July 16, 2024

Gussie Fida

Digital Breakthroughs

10 Tools to build augmented reality mobile apps

5 min read


Augmented reality is a technology that’s just starting to come into its own. It uses a smartphone or tablet and augmented-reality apps to make it feel like you’re seeing the world through something other than your eyes. Maybe it’s an overlay of digital information on top of the real world, or maybe you can interact with elements in AR as if they’re physical objects. With all these tools available, why not try building your own augmented reality app? Here are ten ways to get started:

10 Tools to build augmented reality mobile apps

1. Unity

Unity is a cross-platform game engine developed by Unity Technologies, which is primarily used to develop video games and simulations for computers, consoles, and mobile devices. It’s used to create both 3D and 2D games. The Unity editor itself runs on Windows and Mac OS X platforms; however there are also versions of the software available for iOS (iPhone/iPad), Android, Nintendo Switch & Wii U, PlayStation 4 & PlayStation Vita as well as virtual reality platforms like Oculus Rift / HTC Vive / Samsung Gear VR.

2. Google Cloud Platform

Google Cloud Platform is a set of cloud computing services that Google offers to developers. It includes the following:

  • Compute Engine – Provides virtual machines and other infrastructure tools, such as load balancing and auto scaling.
  • App Engine – Allows you to build web applications using Python or Java.
  • Cloud Datastore – An NoSQL database service that stores data in Key-Value pairs (like MongoDB), but unlike MongoDB it has automatic scaling features built into it. It also supports transactions over multiple keys which makes it easier to use than traditional relational databases since you don’t have to worry about locking issues or deadlocks (two processes trying access the same data at once).

3. App Store

The App Store is a great way to get your app in front of people. It’s also a good place to get feedback on how well your AR app is doing, and it can be used as a marketing tool as well. You can use Apple’s tools to track downloads and reviews, view analytics data, update apps remotely (if they’re still available), submit new versions of the same app with bug fixes or updates that add new features–and more!

If you want to publish an AR app through this platform, keep in mind that there are some guidelines that must be followed:

  • Your app must have at least 50MB free space available on the device before downloading any additional resources from remote servers during runtime (this includes images).
  • The app must not contain any code signing issues such as invalid provisioning profiles or expired certificates; otherwise it won’t be accepted into the store until these problems are fixed by either removing all problematic files from inside Xcode or re-signing everything using another valid certificate issued by Apple itself (not just anyone else).

4. ARKit

ARKit is the first augmented reality SDK for iOS. It enables developers to create AR experiences for iPhone and iPad, using visual inertial odometry (VIO) to estimate the position of a device in real-world space. It can detect horizontal planes in the real world and place objects on them, or anchor virtual content to existing points of interest like signs or monuments.

ARKit uses VIO because it’s easier to implement than other solutions such as GPS or GLONASS–it doesn’t require any additional hardware or sensors on your device, just an accelerometer and gyroscope (which are already present).

5. ARCore

ARCore is a software development kit (SDK) for augmented reality mobile apps. It uses the camera on your device to detect feature points and planes, and enables you to place digital objects on vertical surfaces like walls, or on the ground in front of you.

ARCore can be used with any Android phone running Android 8.0 Oreo or later that has an ARM-based processor (e.g., not Intel x86).

6. Vuforia

Vuforia is a mobile augmented reality platform that enables developers to create augmented reality (AR) applications for Android, iOS, Tizen and Windows devices.

Vuforia was acquired by PTC in 2014 and since then it’s been used by many companies such as BMW, Bosch or Ford Motor Company.

7. Layar

Layar is a mobile Augmented Reality browser, which means it allows users to view information about their surroundings using their camera and GPS. The app can be used for both entertainment and practical purposes. For example, it can tell you where the nearest restaurant is or show you how tall buildings are in your neighborhood.

The app has been downloaded over 10 million times by users around the world since its launch in 2009. Layar also supports both Android and iOS operating systems so that anyone with an iPhone or iPad can download it from either the App Store or Google Play Store (formerly known as Android Market).

8. Wikitude

Wikitude is a mobile augmented reality platform that allows developers to create AR applications for Android and iOS. The Wikitude SDK allows you to add location-based content, such as 3D models or animations, into your apps. You can also use the Wikitude Cloud service to add 3D graphics and animations to your AR app without having to write any code yourself.

9. Blippar

Blippar is a visual discovery app that lets users find information about the world around them by simply pointing their smartphone camera at objects. It’s sort of like Google Goggles, but much more advanced and robust.

You can use Blippar to create augmented reality experiences, games and more! This tool is great for beginners because it has lots of tutorials on how to get started with AR development using it.

10. Microsoft HoloLens and Hololens 2

The Microsoft HoloLens is a headset that uses augmented reality to overlay digital images onto the real world. With the Hololens 2, you can create your own apps and games for use with the headset.

The new design of the Hololens 2 includes improved performance, longer battery life and a more comfortable fit on your head–so it’s easier than ever before to create cool apps and games!


This was a quick overview of some of the best AR tools available. We hope that you’ve found something useful from this article and are ready to start building your own AR apps!