New Version of metaio's Augmented Reality SDK Supports Image Recognition and Tracking on the iPhone
Munich-based augmented reality specialist, metaio, has launched a new version (2.1) of its Unifeye Mobile SDK that it says offers new features and functionality which take full advantage of the new iPhone OS 4.0 camera access API to enable the creation of image (vs GPS)-based augmented reality experiences on the iPhone. According to the company, Unifeye is currently the only SDK for creating mobile AR applications that support image processing (i.e. image recognition and tracking) on all major mobile platforms: iPhone, Android, Symbian and Windows Mobile. "With Apple's inclusion of access to the live camera data, we can now utilize our mobile SDK to allow developers and brands to take full advantage of augmented reality experiences on the iPhone," metaio CTO, Peter Meier, said in a prepared statement.
Until now, metaio says, developers faced limitations in creating rich and interactive AR experiences on the iPhone, due to restricted access to live camera data in the iPhone SDK. The resulting inability to implement image-based recognition has, the company says, led to a proliferation of AR apps that use GPS as the only tracking mechanism and has made certain AR experiences impossible. Now, metaio says, not only can users obtain information on nearby points of interest identified via GPS, such as shops, restaurants and train stations, but "the camera's eye is now able to identify objects and to 'glue' object-specific real-time, dynamic, social and 3D information onto the object itself."
According to metaio, the ability to access live camera data "is the next step towards an ever-present and highly accurate information overlay on the real things around us. The future prospects of this augmented vision are tremendous," the company says. "Useful and entertaining information may be called up based on places or objects around you. Multimedia experiences can be triggered by images, product packages, signs, posters, magazines or newspaper pages or any other object around the user. Ratings, tips, affiliates and other ecommerce functions can be displayed on real products. Advertisers may 'augment' their print ads with games or added displays. Museums may offer a guided tour of their art treasures through augmented reality. Developers can create realistic and mixed reality games in the real environment of the player. And with the iPhone, its elaborate software distribution framework and a high-and-rising market share, the technology will finally make its way into mainstream."
metaio has created a demo application to showcase its new image recognition and tracking capabilities (which it is branding as "junaio GLUE") on the iPhone OS 4.0. In order to see the demo, 1) download the latest version (which has been updated to support image recognition and tracking) of the company's flagship junaio AR browser here; 2) open the "Glue demo" channel in the junaio browser; and 3) point your iPhone camera at the superhero image below. The image should then appear on your iPhone screen as an interactive, 3D animation. A demo video that provides a visual explanation of how to view the demo application is embedded above.