Interview With Wikitude

Interview With Wikitude

We had the honor of exchanging a few words with Wikitude Chief ARchitect Mr. Wolfgang Damm and, as it couldn't be otherwise, it'll be a pleasure to share it with you all.

For those of you who have just arrived from another planet or just in case you have lived in a bunker for a while, Wikitude was, and is, one of the pioneers in augmented reality (AR) apps. We've talked a little about the origins of Wikitude and, more important, about the imminent release of ARquitect and what all of this will mean for AR apps in the future.


Tell us about Wikitude. How did it start?

WOLFGANG DAMM: Our founder Philipp Breuss Schneeweis started experimenting with Augmented Reality (AR) in 2008 when Google came out with the very first AR capable smartphone, the Android G1 which had GPS, accelerometer and most importantly a digital compass. Since then we have built an AR platform where more than 2,500 content providers with about 150 million points of interest (POIs) meet more than 10 million users worldwide across Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and Symbian devices.

Where is it going to? What can we expect of Wikitude and AR apps in the near future?

WD: We will continue to build on the platform approach. We provide state of the art AR technology, particularly now with ARchitect, and a huge user base which is perfect for content owners to expose their content through exciting AR experiences to a very wide audience.

Let's dream a little further: what will users be able to do in five years time? Or ten? Where are we going?

WD: Nobody knows where this will go exactly, but there is no doubt in our minds that the camera is a key sensor inside of the smartphone to experience and understand your surroundings better. In 3-5 years from now you will be seeing mainstream people using their smartphones to point at objects, locations and people to know more about them. As typing and even audio input can be quite tedious on a mobile, visual search is a natural, easy and intuitive way of absorbing information around you.

Any advice to a starting Android developer?

WD: AR is no longer complicated, we enable developers to build great AR experiences with simple web technologies like html, javascript and css. If you have these programming skills, you really don't need any advice, all you need is a bit of imagination to build your first AR World and make it available on Wikitude World Browser.

Wolfgang, what is ARquitect?

WD: Currently available for the Android platform, ARchitect is a brand new developer kit from Wikitude for an open, flexible and powerful tool for creating Augmented Reality content by using common web technologies.

How did ARchitect come about?

WD: The idea for ARchitect was born out of the need for a more dynamic Augmented Reality experience. With the Wikitude World Browser we only showed static information but we always felt that this was only the beginning and that Augmented Reality should be even more engaging! Right from the start weʼve been an open company and provide content partners with the right tools to help them leverage Augmented Reality for their businesses. Therefore it was clear that we needed to build something everyone can develop for and we needed something that is easy yet powerful and built on something everyone knows.

This was my starting point and from there I started to explore different methods to see what could be achieved with the help of modern smartphone Operating Systems. When it became clear that HTML5, Javascript and CSS could be used as a developer language to create Augmented Reality experiences the whole team got really excited. Once you get your head around the basic principle of ARchitect youʼll find itʼs just a website in front of the Augmented Reality view and it is just like developing a normal web app but with amazing results.

So what can developers really do with ARchitect?

WD: With ARchitect developers can create Worlds based on standards and technology trusted by billions of websites like HTML, CSS and JavaScript. They are able to control their Augmented Reality window and decide how and what the users can see. Developers can build powerful Worlds as soon as they have downloaded the ARchitect Developer Kit. ARchitectʼs advanced features open unlimited possibilities with interaction, animations and media playback.

That sounds great. Is releasing a free developer kit your own version of Android's free source spirit?

WD: The Wikitude World Browser has always followed an open approach, that's really what we have been known for, we have no intention of changing this. You can become an ARchitect now and make your AR ideas available to the world free of charge!

We're impressed. Thank you very much!

Check out Wikitude apps for Android and iOS.

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