There has been speculation recently on the future dominance of augmented reality (AR) over virtual reality (VR). With the release of Apple’s ARKit and some of the remarkable proof-of-concept demos that have come out of that. One company thinks that the Apple ARKit is just the start, and are reaching further with the Escher Reality AR toolkit.
An MIT spin-off, the minds behind Escher Reality believe strongly in the social potential of AR. The project predates the launch of the ARKIt, and even predates the launch of Pokemon Go, the app that made many people realise the potential of AR. Initially, the company was something of a ‘side-project’ for the founders, currently CEO Ross Finman and CTO Diana Hu before they decided to go full-time in November 2016.
“Keep in mind this was before Pokemon Go,” says Finman, “Everyone thought we were crazy at that time, and now this summer it’s the summer for mobile augmented reality… ARKit has been the best thing ever for us.”
Escher Reality’s toolkit aims to offer more than what Apple’s ARKIt is currently capable off, trying to bridge the gap between Android and iOS: “Think about the problem of what ARKit doesn’t provide you,” adds Hu. “If you’ve seen a lot of the current demos outside, they’re okay-ish, you can see 3D models there, but when you start thinking longer term what does it take to create compelling AR experiences? And part of that is a lot of the tooling and a lot of the SDK are not there to provide that functionality. Because as game developers or app developers they don’t want to think about all that low level stuff and there’s a lot of really complex techs going on that we have built.”
The team at Escher Reality team are currently offering support for Android, but eventually hope to expand as AR builds in popularity and relevance. A video demo of the sort of things the company hope to offer is available to view below.
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