Augmented reality solution comparisons

Today I will be talking about augmented reality development and I will be exploring the differences between the three leading programmes available on the market at the moment.

Lets start with:

Blippar.com

Cost: free for educational use

User management: Can add as many users to blippar as required.

Dissemination:

  • Users download the app
  • Creators use a web interface

Capabilities: You can add icons or buttons which enable you to add sound, text, video, web links, calendar appointments, photos, pdf documents, email links etc.

All of the interaction icons can be animated. You can add layers of depth of information about the one image you are agumenting, so for example, using the image of the model head on the first layer you can add links to further information about a part of the model, which is then shown on one of the other layers over the image. So its like the initial layer is the contents page, leading to the pages of content.

Downside: You cannot put 3D models/information into Blippar. You can make a page very quickly and publish it

 

Layar.com

Cost: free for one page for 1 month

User management: Each user has to have their own account

Discounted packages:

  • £12:50 up to 25 pages
  • £8 more than 25 pages
  • Premium: £250 per month giving added features to the pro account including 3d models
  • 50% educational discount for the Layar premium account, which allows one to insert 3D models into the content

Dissemination:

  • Users download the app
  • Creators use a web interface

Capabilities: You can add icons or buttons which enable you to add sound, text, video, web links, photos, pdf documents, email links and even a poll etc.

All of the interaction icons can be animated in three basic ways. There is little more you can do with layar. Layar is part of the Blippar group.

Vuforia.com

Cost: Free

User management: Each user has to have their own account

Packages:

  • Starter which allows for unlimited device based image recognition
  • 1000 cloud based image recognitions
  • 1000 cloud image targets

Bronze: £70.31 a month

  • Unlimited device based image recognition
  • 10,000 cloud based image recognition
  • 100,000 cloud image targets

Dissemination:

  • Users download the app
  • Creators use Unity 3D

Capabilities: You can add anything that Unity can make or use such as animated 3D models, animated particles. One can also programme in javascript or c# polls, question banks, database connected apps. Also 2D content such as text, weblinks, video. Literally anything that Unity can do.

As far as development time it takes around the same time to make a vuforia app in Unity as it does with Layar and Blippar.

In Summary

Blippar

Great for academics to use as they can make up quick AR experiences for students to use. The learning curve is quite short and the developing interface is well laid out. There is extensive help and fantastic video tutorials on how to get started and how to make the most of your Blipps and its free for educational use. Blippar does work on apple devices.

Layar

More basic design tools, this does lead to a simple design interface. Layar does have an API and requires a skilled developer if you want to use it. The help is text based with an active developers forum. At a basic level it’s easy to use, it does lead to mounting costs the more pages you want to publish. Layar also works on ios devices.

Vuforia

Has endless capabilities and as such possibilities but does require that you are able to develop in Unity 3D, given that, the content is as rich and dynamic as you are able to make it. Unity isn’t for the faint hearted! The help is text based with an extensive developers forum. You can also use vuforia on video see through devices such as google cardboard and Samsung gear VR. Vuforia also has an SDK which adds even more possibilities for development. The cost is reasonable and even when using the free version you can achieve a great deal for your cohort. Vuforia works on apple devices too.

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