Top 7 picks and reviews

If the world of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and artificial intelligence still feels foreign to you, you’re probably not alone. So if you’re just starting to explore augmented reality experiences, read this guide to find out the best reality software options you can choose from for the perfect experience.

The 7 Best Augmented Reality Software of 2023

What are augmented reality programs?

Augmented reality software allows for augmented reality experiences in tablets, phones, and more. Software programs allow developers to create augmented reality applications that take computer-generated graphics and visuals and appear as if they were in a real environment when used with augmented reality tools and devices.

How do augmented reality programs work?

AR SDKs work in conjunction with AR headsets, a mobile device, smart glasses, tablets, and other hardware to create physical worlds based on computer renderings of these objects. With sensors, animation software, and more, the best augmented reality software can create augmented reality experiences as easily as video games.

phoforia

phoforia

  • Widely used by developers
  • Supports high-quality, scalable augmented reality environments
  • It can be developed for free, and pay when publishing
ARKit

ARKit

  • Good for location-based augmented reality experiences
  • Up to three faces can be tracked simultaneously
  • Depth API creates virtual and augmented reality images
wiki

wiki

  • The drag and drop editor is easy to use
  • Editing is possible even outside of the AR environment
  • Wide gallery of items to choose from
ARCore
  • Powered by tech giants Google
  • Realistic-looking photos with light estimation
  • A great tool for collaborating on augmented reality projects
Kudan

Kudan

  • The platform supports tagless tracking
  • Works even on older devices
  • Available on both Android, Mac OS and iOS devices
ARToolKit

ARToolKit

  • Easy to connect with Unity game engine
  • Great video tracking feature
  • Great for projects of all sizes
SketchFab

SketchFab

  • The 3D modeling capabilities support many different use cases
  • Great collaboration features
  • Easy to set up and get started

The 7 best augmented reality programs January 2023

The best augmented reality software

phoforia

Vuforia is an AR solution that helps you create realistic digital objects for AR experiences due to its top of the line features that allow you to track in real time. Other key features throughout the development process make it easy to use, and it’s free throughout the development process until it’s published.

  • It is widely used by developers creating an AR experience
  • Supports high-quality, scalable virtual and augmented reality environments
  • It’s free to develop, and pay when you publish to an AR or other smart device
  • There can be a delay when rendering an object to AR content
  • You may not get much support for new features
  • It can take a while to recognize things in the dark

The Vuforia Engine is a good way to create high-quality AR experiences. Using computer vision and AI-powered tools, makers can track objects in real time for real-world deliveries as virtual objects.

While they don’t technically have a free version, you can develop on Vuforia Engine for free, and only pay once you publish. Overall, users love Vuforia Engine because it is a reliable software and an easy-to-use tool for scalable projects.

ARKit

Apple’s ARKit is a very good augmented reality technology for using geolocation in augmented reality experiences. Recently, their motion tracking and face tracking capabilities have become more advanced, further blurring the lines between the physical world and the digital world.

  • Good for location-based augmented reality experiences
  • Up to three faces can be tracked simultaneously
  • Depth API creates virtual and augmented reality images
  • There is no free trial
  • Limited to recent iOS devices only

ARKit helps developers create AR experiences centered around real-life businesses, landmarks, and even entire cities.

This is a great way to create AR applications that want to display realistic graphics that are familiar to users from the physical world. Packages include well-known locations such as some of the largest cities from around the world and landmarks such as Time Square and the London Eye.

wiki

Wikitude, the AR development arm of Qualcomm, is one of the leading names in AR experiences for mobile devices. Their augmented reality software can be used on multiple devices, including mobile phones, smart glasses, and tablets.

  • The drag and drop editor is easy to use
  • Editing is possible even outside of the AR environment
  • Wide gallery of items to choose from
  • There is no free version
  • Prices may be beyond the reach of all developers

Wikitude is widely used and is an Augmented Reality SDK (Software Development Kit). Its core product, Wikitude AR SDK, and other products support thousands of different developers, apps, brands, and more to bring their augmented reality apps to life.

ARCore

ARCore from Google is a great software option if you want to create an augmented reality experience. Due to the support provided by Google, it is well supported on a number of devices.

  • Powered by tech giants Google
  • Realistic looking images with mobile phone light appreciation feature
  • A great tool for collaborating on augmented reality (AR) projects
  • Scanning real-world objects for the virtual world may take some time
  • Depth sensing is not as advanced as the others

Created by Google as a response to Apple’s ARKit, ARCore is an AR toolkit consisting of several cool features to help develop AR applications. There are many different APIs that developers can access from the software, including using a mobile phone to sense the surroundings and overlay it with digital content.

It’s easy to use and great for collaboration, and many users indicate that it has the best light estimation feature compared to other similar solutions.

Kudan

Kodan is a great professional tool for those who create augmented reality experiences. Key features such as tagless tracking and high-speed usage make it one of the best platforms available today.

  • The platform supports tagless tracking
  • Works even on older devices
  • Available on both Android phones and iOS devices
  • This AR toolkit is not as easy to use as other AR apps
  • Steeper learning curve to get started

Kudan is available with both Android and iOS devices, and users don’t even need the latest devices, as Kudan is supported even on older models.

The platform is particularly useful for those creating augmented reality experiences that work across platforms. Therefore, it is supported by not only one operating system, which makes it a great way to develop AR applications that will be widely released in the market.

ARToolKit

ARToolKit

Read ARToolKit reviews

ARToolKit is a tracking library for augmented reality projects that creates realistic augmented reality objects for applications. Users like the video tracking features that can monitor objects in real time for more realistic experiences.

  • Easy to connect with Unity game engine
  • Great video tracking feature
  • Great for projects of all sizes
  • Load times can be slow
  • Sometimes the image quality could be better
  • The nature of open source can make it less stable than other cloud software

ARToolKit is loved by many as a way to track objects through the video tracking feature to present realistic-looking movements and objects in VR to improve customer satisfaction with the experience. It’s easy to use, developers can place a black square or other regular image in front of the camera and overlay 3D objects and models on top.

SketchFab

SketchFab is a great tool for building augmented reality apps with a team, and rendering virtual 3D objects.

  • The 3D modeling capabilities support many different use cases
  • Great collaboration features
  • Easy to set up and get started
  • Adding textures to 3D models can be challenging

SketchFab’s collaboration capabilities are what sets the platform apart from others. It is specially designed to help developers create an augmented reality app with 3D shapes. Teams can collaborate on these projects together, which other AR tools don’t support.

All operating systems are supported in SketchFab, which is why it has become widely popular among professionals in this field. In addition, the initializer can easily be embedded with an HTML tag, so that only the appropriate people with the appropriate authorization can view the project before it is ready for the public.

Benefits of using AR software

There are many reasons developers might want to use AR software, beyond just gaming and entertainment. Let’s take a look at some of the uses of such software.

Product Show

Using augmented reality software can allow users to see products from online stores in realistic 3D versions before they are actually purchased. This can show what the item will look like in your home so you can make informed purchasing decisions.

Training new employees

Sales and marketing teams and other leadership roles may be training new employees using augmented reality, especially today as remote work is becoming more common. This gives you an opportunity to make training more practical and effective, even from a distance.

Improve work performance

You can also use augmented reality software to help improve work performance by giving employees better ways to train and prepare for real-life events before they happen. This may include playing sales roles with virtual avatars, hands-on experience with a company’s product or solution, and other use cases.

How much does AR software cost?

The cost of AR software can range from those that have a free version, to others that are much higher such as the Wikitude world browser app. In any case, you can expect to spend a few hundred dollars a year to gain access to these programs.

Final thoughts

Finding the right AR software for building AR experiences can be very important for developers. They need to find ones that support the types of visuals they’re trying to create, while also finding one that’s affordable, like one that offers a free version. This is still a new field, so new platforms will continue to emerge, although the above platforms remain the best options in the industry today.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is mixed reality?

This refers to the combination of the physical and digital worlds, and is often what AR software aims to capture.

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