Occlusion 101: Hiding virtual objects behind real objects in mixed reality

One of the biggest and most elusive pieces of the mixed reality puzzle is occlusion. In other words, the ability to hide virtual objects behind real objects. This post is about why occlusion is so hard, tricks to hack it today, and the technical hurdles that still need to be crossed to achieve true, realistic occlusion.
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What does it mean to be a location-based augmented reality app?

Mobile augmented reality has recently gotten a boost of enthusiasm since Apple launched ARKit mid last year. To quickly recap, the ARKit library enables accurate 6 degree-of-freedom motion tracking on iOS devices that, when combined with a 3D rendering engine like Unity or Apple’s own SceneKit, is the key enabling technology for creating augmented reality apps on iPhones and iPads. Google launched it’s own version of AR tracking libraries as well, under the monicker ARCore, which is available on a limited number of Android devices. Since then, a number of games and apps that take advantage of both position tracking as well as 3D rendering have appeared on the App Store that have begun to demonstrate the potential of AR as a medium for digital interactivity in the future.

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Practical Design Considerations for Mobile AR apps

I believe that augmented reality is the future of UX for almost all computing experiences. In my earlier post, I discussed how immersive technologies break the cognitive barriers of human-computer interaction and let us interact with technology in the most natural way we’re used to. We also looked at the four high-level advantages of AR interfaces for users as being:

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Reality is Broken, So Design a New One.

An introduction to design in augmented reality.

Human imagination has never been satisfied with the real world. It’s too slow, too bland, and too hard to control. So, for as long as we can remember, we’ve been inventing new, crazier ones that let us live out our fantasies like walking with dinosaurswarping space-time, and even falling in love with vampires. As incredible as these worlds are, we’ve been stuck experiencing them through words on a page or TV screens that let us peep from a distance and wonder what it might be like to live there. But that’s about to change in a big way. We’re finally seeing the beginnings of technologies that will let us open a door to these worlds and walk right in.

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