Qualcomm announced an upgrade to their Vuforia Augmented Reality platform on Wednesday. Vuforia is a platform that focuses on using images as the “targets” to launch an AR experience, rather than requiring consumers to scan QR codes or other glyphs.
So instead of scanning a barcode, you just scan a specific picture to start the AR experience on your mobile phone or tablet (it could launch a video, or a 3D model, etc.) There are many AR companies that employ this method of recognizing images. That is nothing new.
The difference here is that the old version of Vuforia required the database of images that are the “targets” to be stored locally on the device running their software and therefore had a limited capacity of storage (around 80 images).
This new system allows developers to continue using local app storage of image targets but they can also now implement programatic, API-based access to up to 1 million targets using a new cloud database system.
Metaio Creator (see middle video) have already allowed this kind of cloud access, although I am not sure if their databases or tools could support 1 million records.
In any event, for Vuforia this update is important and is sure to increase the viability of the platform as a retail AR solution, since Vuforia will now be able to support the number of images present in actual product inventories, unlike its previous iteration.
To show off the new system and its potential, Qualcomm showed a demo branded for American Apparel at the Uplinq 2012 conference on Wednesday. I was able to get my hands on a copy. It’s pretty slick.