Friday, 11 April 2014

The 'Open' Augmented Web

In a recent blog post titled 'Getting Started with Augmented Reality in Education' I mentioned in my conclusion that one hope would be for an open standard.

I have read with great interest about the work that BuildAR are doing with their titled "Augmented Web".  BuildAR have been developing an open standards AR system, this means that you can embed AR into your website and use most new devices with the latest browsers on to access the AR material, rather than needing to download a specific app.  The browser also has no need for any plugins.

BuildAR says:
  • It's based on open web standards
  • It's built upon our open source awe.js library
  • It can support a wider range of 3D models
  • It can support a wider range of special effects
  • It can support 3D/spatialised audio
  • And best of all you can add it to your existing website
Below is an example of marker tracking running in standard production Chrome browser on a Nexus 4.

It's clear that in some ways, the Augmented Web is now where Mobile AR was back in 2010 and it's currently accelerating at an amazing pace. When you look at the interactivity and 3D capabilities, it's already equal to and in some cases beyond today's proprietary Mobile AR browsers. Furthermore, the fact that it runs in mainstream web browsers means it will rapidly be available to a much larger audience than proprietary Mobile AR ever was.
This development has huge potential and as BuidAR mention in the quote above there is a much larger available audience for AR content in an open web browser.

One current issue is for Apple users and the fact that Apple currently don't support the open WebGL standard that this new system.  There is growing need for open standards and the inclusion of WebGL on Apple devices.

Exciting times ahead, I will keep this blog updated of further developments.

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