News: Mobile AR Apps Can Now Track Any Surface Using Plane Detection via Wikitude SDK

Mobile AR Apps Can Now Track Any Surface Using Plane Detection via Wikitude SDK

In the latest update to its augmented reality platform, Wikitude has introduced new plane detection capabilities that can anchor virtual content to surfaces at any orientation.

Both ARKit and ARCore can recognize horizontal and vertical surfaces in their current versions, but Wikitude SDK 8.1, released on Wednesday, can handle oddly angled surfaces as well.

Image via Wikitude

"With 'any' we not only mean horizontal planes like floors, tables or ceilings or vertical planes like walls or doors – also arbitrary angled planes are understood by the Wikitude SDK," wrote Paula Monteiro, marketing director at Wikitude, in a blog post.

For now, the new capability is labeled as experimental. A sample app is available for Native API and Unity, with support for JavaScript arriving at a later date.

"Plane detection has become a crucial feature in the process of building markerless augmented reality," says Monteiro. "It helps developers better understand the geometry of the environment around them and place 3D content into the world."

Wikitude 8.1 also brings support for Android 9, iOS 12, and Unity 2018.2. With Wikitude's Seamless Augmented Reality Tracking (SMART), developers can leverage Wikitude for AR capabilities like persistent content and multi-user experiences and switch to ARKit or ARCore on devices that support those toolkits.

Image via Wikitude

For instance, ARKit supports persistent content and object recognition in ARKit 2.0, while ARCore currently does not. Wikitude SDK would enable developers to take advantage of ARKit's latest superpowers and make the same experience available for older iPhones and iPads as well as Android devices.

Speaking of superpowers, Wikitude 8.1 carries performance improvements and greater stability for its version of object recognition, as well as scene recognition and markerless tracking.

But it's the plane detection that really moves mobile AR forward toward more realistic AR experiences. While experimental, Wikitude 8.1 surpasses what ARKit and ARCore can do. Sure, it pales in comparison to what the HoloLens and the Magic Leap One can do with the benefit of depth sensors, but using just a smartphone camera, Wikitude is not far off.

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