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How Does Web-Based Augmented Reality Work?

Over the last 5 years we have seen the advent and rapid growth of many game-changing technologies. One of these would have to be Augmented Reality (AR). If you’re reading this you probably have a vested interest and are already familiar with the tech, but on the off chance that this isn’t the case let’s break it down.

Web-based augmented reality (Web AR) is a term used to describe a type of augmented reality that does not require any downloaded software or applications. Rather, Web AR utilizes only a web browser in order to overlay digital content onto the real world.

One of the advantages of Web AR is that it can be used on a variety of devices, including phones, tablets, and laptops. This is because most web browsers are available on all of these devices. Additionally, since no additional software is needed, users do not have to go through the process of installing and configuring an application. It also does not require the user to download anything onto their phone like they would with a traditional application. Some people can be quite protective over their phone memory usage and this totally solves the issue.

However, nothing is perfect and everything comes with a trade-off. In the case of Web AR, the biggest drawback from this type of AR would have to be that it can be slower than traditional augmented reality applications to load. This is because the content needs to be rendered exclusively in the web browser, which can take time. Additionally, some features may not be available or work correctly in certain browsers. Thus it is not always possible to produce experiences with the same scale and level of detail as a traditional AR app. Not to mention Apple’s IOS policies are not exactly convenient for browser-based AR experiences.

 

Working With Web-Based Augmented Reality

AR (Augmented Reality) is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view. This can be done by using a device like a smartphone or tablet to view a digital asset that has been embedded with markers. When the user looks at the marker through their device’s camera, they will see the AR experience.

Augmented reality can be used in many different ways, such as for marketing, gaming, or education. Some businesses have started to use AR as a way to show customers what they would look like in a certain outfit or to show them what a new product would look like in their home. This technology can also be used to create more interactive gaming experiences and to help people learn new things faster. While discussing the working and function of Web AR, it is necessary to understand mobile sensors and computer vision. These are tiny chips with a specified function of informing the processor in a computer or a smartphone. They work to show the location, camera, gyroscope, and many more. Web AR uses these sensors and tracks the digital content within a physical environment.

There are certain requirements for WebAR to function. When an AR platform has the following things in check, it can provide you with the perfect 3D experience.

6DoF

This term refers to the Six Dimensions Of Freedom. It is actually the six aspects of positioning and locating an object that AR uses to create these digital experiences. A Web-based AR must have permission from your phone to use its three axes of orientation and three of position. When it has this permission, you can place any object into a real-world environment as a real object.

Camera Stream

The camera is another prerequisite for AR technology to function. It uses a camera stream as the real world input from which to layer the AR experience on top of. Any device with weaker camera functionality will lag or offer a lesser AR experience.

Scene Understanding

The way that you can achieve the levels of accuracy required to place any digital object in a manner that it genuinely looks real within the physical environment is via scene understanding of your phone. If you want to get a precise and more authentic experience of AR, you must have a phone or device with robust sensors to place the AR object properly. Moreover, it should not only place it correctly but also track and move it accordingly to have an entire real experience.

Cloud-Based CMS

A Content Management System is another necessity for any Web AR App. As mentioned before, with Web AR, the user does not download and store an app on their phone. Instead, a package of files is downloaded and accessed through the browser anytime the experience is opened. The CMS is where the application and all its files are stored. This is what connects with the browser and allows the user to access the AR experience. Without one it would not be possible. There are a number of solutions available that include this making the process much easier than it once was.

When discussing Augmented Reality applications, frameworks and AR tools are an inevitability. Since it is these frameworks that provide the AR function to begin with, and as such they are essential to understand. A framework, either app-based or web-based, allows developers to create augmented reality experiences with relative ease. There are a number of useful frameworks such as ARKit, React VR, and A-Frame. Each framework has its own advantages and disadvantages. In addition there are a number of providers that offer library extensions and SDKs that open up AR to even more development languages.

Zappar / ZapWorks

Zappar is the best and leading AR creative studio that helps businesses develop consumer focused AR experiences. It is a solution for many AR-related needs. Zapworks is good because it provides a robust set of tools for creating and deploying augmented reality experiences. It has a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to create and customize AR objects, and it also includes tracking and movement features that make the experience more realistic.

It has been totally designed with Web-based Augmented Reality experiences in mind, you don’t need to install any application to access your content. Simply put, use ZapWorks to create high-quality AR content directly within your web browser.

Over 6.5 billion users use the services of ZapWorks for AR content. Some of the features and functions that this framework offer include:

  • Face and image tracking,
  • World tracking,
  • Dynamic lightning,
  • Alpha video,
  • Instant publishing of the content, and many more.

Besides every perk and feature of ZapWorks, it also provides users with beneficial webinars and guides for an informed experience.

8th Wall

8th Wall is a platform that enables developers to create augmented reality experiences. It is one of the most user-friendly platforms available, and it makes it easy for anyone to create an augmented reality experience without being forced to learn new or complicated programming languages. 8th Wall also has a library of pre-made objects and animations that you can use in your projects, which makes it even easier to get started with.

It is also one of the leading Web AR frameworks among developers, and since being bought out by Niantic, the AR development studio that created Pokemon Go, it has really grown a lot. When it comes to regular AR apps it is certainly leading the pack with many advanced location based and multiplayer based functions included. can use this platform to develop and code an AR product once and deploy it to users globally for use.

Moreover, it has an in-built code editor and hosting with all of its additional features. The project templates, remote debugger, source control, etc., are extra features that make this platform one of the best.

X3DOM

X3DOM is another popular and handy platform that lets you deploy your AR content into web pages directly. The best part is that you can incorporate AR content during the coding process through the use of HTML embeds. Therefore, as a web developer, you don’t need to attain any other third-party SDKs or tools to do so. Deploying simple Augmented Reality experiences can be pretty simple thanks to X3DOM.

Vuforia

Vuforia is an AR platform that enables developers to create Augmented Reality (AR) experiences. Vuforia allows you to track and detect objects in the real world, and then overlay digital content on top of those objects allowing you to superimpose digital objects into the real world. It has been used in a wide range of applications, from gaming to product visualization.

However, this platform is not suitable for Web AR baded applications. Anything produced through Vuforia will ultimately need to be associated with a downloaded app for both iOS and Android. Furthermore, if you are a creative designer and developer trying to create magnificent AR content, its programming features will enable you to do so.

ARCore

A free AR development platform with every essential feature to ensure stable and high-quality Augmented Reality experiences. This platform is free on both Android and iOS systems. A few features of ARCore are motion tracking, light estimation, plane detection, etc. Similarly to Vuforia this is not suited for Web AR based experiences but is a very good tool if developing stand alone applications.

Summing Up

Web AR is a way of using augmented reality online through your web browser without the need to download any applications onto your device. It allows computer-generated images to be superimposed into the user’s view of the real world. A plethora of businesses and brands can utlise Web AR for marketing and engagement generation purposes. While web AR may not have all the same functionality as a regular AR app it still can create impressive AR experiences, especially with the help of providers like ZapWorks.

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