If you aren't convinced that mobile augmented reality apps need occlusion (or you don't know what the word even means), you really need to watch the latest video from AR cloud startup 6D.ai.
The 6D.ai video is titled "What is Occlusion in AR, and Why Does it Matter?" For the uninitiated, occlusion is when objects are blocked by other objects. In the context of AR, occlusion occurs when physical object block the user's view of virtual objects.
The video starts by showing off an AR drawing app and highlighting the flaws in ARKit and ARCore experiences that are all too familiar. The doodle sinks below the floor level and shows through physical objects, upsetting the intended illusion of reality the experience is meant to deliver.
By contrast, the 6D.ai-powered demo shows how the illusion remains magically realistic via occlusion. In the same environment of the AR drawing example, virtual balls are shot forward. The balls bounce and roll on the floor, and then disappear behind obstacles.
I've tested numerous AR mobile apps, so 6D.ai is preaching to the choir in terms of addressing one of AR's major flaws. For example, I've seen sports cars take flight instead of sticking to the road as they should in AR, and zombies phase through doors and floors, destroying the illusion of those zombies being rooted in the real world.
The update, similar to the Niantic Real World Platform, allows content to disappear behind physical obstacles and reappear on the other side.
6D.ai's platform adds another dimension by employing physical meshes, which enable the balls in the demo to do things like land in the bowl on the table and roll off various surfaces.
For now, Niantic and 6D.ai are in the lead regarding this kind of mobile AR dynamic, but time is ticking for them to advance their platforms to facilitate a release for the general (non-developer) public. It's only a matter of time before Apple and Google catch up.
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