The advent of ARKit and ARCore has strengthened the demand for development tools to build augmented reality experiences for compatible iPhones, iPads, and Android devices.
We have seen Unity step up with support for both platforms, with ARCore support arriving in their next releases, and now Vuforia will follow suit in version 7 of their software.
According to Vinny DaSilva, developer evangelist for Vuforia, in a conversation with Next Reality, "Vuforia 7 will be released along with the next major version of Unity. It's currently included as a beta in Unity 2017.3 beta 4."
Vuforia is not just keeping up with the Joneses here. They are offering additional features that can help developers push their AR experiences beyond the capabilities of the ARKit and ARCore frameworks.
For instance, Vuforia Fusion will enable developers to build AR experiences for a wide range of devices, regardless of its internal hardware or framework support.
With this feature, apps will be able to determine the device's capabilities and combine them with the Vuforia, allowing developers to build their apps of just the one Vuforia API. This way, AR experiences can be extended to devices that do not support either ARKit or ARCore.
Vuforia 7 will also include its own form of ground plane detection. Built off of the Smart Terrain feature it introduced for devices with depth-sensing cameras, Vuforia Ground Plane will detect horizontal surfaces indoors and outdoors, just like ARKit and ARCore.
With Vuforia Fusion, apps will be able to emulate the capabilities of those frameworks on older devices and OS versions.
We have worked with Vuforia since the original launch of Tango and we are excited to continue our partnership with the launch of ARCore. Vuforia will make it easy for developers to take advantage of ARCore in Vuforia features that developers are familiar with.
Lastly, but certainly not least, Vuforia 7 will introduce the Model Targets feature. This is image recognition on steroids. Instead of recognizing images based on specific designs, like a book cover or product packaging, Model Targets can identify objects based on their shape.
Using Model Targets, developers can assign AR content to that shape profile. The use case that Vuforia presents is for auto and heavy equipment manufacturers, who can embed users manuals and knowledge base content based on the identified machinery.
"If you're a developer, there has not been a better time to get started with AR. It has never been easier with Vuforia now integrated in Unity. And there has never been the power to put your content in so much of the world," said Jay Wright, president of Vuforia, in a statement.