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ARToolkit: Pioneer in Augmented Reality Software Development Kits

Originally developed in 1999, by Hirokazu Kato of Nara Institute of Science & Technology and released by University of Washington, ARToolkit was one of the earliest AR software development kits. DAQRI acquired ARToolkit, with the open-source version 5.2 released on May 13, 2015. OSGART( ARToolkit and OpenSceneGraph), ARDesktop( 3D desktop interface), ARAM( Augmented Reality for Application on Medical field), and AndAR( Java API for Android Platform) are a few spinoffs based on ARToolkit. GitHub currently hosts the software for free download.

Programmers use Augmented Reality ToolKit to design AR applications for academic research, industrial, and entertainment uses. “Complete access to the computer vision algorithm allows you to modify the source code to fit your specific application.” ARToolkit supports Android, iOS, Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and plug-in for Unity3D. Stereo and optical see-through is included, aiding in development for smart glasses. Techniques are employed, for “calculating the user’s viewpoint in real time so that the virtual images are exactly aligned with real world objects.” This enables speedy development of various AR applications. Natural feature tracking is complete with hi-speed multi-res tracker, feature-detector surface recognition initializer, and suite of command tools and libraries. Strong camera calibration, multiple languages, and complete OpenSceneGraph support are also included.

If you’re a developer interested in designing augmented reality applications, whether it be for color books, industrial purposes, or conquering the world, ARToolkit is a complete package that provides the solution for working with virtual objects in a real environment. By the time AR becomes mainstream, there is going to be a plethora of applications for various purposes available. But a very important question remains: How will people adapt to Augmented Reality?

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