Top 3 SDK’s for Brands & Agencies Looking to Develop AR In-House in 2017

Top 3 SDK’s for Brands & Agencies Looking to Develop AR In-House in 2017


Now that Augmented Reality has crossed the “mainstream” threshold this year via the “Pokemon Go” effect, many Fortune 1000 brands & agencies are looking for best-in-class software & tools to allow them to start developing immersive AR experiences in-house.

Below I’ve listed 3 of the top Software Developer Kit’s (SDK’s) currently available in the market.



#1.)  Kudan develops Augmented Reality (AR) technology for mobile devices. They provide an SDK for iOS and Android that allows developers to easily implement professional Augmented Reality into their apps without any knowledge of Computer Vision. The good news is that Kudan’s technology integrates into existing mobile applications or stand-alones. Their AR Engine is the first to offer markerless tracking, meaning AR can be positioned anywhere in the world. Also, the SDK requires no data connection for its image recognition capability and 1000’s of images can reside on-device, resulting in a faster, better experience for the end-user. Their rendering engine allows for realistic 3D models with complex animations.

The most unique thing about the Kudan SDK, and the one feature that gives it an edge over every other Augmented Reality SDK is that it has the most robust single-camera SLAM.

SLAM is a computer vision technology that allows a device to track its position while simultaneously mapping its environment – and Kudan has one of the most readily deployable solutions. (The now-dark “Metaio” – acquired by Apple – also had robust single-camera SLAM support but is no longer publicly available, as did the Pointcloud SDK from 13th Lab which was acquired by Facebook/Oculus and which also went dark).


Kudan Demo Video

The Kudan functionality consists of:

  • Image recognition
  • Mapping additional elements on the base of user location and recognized images
  • Markerless tracking (instead of fiducial marks it relies on the use of natural features like the edges, corners, or textures)
  • Mapping additional elements via separate component over OpenGL

Kudan is faster than other frameworks. This library helps mobile AR apps to map multi-polygonal models in reality and import 3D models from one of the modeling software packages. In addition, the number of recognizing images is not limited and it requires less memory to storage files in a device.

Developers can use the basic documentation but the framework manual is short and needs additional information. Also, there is a chance that you can suffer from the limited built-in functionality without a direct access to OpenGL.



#2.) Vuforia SDK is loaded with the some exciting features including target tracking, multi-target detection, virtual buttons, extended tracking and Smart Terrain™. This SDK fosters the detection of multiple sorts of targets including images, objects, English text etc. It also allows apps to utilize databases through a local source or cloud especially when it comes to serving purposes of image recognition. This platform works well with iOS, Android and Unity. It also offers a separate version SDK for Microsoft Hololens which is presently traversing to its beta phase and is accessible for early applications designed by skilled developers


Vuforia for Hololens Demo Video

Being a complete SDK for augmented reality app development, Vuforia supports:

  • The detection of several kinds of targets (including objects, images, English text)
  • Target tracking
  • 2D and 3D recognition
  • Scanning real objects for recognition
  • Virtual buttons
  • Mapping additional elements via OpenGL
  • Smart TerrainTM, a capability to reconstruct a terrain in real time, creating a 3D geometric map of the environment
  • Extended Tracking, a capability that delivers a continuous visual experience even when the target is out of view
  • Microsoft Hololens integration capabilities

In particular, using Vuforia for detecting images, mobile apps can appeal to the data that are either local on the device or in the Cloud.

The main advantages of the framework include the support of virtual reality devices and a test app with comments showing the Vuforia abilities.

The use of cloud recognition has limitations in the free version of Vuforia. Also, a watermark appears in this version once a day.


#3.) Wikitude AR SDK supports image recognition and tracking, 3-D model rendering and animations (supports only the Wikitude 3-D format), video overlays, location-based tracking and image, text, button, video and HTML augmentations. Wikitude AR SDK is available for Android, iOS, Google Glass, Epson Moverio, Vuzix M-100 and Optinvent ORA1, and as a plugin for PhoneGap, a module for Titanium and a component for Xamarin.


Wikitude Demo Video

Wikitude library supports:

  • 2D and 3D recognition
  • Scanning real objects for recognition
  • 3D model rendering and animation
  • Location tracking
  • HTML augmentation

Using Wikitude, developers can create apps to reconstruct places at the virtual map or in the list, to do a search of events, tweets, Wiki articles, or to get the recommendations from other users. Besides a Wikitude-based app allows to receive mobile coupons, information about current specials, and also to play in AR games.

Wikitude can be used for Android and iOS, as a plugin for PhoneGap, a module for Titanium and a component for Xamarin. This framework is available for smart glasses Google Glass, Epson Moverio, Vuzix M-100 and Optinvent ORA1.

There is a free trial version for developers. When you want to use a complete version, be ready for regular payments. As for the documentation, it is well structured and detailed.

This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.

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