Markerless tracking – like the one Wikitude announced with their new SDK early this year – is one of the most important features for AR applications in the past couple of years.
Why is that?
Because the current way we do it is not good (read more here: The dissappointing truth of AR metrics). Currently the user needs to have a pre-defined marker image available on a printed, non-reflective page at a size which is know to the app.
With the new tech above, which is sometimes called marker-less tracking or SLAM or instant tracking, the user does not need to have a pre-defined marker image available.
…because there is one. It’s scale. SLAM will position the virtual product in the real world by “scanning the room” and then inserting the 3D model of the product. However, in this augmentation determining the scale of the augmented model in relation to the real world objects in the room is not a trivial problem that the software already solves today. Instead, through a couple of tricks (like asking the user how tall he is) the scale can be approximated.
However, if the user enters wrong information the scale will be off and the software has no way to automatically report to the user that the generated image might not be an accurate representation.
Automatic error detection is not possible. Currently, no AR system can actually tell the user if the content it is displaying is displayed correctly in relation to the real world or not. The software is able to detect a couple of obivously wrong scenarios, like content is upside down (if content is aligned to gravity, using the accelerometer sensor), but that’is it. Wrong scale, especially, and wrong rotation cannot be detected.
So, what’s next?
Our team is on the job of integrating SLAM technology into the Vuframe® platform, which will make it instantly available to all our customers as a free upgrade.
However, as explained above there’s a couple of user experience and plausability issues which we have yet to address. We are currently running pilot programs with selected customers. Stay tuned for more updates.
In the meantime, if you are interested in marker-less Augmented Reality and think it’s critical for your application don’t hesitate to contact us to join our pilot program:
This article has been updated to properly display the “Another Drawback” section.