Let’s imagine we’re building a new ultra-modern urban neighbourhood where intelligent, creative integration of mobile technologies is critical to the project’s success. We were eager to think about creating the first major step of the journey — a creative and immersive sales phase.
Let’s see how mobile technologies can help buyers imagine what their future home would look like, helping them make the decision.
See the Future with Augmented Reality
What if we could create a mobile app that allows potential customers to take a tour of their future neighbourhood? Augmented Reality (AR) is the perfect technology to make it real. Everyone visiting the construction site can glance into the future via a mobile application. Through the app, future residents would be able to see what the community would look like when fully constructed.
A more ideal experience would allow users to walk freely around these homes that don’t yet exist rather than viewing them from a single vantage point. In technical language, it implies a requirement to support all 6 degrees of freedom (6-DoF) for device movement tracking. This is a very challenging technical constraint due to the high data noise of mobile sensors (accelerometer, gyro compass, magnetometer, and GPS) and lack of 6-DoF tracking support in native iOS and Android SDKs.
Looking for Solutions
Meta.io and 13th Lab were the first SDKs which demonstrated production-ready support of 6-DoF tracking, but recently both products were acquired by Apple and Oculus (subsequently Facebook), respectively, and became unavailable for external usage. These acquisitions demonstrate strong interest in 6-DoF AR technology from industry giants and the high algorithmic complexity of 6-DoF tracking on mobile devices.
Google’s Project Tango is amazing AR technology with very reliable 6-DoF tracking. Our team has followed Tango’s updates since its first announcement at Google I/O 2014. With no doubt, Tango could work perfectly as a solution to build the desired experience. To Google’s advantage, Tango is not supported on Apple devices, and even within Google’s own ecosystem, currently there is only one Tango-ready consumer device (Lenovo’s Phab 2).
Speaking of multi-platform solutions, Kudan AR SDK has strong performance data. It supports complex augmented reality features with relative ease, supporting all high-end iOS and Android devices. Kudan is based on simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) algorithms—the same mathematical foundation utilized by Project Tango.
Our team investigated many other AR frameworks (including such popular frameworks as Vuforia, Wikitude and Aurasma) and conducted practical experiments, but consistently, each framework’s test results were far behind Tango and Kudan AR.
Proofs of Concept
As a final step, our team has implemented two proofs of concept using both Tango and Kudan AR SDKs. We’ve built all major aspects of the desired experience. The prototypes allow user to freely walk around an augmented object (such as house models). Watch the video below to see it in practice.
Today, we can use Kudan AR and Project Tango to enable real estate customers to envision how a building will look as soon as it has been designed, reducing uncertainty and driving sales.
Both Project Tango and Kudan AR are suitable to be chosen as a production solution depending on the particular AR project’s requirements.
Project Tango demonstrates the best overall quality of 6-DoF tracking, though currently supports only one consumer device. Conversely, Kudan AR supports all modern iOS and Android devices and yields to Tango only in some specific edge cases, such as in environments with dynamic objects or heavy weather conditions.