Qualcomm has a new development platform that will help make the real world a little more interesting when viewed through a VR lens. Their new Vuforia SDK might just be the thing that finally enables developers to take augmented reality firmly out of the realm of gimmick and into the future.
The SDK will work with a number of eye-worn wearable tech devices, like the ODG R-7, Epson Moverio BT-200, and, perhaps better known, the new Samsung Gear VR. The big advance here is going to be object recognition in the real world. Until now, augmented reality has mainly been about adding things to our field of vision in contextual ways, like bringing up information about a restaurant using GPS information. This new SDK will lead to apps that can recognize individual objects and make them interactive in ways that aren’t possible in the physical world.
For example, imagine going into a museum, and instead of picking up an audio guide, grabbing a pair of VR glasses. As you walk through the exhibits, you’ll see related images and information about each piece of art, because the software can identify each piece. Or, imagine taking a vacation, looking at a famous landmark, and seeing architectural details and historical information alongside it. We could even see apps that let people see the ins and outs of vehicle engines during repairs. None of this is necessarily in the offing or possible with the current SDK, but it’s where this kind of technology is headed.
As we’ve seen in the last year, Qualcomm has really been taking the lead in exploring the potential of augmented reality, so it’s a good bet that they’ve got a solid platform here. Now, the only thing to do is wait to see what developers can do with it.