Google ARCore – An Augmented Reality SDK for Android


Unless you have been living in a box for the last couple of years, it is more than likely you have come across the term AR or VR. Most tech giants believe that AR/VR and AI are going to be the next big thing and am inclined to agree. Google has released an SDK (Software Development Kit) called ARCore for android devices to help developers create apps that utilize AR (Augment Reality) for Android. With over 2 billion users, Google is hoping that through ARCore it will deliver AR to current and future android devices.  It is still in preview phase but its available for developers to start experimenting with it.

ARCore is built on top of the technology and work of project Tango. Unlike project Tango, it does not require special hardware, therefore it can scale across the android ecosystem. Google is targeting about 100 million devices at the end of the preview, with devices such as the Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy S8, running android Nougat already supporting it. Google is in talks with other device manufactures to support ARCore while making sure that performance is high and consistent.

ARCore works with Java/OpenGL, Unity and Unreal, focusing on: Motion tracking, understanding the environment and estimation of light. For motion tracking and understanding the environment, it utilizes the device camera to observe feature points in the room and IMU sensor data, ARCore determines both the position and orientation of the phone as it moves. This ensures that virtual objects are accurately placed within the environment. ARCore tries to match the lighting of virtual object to be a close as the surrounding ambient light to make them even more realistic.

Apart from ARCore, Google has been investing in apps and services that will help developers to create great AR experience. Google has created apps such as Blocks and Tilt Brush to help anyone create great 3D content for use by AR apps. Google has also been working on Virtual Positioning Service (VPS) which is aimed at enabling world scale AR experiences well beyond a tabletop. Also coming soon are custom browser prototypes that can play AR/VR content in the hope of aiding developers to create AR enhanced websites which can run on android ARCore and IOS ARKit.