Note: I do not have first hand experience developing with the SDK’s reviewed at Augmented Reality News. I pull factual information from the developers website to form an opinion and provide a review.
Qualcomm’s Vuforia Augmented Reality (AR) SDK is a solid SDK with robust development options. They supply a cloud recognition service you can use to process image recognitions. Also, they have a target manager you can use to upload your targets. Vuforia also supports the Unity game engine and Native SDK’s for Android and iOS. The Vuforia AR extension allows developers to create AR apps using Unity. Both Unity standard and Unity pro are compatible with the AR extension.
One of the pro’s of Vuforia’s SDK is that it appears to have a straightforward setup process. They provide information that will help you set-up your development environment, install the appropriate SDK Version and build a sample app. There are a variety of SDK versions including Unity Extension, Android Native SDK, and iOS Native SDK.
The step by step process to getting started:
- Register for Vuforia
- Log in to the Target Manager
- Accept Vuforia Cloud Recognition Service Agreement
- Download the SDK
- See CloudReco Sample App
- Create Cloud Target Database or use VWS API and start managing your target
Cloud Recognition Service
There are two options for hosting and managing your targets. You can use either the Target Manager or Web Service API.
The Target Manager is an online tool for creating and managing both Device Databases and Cloud Databases. These two database types enable you to choose how your targets are hosted and deployed to your app.
Vuforia Web Service API
The Vuforia Web Service API is a REST based API that enables you to integrate existing Content Management Systems to manage and update your target images without having to update your apps. Vuforia recommends you use the web service API if you have a large number of targets to manage.
Vuforia pricing is based on “recos” or recognitions. Whenever their cloud recognition service matches a target image, a recognition is counted. There are 4 pricing tiers based on recognitions and targets. There is no cost to test your application while in development which includes 1,000 recognitions/mth. and 1,000 targets.
Here’s their pricing tiers:
|1,000 Targets||1,000,000 Targets||1,000,000 Targets||–|
There are two options if you’re in need of support for Vuforia. Option 1 is a support forum where you post a question and hope to receive an answer. Option 2 is there “find a developer” program where they will help you find a preferred Vuforia Developer. I would like to see Vuforia offer some in-house support for their application since they have a cloud based target manager required to run the image recognition.
Vuforia’s AR SDK gets 4 out of 5 stars. It’s an enterprise class solution that can be used by anyone developing an Augmented Reality application. Vuforia is backed by Qualcomm so you can rest assured. They’ll be around for a while.
Vuforia loses a star due to the lack of in-house support. I would like to see Vuforia offer some phone or email support. It’s not practical to try and establish a relationship with one of their recommended developers in the early stages of development. When you’re exploring your options, I feel you don’t want to bring someone else into the project. I also would not want to post a question that contains proprietary information on a support forum.
If you have any questions about Vuforia, reach out in the comments section and i’ll try my best to help and provide you with an answer!