ARkit: the Brownie Mix for AR DevelopersImmersive technologies, in general, have been in “beta” for the last few years. Don’t get me wrong, there are some very cool technologies out there that demonstrate endless potential and opportunity but most, if not all, lack practical application for most consumers. This is rapidly changing. Removing barriers for developing immersive content is a big reason behind this change. The best analogy I can come up with to help describe what I mean is from my experience making brownies. I have no idea how to make brownies from scratch, even with a recipe it would likely take me forever and the final product probably wouldn’t taste that great. That said, give me a box of brownie mix, and I’ll make some of the best brownies you’ve ever had in less than 5 minutes. This past month, ARkit (an API) was announced at WWDC (Apple’s developers conference). ARkit is basically like brownie mix for developers to more easily and quickly create AR (augmented reality) content with. In less than 24 hours of being released, developers were posting demonstrations of what they’d already come up with (see below). In ARkit, Apple has made it possible for most developers to create Pokémon or Snapchat filter experiences with ease. In addition to lowering the barrier for development of new AR experiences, Apple’s existing hardware base (100s of millions of iOS devices) increases the likelihood we start seeing a raise in practical consumer AR applications soon. The lead Apple has taken (over other tech giants like Google and Microsoft) with ARkit can’t be overstated. Look at these demos and compare them to anything Microsoft or Google have demoed over the last 2 years and remember these developers have had access to the software for like ~2-3 weeks and the experiences are made with off the shelf, single camera iOS devices… developer brownie mix… Minecraft Space X Rocket Landing in your Backyard Within’s storybook
Measurement app for more demos check out https://twitter.com/madewithARKit Based on what I’ve seen from these demos and read about the API, I’m convinced the software will be there for rich AR experiences but the looming question is whether wearable hardware (i.e. glasses) will become a consumer product (enabling new interaction models and driving down costs of production) or if we’ll only see them in limited (expensive) use cases (i.e. computer labs, etc). Not to throw water on all this hype, I think there is huge potential for AR applications, but I really don’t see a future where everyone wears expensive, battery-powered glasses all day…
Watch a sneak peek of our Goldilocks storybook that comes to life on any surface. We can’t wait to release this app update later this year. pic.twitter.com/BNEOUbuGhV— Within (@Within) June 15, 2017
“VR’s power is not in simulating reality but giving new ability to reason, communicate, and reflect” eleVRI talk a lot of about the technologies behind the emerging immersive tech field but equally important are the creatives and thinkers that develop new paradigms around the technology. In order for a technology to become a part of life, or an industry like education, hardware/software needs to be developed but people also need to develop uses for the tools. An interesting group of thinkers/technologists I’ve been covering for the last year are eleVR (el-uh-V-R). eleVR “studies and experiments with immersive media, particularly virtual and augmented reality, as a tool to reveal new ways to understand our world and express ourselves within it.” They recently released a 1 year of research review video of their work and I was blown away by the insights they’ve gained and moved by the kind of perspective they bring to immersive technologies.
We don’t think VR’s power is in simulating reality. We’re interested in using it to create wholly new kinds of experiences that give us new abilities of reason, of communication, of self-expression and self-reflection, that last through the rest of our lives. What the headset shows us isn’t reality but the experience is real and it changes how we feel and how we think.Check out their Annual Review video here.