Google joined the Augmented Reality (AR) league with Project Tango, but even after being around two years, only two Tango-powered devices were launched. But that is mostly due to the hardware requirements. Apple figured a way around with the ARKit, which does not require the triple camera sensor for AR to work. Late last month, Google also announced ARCore, software development kit (SDK), which will allow developers to bring AR based apps for new and existing smartphones.
ARCore, being in the early phase, there are only three supported devices – Google Pixel, Pixel XL and the Samsung Galaxy S8. Google is also looking to enable ARCore for 100 million devices that run on Android 7.0 Nougat and above. Now, thanks to crafty Android developers (via BeeBom), someone has managed to modify the ARCore Service APK file to work on many other Android smartphones. If you want to give it a try, follow the instructions below. ALSO READ: ARCore, Google’s answer to Apple ARKit released
Getting ARCore on any Android smartphone
To begin with, head over to Settings > About Phone > Build Number and keep tapping on it for seven times. This is enable ‘Developer Options’ on your smartphone. ALSO READ: ARKit: A definitive leap towards making augmented reality mainstream
Under Settings, head over to Developer Options and enable USB Debugging. You will also need to enable installing APKs from ‘Unknown Sources.’ The option is present under Settings > Security.
Download the modded ARCore Service APK file from here. Next, you’ll need to download Hello AR app from here, which is ARCore based demo app. After both the apps are downloaded, install them and reboot your device. ALSO READ: Apple ARKit shows off 3D painting and we can only wonder what else it’s capable of
Now, from the app drawer, open the Hello AR app, and it will as you for camera permissions, just grant them. The app will use the rear camera to scan and map the area around you, and once that is done you can tap on the screen to add Android bots in that virtual space. These bots can be sitting anywhere – on your desk, your laptop, on the floor and more. You can also take your smartphone forward and backward and go closer to the bots to seen insane level of detailing. ALSO READ: Apple iOS 11 with ARKit to turn iPhones, iPads into ‘largest AR platform’: Is it the future of Mixed Reality?
Signal Garden, the app development company that was responsible for making the Signal Mapper app for Google Tango platform, has released the first ARCore app called Atom Visualizer. You can download the app from the Play Store and try it out for yourself.
The app allows you to place floating models of any atoms from the periodic table in the virtual space and observe them from different angles. By default, you get the orbital electron model, but there is also an option to switch to an electron cloud model. This app, in particular, can be helpful for Chemistry students, allowing them to learn atoms and structure in a better way.
If you have an Android smartphone running Nougat 7.0 OS and above, do give ARCore a try, and if it works on your device, let us know about it in the comment section below.
(Note: We tried using ARCore on a few smartphones. While the trick worked well on Galaxy S8 and OnePlus 5, the app gave force close errors on Nokia 6 and Samsung Galaxy On Max, all running Android 7.0 and above.)