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ARKit 1.5 Now Supports Vertical Surface Detection and 2D Image Recognition

| by Sergio De Simone Follow 14 Followers on Jan 25, 2018. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |

Apple has announced a major upgrade of ARKit, which is available to developers with iOS 11.3 beta. According to Apple, ARKit 1.5 will allow developers to build more immersive augmented reality (AR) experiences.

Among the new features brought by ARKit 1.5 are:

  • Improved scene understanding, including recognition and placement of virtual objects on vertical surfaces like walls and doors. Previous versions of ARKit could only recognize horizontal surfaces, like tables and chairs. Additionally, ARKit 1.5 more accurately maps irregularly shaped surfaces, like circular tables.
  • Real world image detection and recognition, which allows for integrating 2D images such as signs, posters, and artwork into AR experiences. For example, says Apple, this new feature would allow to fill a museum with virtual interactive exhibits, or bringing a movie poster to life.
  • Improved pass-through camera, which provides higher resolution and supports auto-focus to improve sharpness of AR views.

Apple demoed two ARKit-based apps taking advantage of ARKit 1.5 new features, such as a game where the player can bounce a ball on the floor and hit a virtual target placed on a wall. Another app demoed by Apple was able to recognize the image of the Apollo moon landing and recreate the experience of the Apollo landing on the surface of the moon.

Apple introduced ARKit 1.0 in June last year to allow developers to create AR apps for iOS. ARKit original capabilities included motion tracking, horizontal plane detection, and scale and ambient light estimation. A few months later, Apple published its Human Interface Guidelines for AR apps with the aim of making it easier for developers to get started in AR and offering them hints to create compelling experiences.

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