Apple, move over: Google was able to greatly improve augmented reality

At one time, virtual reality was very popular in the world. People literally dreamed of her, finding solutions to all problems. As a result, it turned out that technology cannot replace everything without exception, and its substitute “for every day” is augmented reality. Many companies are fighting to implement this idea, but the most successful Apple. At some point, it seemed that others underestimated the prospects of this technology and did not spend as much effort and money on the development of AR as the Cupertinians. Now Google has proven otherwise and has shown that it can do good AR too. And how can he!

Apple, move over: Google was able to greatly improve augmented reality

Augmented reality will soon be everywhere. You just need to develop it.

What is occlusion in augmented reality

It happens that in the world of high technologies there are terms from other branches of science and technology. They are borrowed due to the fact that they fit so well that it makes no sense to invent their counterparts. One example of such words is “occlusion”. This term is widely known in dentistry, but has now found use in the field of augmented reality. It was remembered before, but now Google has shown how it can be achieved using a regular phone.

In the AR world, occlusion is the ability of some objects to hide behind other objects. When we look at the world through an augmented reality application, the camera does not matter whether there are objects in front of it or not. For her, it's just a flat picture on which you need to superimpose an augmented reality image. If you use AR in a spare room, then everything is fine, but if you get in the way of a person or furniture, all the magic is lost.

In order to achieve occlusion, ideally it is necessary to use special means, such as minilidar in the new iPad Pro (to obtain a three-dimensional picture of space), but not everyone has this opportunity, and for a long time manufacturers could not achieve normal positioning objects.

Apple, move over: Google was able to greatly improve augmented reality

The camera of this tablet has a special sensor, but why it is needed is not completely clear.

Augmented reality from Google

Since last year, Google has been testing improved depth sensing capabilities in its ARCore platform, allowing digital objects in augmented reality to hide behind real-world obstacles. The company is now promoting the ARCore Depth API to a variety of compatible phones.

The depth API allows phones to generate maps of the volume of space without the need for special equipment and additional sensors, such as infrared and depth sensors. In fact, all the user needs is a regular smartphone camera and nothing else – everything else will be done through the software.

Depth maps that the software builds provide features like the aforementioned occlusion capability where digital objects are hidden behind real-world objects. Examples of such objects can be many: trees, cars, people, or just walls behind which the characters of the game or cognitive setting will hide.

Apple, move over: Google was able to greatly improve augmented reality

Even a regular smartphone camera should be able to use AR.

What is ARCore Depth API for?

The ARCore Depth API also allows you to use not only the depth of the scene to hide objects behind parts of the real world, but also allows you to use real objects to build physics of movement. For example, characters can move up stairs, jump over objects, bounce off obstacles. Even light in the augmented reality world can bounce off real walls in a room. Google launched the ARCore Depth Lab app on the Google Play store to showcase these new features.

The search giant has confirmed that Snapchat also supports the new technology by offering depth-sensing APIs. Apps like TeamViewer Pilot and Samsung Quick Measure for the Galaxy Note 10 Plus and S20 Ultra also use the ARCore Depth API. And also an experimental Google Lines of Play app from Google.

Apple, move over: Google was able to greatly improve augmented reality

Galaxy S20 Ultra rightfully enjoys exclusive chips.

Augmented reality perspectives

It is still difficult to say how much the technology will spread and how far from the set point developers can go in implementing their ideas, but the beginning is already impressive. It turns out that what (we were told) hinders the development of augmented reality technologies does not actually hinder them? I mean those stories that it is impossible to build a depth map without expensive sensors. As you can see, you don't need anything for this except a smartphone camera and normal software with artificial intelligence functions.

If this goes on, augmented reality will come to us much faster than we previously thought. There will be no need to complicate and make the construction of the means of reproduction more complicated, and there will be no need to spend additional efforts on the creation of complex equipment. You just have to install special software on the devices, which will get better and better.

However, lidars will still not be superfluous, but just imagine how they will work in conjunction with such software as the one that we have considered in this article.

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