Diving headfirst into AR development VIA Unity

My smooth brain can only handle so much learning


I began the journey of learning to develop Augmented Reality applications out of my interest in the emerging technology. I had developed Virtual Reality applications in Unity before, so I thought to myself "how hard could it be to transition?". Well little did I know: AR development is VERY different.

It's long known that learning any new skill, especially as an adult, is never easy. Our smooth grown-up brains are not nearly as elastic as they once were. The philosophy of "embrace the suck" applies greatly when attempting to learn to develop for a new technology, as scouring YouTube and StackOverflow for documentation and guides becomes almost routine.

Unity Setup

Setting up the AR development in Unity was beyond easy. Install the ARKit, ARCore, and AR Foundation packages and you're pretty much good to go. Unity makes it quite easy with their AR Foundation, allowing you to develop for either ARKit (iOS/MacOS) or ARCore (Android) using the same code.

I played around with the AR tools and functions that were offered as demos, as I was not really sure what I wanted to develop yet. How was I supposed to know what to build if I didn't know what tools I had at my disposal? So to remedy this, I set out to explore all of the capabilities AR Foundation offers.

Facial Tracking:

Image Tracking:

Plane Tracking:

These demos display a few of the main tracking types offered in AR Foundation:

  • Plane Tracking
  • Object Tracking (not displayed)
  • Image Tracking
  • Facial Tracking
  • LiDAR Tracking ($$$ required)

I have yet to touch upon the Object Tracking & LiDAR tracking, both for different reasons. Object Tracking requires you to load the machine learning algorithm with 3D objects that represent what you would like tracked in the real world. This means I would need to develop my own 3D models, which is not ideal and so I skipped it.

LiDAR tracking is the FUTURE of AR devices, but I am too poor to afford a new iPad Pro or iPhone 12 Pro to actually utilize these features. It works similar to the Plane Tracking, but on high grade cocaine. It can map a 3D model of the room with ridiculous accuracy, which means that the content you can build using this form of tracking is incredibly cutting edge. Imagine spilling a virtual wine on the table and watching the fluid simulator drip little AR droplets to your floor. I really hope to get my hands on one of these devices in the future.


Overall, I learned quite a lot about the tools that AR Foundation offers, and I learned a ton about how to develop for this new technology. I will make a post going more in-depth about the nitty gritty technical details as I begin to develop something legitimate.

Thanks for reading fren.