With barely a whisper of augmented reality during the first day of its developer's conference, Samsung came out swinging on day two with the introduction of its version of the AR cloud and a partnership with Wacom that turns Samsung's S-Pen into an augmented reality magic wand.
During the Spotlight Session on Thursday, Wacom president and CEO Nobutaka Ide took the stage to show off Wacom Ink Layer Language, or WILL 3.0. The SDK gives apps "semantic understanding" and depth perception through the mobile device's camera view, allowing users to not only draw on the real world but also insert 3D content based on the app's interpretation of its surroundings.
This means that an architect can doodle a building onto a skyline and, through machine learning, an app can insert a 3D rendering of a tower in its place. Or, an artist can draw virtual designs on a blank baseball cap to share with others via images or video.
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WILL 3.0 is currently in private beta, but Wacom is encouraging interested developers to reach out to them for access consideration.
On the same day, attendees also got a first-hand look at the Project Whare AR cloud platform. Samsung NEXT's head of AR product management, Srini Venkataramani, senior manager, product management of Project Whare for Samsung NEXT, and Jayashree Nagarajan, a staff engineer for Samsung NEXT, hosted a session on building cloud-based AR apps with Project Ware and Unity.
Project Whare, which is a product of the Samsung Next emerging technologies incubator, offers many of the AR cloud qualities—such as multi-user experiences, persistent content, and cross-platform support for ARKit and ARCore—that platforms like the Niantic Real World Platform and 6D.ai bring to the table.
But Samsung's platform also adds a fairly unique capability. According to its website, Project Whare's multi-user functionality can enable up to 10 users—both remotely and in the same physical space—to view and interact with the same AR content. Additionally, Project Whare provides a cloud service to host content.
Interested developers can request access to Project Whare through its website.
To date, Samsung's mobile AR pursuits have been limited to copying Apple or adopting Google's ARCore platform. And while deploying an AR cloud and an AR drawing app isn't exactly breaking new ground, Samsung's (and Wacom's) innovations on the existing concepts present some tantalizing opportunities for future AR experiences.