Have you ever wondered how Augmented Reality works? How can Augmented Reality content be placed in real-life environment? Why can we place some contents on the ground, while the others rely on markers?

Today in AR Insights, we're going to take a quick overview of the different types of markers. Some of these are already supported by our app, while the other is... well, still on our wishlist. Having a better understanding on how markers work will help you find the best way to present your ideas in AR.

So what is a marker, exactly?

Image recognition is an important part of Augmented Reality systems. To run an AR view, a device needs to recognize a 'base' in real world where a content can be placed. Marker-based AR is the most popular and versatile form of Augmented Reality today. It anchors AR contents to some forms of visual marker that can be found in real life.

A good example of how marker-based AR can be used is Augmented Reality books. To attach an educational animation right onto a page in a textbook, we need to know that a user is pointing the camera right at that particular page. This can be achieved by placing a distinctive image which the device can recognize. Our Generate Marker feature allows you to do this.

If the live camera is pointed towards the page, the animation can start immediately, tracked to the appropriate place on the page. The user can also move the book around and see the AR graphics stick to the real surface of the page.

Recent development of AR has led to markerless AR. This approach allows the use of any and all parts of your physical environment as the base for the placement of your 3D content. Simply put, you can place your 3D objects freely! This is particularly useful when you want to see how an object look in different environment and settings. An example of this is placing a virtual furniture in a room to see how it fits. Some devices can even recognize flat surfaces and identify it as the 'ground', so the AR object will sit there instead of floating in the air.

Assemblr allows you to do a lot of markerless application, however some older devices haven't supported markerless AR yet. These devices still need to identify markers in your environment first to place your creation. So instead of scanning the ground, these devices will look for a visual marker (e.g. a pattern on the floor) and automatically memorize it in the system. The content will be anchored to this pattern. When your camera doesn’t detect the identified marker, for example when you pull your camera away from the pattern, your object will disappear from the view.

The last type of trigger for AR is geolocation. Location-based AR ties Augmented Reality content to a specific location. A useful application of this is a navigation guide tied to a specific street. You might also be familiar with a more popular example of location based AR that is Pokemon Go. To make sure the digital AR content appears in exactly the right place, your device must accurately figure out its location. A combination of GPS and the compass sensor on your smartphone might be used to achieve this.

Assemblr hasn't supported geolocation-based AR, however we're currently working to make it happen. After all, wouldn't it be exciting if you can run a treasure hunt, allowing people to look for a specific object in a specific place?

So that's all 3 types of Augmented Reality marker explained. To start creating your own Augmented Reality content, download Assemblr now on App Store or Play Store, and have fun!