Android ARCore update brings snapshot access, masks, patterns

Chris Burns - Feb 15, 2019, 2:43 pm CDT
Android ARCore update brings snapshot access, masks, patterns

This Friday the folks behind ARCore reminded developers that Android is a virtual playground of augmented reality tricks and tools. Evan Hardesty Parker, Software Engineer at Google working with ARCore, revealed a bit about the latest update to ARCore this afternoon. In version 1.7 of ARCore, Hardesty suggests that they are “focused on creative elements like AR selfies and animation” and are aiming to assist developers in improving the “core user experience” in their AR apps.

The most radical update to ARCore is clearly the Augmented Faces API. This toolset allows developer to place a 468-point 3D mesh on the face of the user. Take THAT Snapchat. Actually really DO take that, Snapchat – they’ll be able to use the API just as much as anyone else. Augmented Reality Selfies will just be available in a big way to more than just the place where the majority are made – that is Snapchat.

With the Augmented Faces API, developers will be able to do things like add a virtual hat to a user. They’ll be able to give a user a virtual, animated mask, glasses, and a whole bunch of “skin retouching” bits and pieces. This Augmented Faces API toolset only works with the front-facing camera on Android devices, so far, for whatever odd reason. We’re expecting a whole lot more backside functionality later this year with ToF (time of flight) sensors go into vogue.

ARCore 1.7 also adds new AU AI elements (ARCore Elements) into the ARCore SDK for Unity. Using ARCore Elements, developers will be able to insert AR interactive patterns into apps with great ease, or “without having to reinvent the wheel,” as Hardesty put it. There’s an app for that called ARCore Elements if you’d like to see what developers are able to access, right now, too.

Probably the most universally useful addition to the toolset is Shared Camera Access. With this tool, developers will be able to “pause an AR experience, access the camera, and jump back in” This will allow AR elements to be photographed without the user needing to take a screenshot.

You can expect all this stuff to go live in your favorite augmented reality apps in the immediate future. Real quick, as soon as developers make it happen.

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