ARKit 3: What’s new in 2019 as seen at WWDC
Intro to ARKit
ARKit is a framework provided by the iOS SDK (11+) that gives developers the opportunity to create augmented reality experiences in a fraction of the time it would take to create them completely from scratch. It uses the device’s camera and motion tracking abilities to capture and process the world through the lens of the phone’s camera and allow for truly exceptional augmented reality experiences to be created.
WWDC 2019 was an amazing event for the world of iOS development. So many great new technologies were announced (iOS 13, Dark Mode, SwiftUI, and iPad OS, just to name a few). Besides all of that, Apple announced ARKit 3, and they’ve packed it with new capabilities and features. Here is a great session from WWDC that introduces ARKit3.
As I mentioned before, ARKit 3 is packed with new features. Here are just a few:
Before ARKit 3, objects added to an augmented reality scene always appear on the very to p of the scene. This made it all but impossible to create an experience where it feels like the objects exist in the world, leading to less immersive experiences. ARKit 3 solves this problem using something called People Occlusion. Essentially, this makes it possible to detect the location of humans in the scene and render virtual objects in such a way that they appear in the appropriate location as the people move through the virtual scene. It will now be possible to create augmented reality experiences where the participant will feel completely immersed in the augmented reality scene.
At this point in time we’ve all seen a video showing a professional athlete wearing a spandex suit covered in sensors where every move they make is tracked and converted into what ultimately becomes a character in a video game. ARKit 3 gives us the ability to do just this – track the movement of the human body and using the movement to alter the augmented reality scene. This session from WWDC gives a great introduction to this new feature and shows how powerful it really is: https://developer.apple.com/efb12409-fe4b-47fa-b468-f748e2b3137d
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While People Occlusion and Motion Capture are arguably the most impactful new features released as a part of ARKit 3, some other features include:
- the ability to simultaneously access the front and back cameras
- tracking up to three faces at once
- making augmented reality scenes that are more collaborative
- and so many more.
Augmented reality is certainly at the forefront of technology at the moment and there are many attempts being made to create both meaningful and exciting experiences using the technology. ARKit 3 is a leap in the right direction. The fact that so much will be possible using the processing power of a phone will undoubtedly have a profound impact on the experiences that developers are able to create. Applications that could use these new features include fitness and health, emergency training, education, and so many more. It is an exciting time to be an iOS developer and here at Shockoe we are working to develop amazing apps using emerging technologies, such as augmented reality, and provide clients with amazing tools to improve their Save & Exit business.
Stephen Shaw is a mobile software engineer, primarily focused on building native iOS applications. Born and raised in Richmond, VA, he enjoys spending time hiking by the river, trying new restaurants, and exploring everything the city has to offer with his wife, Rachael. Passionate about innovation and learning, he’s Shockoe’s go-to vault of new ideas.