google: Explained: What is Google ARCore and how is it useful

Augmented Reality or AR is now a very common word in the tech world. Major tech giants like Google and Apple have ventured into this sphere. Apple made use of dedicated hardware like LiDAR scanners packed in iPhones and iPads, whereas Google mainly used software to do the job. The companies are getting closer to perfecting the technology and Google is leading them all with its AR software development kit or SDK known as ARCore.
What is Google ARCore?
ARCore is a Google software development kit that was first launched in 2018. Google ARCore, also known as ‘Google Play Services for AR’, allows developers to create augmented reality apps. It can have some important use cases and has been present in many smartphones from several manufacturers. Google ARCore works on most high-end and mid-range Android devices.
What is Project Tango?
At first, Google ventured into AR with Project Tango and was eventually discontinued after the launch of ARCore. Project Tango needed dedicated hardware with several cameras and special sensors. ARCore doesn’t need any special hardware as it can do everything with a smartphone’s camera and internal sensors. The new SDK is a much more scalable solution as it is compatible with almost any smartphone.
How does Google ARCore work?
Google ARCore uses SLAM or Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping to interpret where the device is located in the world around it by managing to compute location changes. ARCore can detect features that are visually distinct in the image captured by the camera. Then it uses those features points to know if the device has changed location and the features of the new location. ARCore uses these feature points to detect planes — horizontal or vertical surfaces and uses that for more context.
Lastly, visual information from the camera’s position and orientation, depending on the environment, paired with inertial measurements from the device’s sensors helps developers to render things over the camera feed and make it look like almost a part of the real world. ARCore can also detect the amount of light present on the plane and uses that context to make a rendered image look brighter or darker depending on the light that ARCore will think is hitting it.
Devices that are compatible with GoogleARCore
ARCore is designed to work on consumer devices with conventional camera setups. It depends on your phone camera and the motion sensors such as the gyroscope and the accelerometer. Google’s software tricks and ARCore’s series of fundamental concepts understand what the camera is seeing and provide an AR experience based on the information.
Google has no mandatory system requirements for ARCore-supported devices. According to a report by XDA Developers, a device at least needs Android 7.0 Nougat to run, however, some devices will need newer Android versions to run it.
Moreover, the company doesn’t publish system requirements for the platform as the ARCore support has to be manually toggled on by Google. Most smartphones are powerful enough to support ARCore effortlessly but the devices need to be manually certified by Google to ensure that the device is full compatibility to deliver an optimal ARCore experience.
Where is ARCore used?
The report suggests that Google is completely invested in this tech and one of the best examples of its use is the Measure app. The app was taken from Project Tango and the report adds that it was not precise but it could measure real-life things like people, dogs, and even trees by using your phone’s camera.
Apps like TikTok and Snapchat use ARCore’s technology on Android devices to enhance their in-app AR experiences including improving face detection.
Other apps like InkHunter allows users to try out a tattoo before booking an appointment. ColorSnap Visualizer gives users a preview of the colours of painted walls using AR before they paint their walls. It is used in study apps as well as games.
Pokémon GO started the trend of AR games when it came out in 2016. Other games like Jurassic World Alive, The Walking Dead: Our World, Five Nights at Freddy’s AR: Special Delivery and more also use AR. Google ARCore can also be used on iOS, but the number of apps that uses it on Apple devices is very low.


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