An alternative method for online catalogs using augmented reality
We were inspired to create viewar by expensive, lengthy workflows that companies have to go through to display their products online, so that users can see what the product looks like without needing to see it inside a store. Some companies hire photographers to take photoshoots of various furniture pieces on a staged set, which can be quite expensive, but most companies use photorealistic renders of 3d models, which is a time intensive process. Viewar is an inexpensive, quick, and simple solution. Companies can send us the 3d model, which they already have, and we give them a QR code that they can place on their website. The user can download our viewar app and see the product in augmented reality, meaning they can view it from any angle and in any lighting they so desire, giving them a more authentic experience.
What it does
Viewar is an Android app that allows users to view an object from a catalog online in augmented reality, without needing any special equipment or software. We have created a website catalog to demonstrate how viewar would be effective in a real-world scenario.
How we built it
Viewar is built using the Unity game engine and C#, along with the Vuforia plugin, which allows for augmented reality support within Unity.
Challenges we ran into
Unity has a feature called Collaboration, which is currently in beta, and it allows users to work on the same project from separate computers. Upon using this feature, we ran into problems many times where one of our commits would overwrite the progress made by the other person, causing us to have to redo large portions of the project.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
One accomplishment that we are proud of is the photorealism of the textures and materials we created and modified to fit our needs for this project.
What we learned
We learned about the complications when dealing with mobile apps and photorealistic 3d models, and file size and load time are the two biggest hurdles. We had to discover the balance between high quality materials and models with quick app startup times and a small download size.
What's next for viewar
Our next steps for viewar implementing our solution with luxury furniture companies, as their customers can view the product in augmented reality and have the same experience as viewing it in-person, but without having to ever leave their home.