or buy from small indie developers. This is another proof that developers who bought it, aren’t afraid of showing whatever they had, even if it’s just a single level wandering around demo type of thing. And this is very important. This new wave of VR devices still has plenty to crack to make it ready for public use. Several issues, including the haunting simulation sickness are still...
Vuforia SDK 5

Vuforia SDK 5

Vuforia just released the latest version of their SDK, the Vuforia SDK 5.0.5. If you haven’t heard about them before, well they’re responsible for one of the biggest SDK in AR-content development. This tool is smartphone focused, meaning it’s for both iOS and Android devices. Now, the good thing is they decided to put VR features in this latest SDK, allowing its users to develop mixed reality application for Google Cardboard and Gear VR. The video clearly shows how good this SDK is and how it allows creation of a unique experience. For example, the content user can view AR assets with a smartphone and then move to a more intimate VR experience with a single tap. That’s awesome. But for me, one of its even better feature is the virtual buttons. It allows user to interact with the content using a virtual button that is part of the AR marker itself. The video shows a woman taps a paper to change the color of the AR asset. Now, this could be another worthy solution of user interface for VR content. Since, any VR users have been struggling with the no-hands feeling, or simply blocked from seeing which button to press. By combining live camera view from the phone and the generated VR contents, I can see that this SDK is a good step forward towards interaction inside VR space. I already downloaded the SDK and is now looking forward to tinker with things. Watch this space, as I’ll write further about the SDK. Share...