Carius, Lars Supervisor: Prof. Gudrun Klinker Advisor: Eichhorn, Christian (@ga73wuj) Submission Date: [created]
Augmented Reality has progressed tremendously over the past years, enabling the creation of collaborative experiences and real-time environment tracking on smartphones. The strong tendency towards game engine-based approaches, however, has made it difficult for many businesses to utilize the potential of the technology. The requirement of specialized experience and the disparity in the development processes of AR applications compared to usual business apps has prevented many organizations from using Augmented Reality, even though their use cases could greatly benefit from it. This thesis contributes a novel Augmented Reality framework aimed at lowering the entry barriers and operating expenses of AR applications. The framework includes a plugin for the widely used cross-platform UI development kit Flutter as well as a web-based content management system. To provide a state-of-the-art feature set, the AR Flutter plugin builds upon ARCore on Android and ARKit on iOS and unifies the two frameworks using an abstraction layer written in Dart. The plugin can be included in any Flutter application by providing an AR view widget along with a set of managers exposing APIs for controlling the session, handling user input, augmenting the scene with 3D assets loaded from the file system or the internet, and managing location-based collaborative sessions using the Google Cloud Anchor Service. Along with the Flutter plugin, this thesis demonstrates the use of a web-based content management system that enables non-technical staff to take over operational tasks such as providing 3D models to the users for placement into the scene or moderating annotations placed by the community. Through a series of benchmarking experiments, this thesis shows that the cross-platform AR Flutter plugin performs on the same level as native Augmented Reality frameworks in terms of both application-level metrics like CPU and RAM consumption and tracking-level qualities such as SLAM keyframes per second, detected feature points, and area of tracked planes. As a result, this work closes a gap in today’s technological landscape by providing an Augmented Reality framework seamlessly integrating with the familiar development process of cross-platform apps. Businesses are no longer required to employ specialized developers for integrating AR into their processes and managing the operation of such features. Using the AR Flutter plugin and the accompanying content management system, Augmented Reality can be used as a tool to achieve a business objective and is not restrained to stand-alone single-purpose apps anymore. The AR Flutter plugin is fully open-source, the code can be found at https://github.com/ CariusLars/ar_flutter_plugin.
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