With the release of ARki 2.0 we made a challenging decision to re-develop the app with the inclusion of a marker-less AR solution, ARkit, versus our previous marker-driven SDK provided by Vuforia. The pro and cons of both solutions were extensive, and we deliberated over this decision tirelessly. However in the end ARkit won, and today I wanted to go over some of our reasons for why we chose to upgrade to ARkit over our beloved Vuforia SDK.
The introduction of paper-less AR is a total game changer for ARki visualisations. The ability to bring design propositions to life without the need for printed images, means that ARki is free from the confines of paper printouts, and paper size limitations. Now ARki is able to be explored spatially, on-site, and in any environment that could essentially benefit from an augmented visualisation. The release of ARki 2.0 is the start of our paper-less AR adventures. We are excited to see how this new toolkit allows us to start incorporating AR within the built environment, and at much larger scales than the standard AR experience.
When we started arki in 2013, the vision was predominantly centred on creating a platform in which people could upload their architectural models, and view these in real-time, easily using Augmented Reality technology. The capacity to create a platform in which people could easily upload data is yet one we aspire to create, although we must clearly overcome certain limitations to do this idea justice. We are asked continually why we have not yet created such a platform, and therefore, I wanted to take some time and reflect on some technical complications we must overcome inorder to create an open platform for architectural AR visualisation.
When we started theorising about ARki back in in 2010, we imaged a parallel dimension of architecture and environments that ran along our physical reality, and seamlessly merged with our surroundings. In this reality, architects could easily superimpose their designs within their physical sites, visualise digital models on table tops, and experience walking through their designs in real time, without having to create physical prototype or models. Initially the AR technology available didn’t allow us to freely create these experiences without the use of 2d image trackers, such as site plans etc, to augment these digital models within the real-world. Moreover the ability to create large scale architectural propositions in AR was always limited to the use of industrial scale printed markers as trigger images to kickstart the augmentation.
In the search for greater augmented realities, what we forget is the downfalls of this technology, and how it impacts our psyche from a psychological level. To immerse whole heartedly within our digital experiences without an understanding of how it is impacting us socially, and environmentally, is essentially negligence on our part. We must bring into attention the downfalls of AR, as much as praise its technologically capacity.
Augmented reality is essentially responding to our need to mould space, it is giving us the capacity to view our digital experiences as valid counterparts that have the right to exist within our physical environment.
One of the key highlights of ARki is the possibility to include custom interactivity features, for the most engaging visualisation. The options for interactivity within ARki are vast, and we often get asked what sorts of interactive features/animations are available to include?
The type of feature we recommend for each app is usually directly linked to the design agenda, and the story behind each proposition. Highlighting specific features using real-time animations, and toggles, are a great way to communicate the design process and ultimately immerse users with your projects.
Below are a list of features that we recommend within an ARki experience.
Having explored the idea of spatial gaming over the last 4 years, we are continually pushing the boundaries of gaming and art to transform physical space into playgrounds that can be experienced through new gaming techniques.
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