ARCore Location – Android Studio

During our Research & Development sessions, an area of recent focus has been AR (Augmented Reality). If you’re unfamiliar with AR then have a short read of this to see how it could positively impact your business.

Predominantly our research was focussed around the newly released ARKit on iOS. During that time, Google announced their AR platform – ARCore. We started exploring the capabilities of each platform. Some of our experiments were based on locating objects in the real world using AR. One of the things we found was lacking in ARCore was the ability to use real world coordinates in the AR space. Whereas Apple with ARkit has integrations with core-location, such as ProjectDent, at the time of writing, there’s no equivalent projects for ARCore (Android).

This is where ARCore-Location comes in. We’ve developed a handy toolkit for developers to render just about anything at a GPS coordinate in AR, with just a few lines of code. It comes packaged with two example renderers – one to render an annotation, as can be seen in the image to the right, and one to render an image.

We’ve shown how you can create and use your own renderers in our example, showing a 3D object rendered at GPS coordinates.

Several challenges are presented when attempting to build this technology. One of which is that mobile phone compasses only have an accuracy of about 15 degrees, even when calibrated. For most applications this is adequate, but when trying to superimpose markers over the real world it can be very problematic. This is a problem we haven’t resolved, and welcome your ideas on how best to do so! You can create an issue request, or if you’d like to directly contribute, you can make a pull request with your improvements.

The internal bearing of true north used by ARCorelocation can be adjusted using:

locationScene.setBearingAdjustment( locationScene.getBearingAdjustment() - 1 );

The example project makes use of this when tapping the edges of the screen, so the user can manually adjust the bearing for higher accuracy.

The library works by creating Anchors in the AR scene. ARCore seems to struggle with Anchors that are further away than 100m, so for optimal performance, ARCorelocation caps the distance of the actual object/marker in Anchor terms to 50 metres away. Anchors are re-drawn into the scene on a loop every 8 seconds, which means that if the device is travelling quickly, the user may be able to catch up with a marker which is supposed to be distant. This could be improved by detecting travelling within AR or with location data, and updating the Anchors after a distance threshold is reached.

Find the repository on Github: https://github.com/appoly/ARCore-Location

Old project without Sceneform? Try our legacy repository here: https://github.com/appoly/ARCore-Location/tree/legacy

Not a developer?

We’d love to help you with anything AR. Feel free to contact us, or read about what it is and how it could help your business.

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What is Augmented Reality & How Could it be Used in Business?

Image of a Phone Using Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is, without doubt, one of the more exciting technologies of the future. Over the coming years, we are likely to see it appear in many different forms that help with real use cases in a vast amount of areas, whether it’s educational institutions, construction, manufacturing, sports, the medical industry or even just at home in your living room. You can check out five examples of AR that really impressed the Appoly development team.

When Apple released iOS 11 back in September 2017 with ARKit it gave developers access to new tools and capabilities in millions of handsets. Google followed suit with its interpretation with ARCore, which allows select Android handsets to have AR capabilities.

Why then, is it so misunderstood?

 

The Difference Between Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

One of the main areas of confusion regarding augmented reality is the association it is often given to virtual reality. There is, however, a distinct difference between the two. Virtual reality places you in a completely virtual environment using screens, headsets, bodysuits etc. This is a different function to AR, which contains a mixture of your real-world environment and virtual objects.

To summarise:

Virtual RealityCompletely virtual environment.

Augmented RealityVirtual objects in a real-world environment.

 

How Does Augmented Reality Work?

In the case of a mobile application, it uses the cameras of the device to map out an environment. A key part is recognising where the walls and floor are, establishing the basic geometry of the space.

There are already many different systems and creative ways for augmented reality to work. Let’s explore a few of them:

  • Projectors – One of the most famous examples of augmented reality being used in media would have to be the Princess Leia hologram in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. While augmented reality and hologram technology aren’t completely the same, this example does give a good idea of what projection AR is like. Projector based AR is a very good option due to the fact that it cuts out the need for screens and can be 3D.

 

  • Marker AR – Marker AR uses a marker-based system, so you place markers such as dots, an image or a QR code onto the location that you’d like your virtual object to appear on and using a camera or image recognition the AR software will detect these markers and know where to place the virtual object.

 

  • Markerless AR – Markerless AR is one of the most commonly implemented forms of augmented reality, this is because it uses location sensors like as GPS and accelerometers, such as the ones built into most smartphones in order to detect your location and place the virtual object using that information.

 

  • Superimposed Augmented Reality – Superimposition AR is another fairly common form of AR which can partially or completely alter a real-world view with one that is partially superimposed (such as individual items added to the real view) or completely superimposed, where the whole image is a superimposed version of your real-world view.

 

How Could Augmented Reality be Used in the Real-World?

As AR technology advances further, it is sure to be picked up for some very interesting real-world uses. There are many industries that could stand to benefit from the advancement of this impressive technology in various ways.

A few examples of industries that could benefit from augmented reality technology are:

  • The Medical Industry – Augmented reality technology could be a great tool in training medical staff without putting any patients at risk, this is a great use of the technology since AR objects are fully interactive and the circumstances are easily changed in order to test medical students in various situations.

 

  • The Furniture Industry – For furniture companies and other home improvement companies alike, augmented reality is a great idea. Customers will be able to augment virtual furniture into their homes and choose which pieces they’d like to buy based on how it looks when augmented into their desired space.

 

  • Educational Institutions – The ways in which augmented reality technology could help in education are vast. Whether the technology is used to teach art, science, graphic design, it is clear to see how educational institutes could benefit in numerous ways from AR technology.

 

Contact Appoly for Augmented Reality Development

At Appoly we offer augmented reality software development services, if you’re looking to be a step ahead of the game with your business’ technology and processes, get in touch and we can discuss your potential augmented reality project.

 

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What is GDPR and How Will It Affect Your Business? – GDPR Simplified

Image of a Checklist

What is General Data Protection Regulation?

If you’re a business owner, you’re likely to have heard a lot of talk recently regarding GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), there has been a lot of speculation and confusion out there surrounding what GDPR is and what it will mean for business owners.

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. It is a new set of rules being put in place on May 25th 2018 by the European Union (EU) and as such, all EU countries will have to follow these regulations by the enforcement date. For EU businesses this is very important as these guidelines are being put in place to regulate what businesses/companies can do with public data and how they are allowed to collect it.

In this article, we will explore exactly what regulations will be put into place with the implementation of GDPR, what they mean for you, what the repercussions of breaching regulations will be and how you can ensure that your business is compliant.

What Types of Data Does the GDPR Act Regulate?

GDPR regulates how you collect and use two types of data:

  • Personal Data – Any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (‘data subject’); an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person. *
  • Sensitive Personal Data – Data consisting of racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, or trade union membership, genetic data, biometric data, data concerning health or data concerning a natural person’s sex life or sexual orientation. *

(*Legal Definition)

Which New General Data Protection Regulations Affect My Business? – A GDPR Checklist

There are a few main ways in which the General Data Protection Regulation act differs from the Data Protection Act. If you are already compliant with current data protection laws, these are the new things that you’ll need to consider:

  • Consent – You must always have clear consent from an individual in order to use their personally identifiable information (PII). This consent must be positive and unambiguous. You must not allow somebody the opportunity to accidentally opt-in by using leading tactics such as pre-ticked opt-in boxes and other similar methods.
  • Data Protection Officers – For many companies, it will become mandatory that you have a data protection officer in place. This applies to you if you have 250+ staff members, if you are a public authority, if you deal with sensitive data or your main focus is data.
  • Individual Rights – The new GDPR regulations have a strong focus on strengthening the rights of individuals, individuals must now be made aware of a breach of their data within 72 hours of the breach occurring. They must also be given the right to have their data deleted, ported or to have the usage of it restricted. You should also ensure that you’re only collecting personal data when it is necessary for the benefit of the individual or in order to fulfil a contract between you and the individual.
  • Fining – The maximum fine for a breach is now either €20 million or 4% of your annual turnover, depending on which figure is largest.
  • Documentation – It is now going to be vital that you keep evidence of all your data protection systems and activities. You must be able to provide proof via documentation that you have taken the necessary steps to assess data breach risks and prevent a breach from occurring. You will also need to have evidence showing what you’re doing with personal data, how you’re handling it and that you have clear consent to hold and use all personal information within your systems.
  • Liability – GDPR rules state that all parties involved with handling, transferring and/or using an individual’s data are responsible to take liability for that data. This means that if you are receiving an individual’s data from a third-party, you must ensure that they properly received consent for that data and handled it correctly.

Will GDPR Still Apply to the UK After Brexit?

Simply put, yes, the new data protection regulations put in place by the EU will still apply to those in the UK after leaving the European Union unless the UK government decide to opt-out of or alter any of the existing GDPR regulations.

Conclusion

As stated above, GDPR regulations are similar to the Data Protection Act that is already in place, only with several new regulations to consider if you’re a business owner. If you already abide by the current data protection laws, you’ll only need to follow these new additional rules in order to ensure that you’re compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation act.

Disclaimer

At Appoly, we do not offer licensed or professional legal advice and as such, this article should be used for research purposes only. We do not take any responsibility for the operations of other individuals or businesses. If you are unsure of anything discussed in this article, please do your research and/or seek licensed legal advice.

You may also wish to review the regulations directly on the GDPR official website.

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