Editor’s Note: The following article is reprinted from Macworld UK. Visit Macworld UK’s blog page for the latest Mac news from across the Atlantic.
Billed as world-wide leader in augmented reality technology, Metaio has launched its Unifeye Mobile Software Development Kit (SDK) 2.1 for iPhone, following Apple’s approval process. The new camera API access and gyroscope on the iPhone 4 has opened up the opportunity to do real augmented reality campaigns on the smartphone, Metaio says.
According to the company, the update takes full advantage of the iPhone iOS 4 camera access API to create image based augmented reality experiences on the iPhone, the world’s first and only software development kit for creating mobile augmented reality applications.
The kit supports all major platforms including Apple, Android, Symbian and Windows Mobile, and should enable developers and brands to offer “magical AR experiences,” according to Metaio insists. Based on the software platform Unifeye, 3D-animations can be integrated seamlessly into live-video streams respectively into pictures of the user’s real environment.
Multimedia experiences can be triggered by images, product packages, signs, posters, magazines or newspaper pages or any other object around the user, Metaio says.
“With Apple’s inclusion of access to the live camera data, we can now utilise our mobile SDK to allow developers and brands to take full advantage of augmented reality experiences on the iPhone,” said Peter Meier, CTO of Metaio.
“Until today developers were limited in creating rich and interactive augmented reality experiences on the iPhone due to restricted access to the live camera data in the iPhone SDK. The lack of image based recognition has led to a proliferation of augmented reality apps using GPS as the only tracking mechanism, which made certain experiences impossible,” Meier added.
“Now, not only may the user obtain information on nearby POIs like shops, restaurants or train stations, but also the camera’s eye is now able to identify objects and to ‘glue’ object-specific real-time, dynamic, social and 3D information onto the object itself.”
For developers, Metaio’s junaio mobile augmented reality browser’s open API allows them to creating their own AR applications. It’s also easy to use, requiring only basic programming knowledge, for example XML and server side programming such as PHP.
Available from the App Store, junaio requires the iPhone 3.1 Software Update or later. The free application lets users flip through various channels from culture, gaming, shopping, food, news, nightlife, travel and discover information around you by pointing your iPhone. Users can also create their own channel and publish it for all to share.
Founded in February 2003, Metaio is headquartered in Munich with the subsidiaries located in San Francisco and Seoul, with BMW, Daimler, Siemens, Toyota, Peugeot, EADS, Bertelsmann, LEGO, MINI, Popular Science, Focus Features and Volkswagen amongst the company’s clients.