Fresh off of shipping version 2019.1 in April, Unity has already dropped the beta of 2019.2, and it has a bunch of new AR Foundation toys to test.
Among the new capabilities supported by Unity's cross-platform mobile AR framework include face tracking and 2D image tracking, matching the comparable features for both ARKit and ARCore.
With face tracking, developers can enable their apps to detect faces and construct meshes for rendering facial animations. The feature includes a "face manager" that takes care of device configuration and creating content for identified faces.
Similarly, 2D image tracking employs a "tracked image tracker" that builds 3D content based on recognized images. Developers can also trigger a different AR experience based on changes to the tracked image.
Also, 2019.2 beta brings support for 3D object tracking and environment probes for ARKit. The former enables developers to load 3D files representing physical objects for mobile AR apps to identify, while the latter assists apps in blending 3D content into the real world based on lighting and color measurements. Likewise, these features posses managers for aligning 3D content and information with environmental data.
The new capabilities, along with the existing portfolio of AR Foundation features, are in preview. Unity plans to make AR Foundation a standard feature with the public release of 2019.2, so the combined set of tools prepares the framework to cover most of the respective capabilities of ARKit and ARCore.
As walled gardens form around mobile augmented reality platforms, tools like AR Foundation become essential. By enabling developers to build one AR experience for both iOS and Android, app publishers no longer have to choose between mobile ecosystems or invest the extra effort in creating two different versions of the same experience.
Update: 2019.2 has exited beta and is now available as a wide release, find out more here.
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