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AR Development > ARToolKit
ARToolkit (literally Augmented Reality Toolkit) is a library of visual
interpretation functions, designed for use with C.
This library is purely visual based, and was developed by Dr. Hirokazu Kato
of the Human Interface Technology Laboratory at the University of Washington,
US, originally in 1999, but was not able to be used by outsiders before 2003.
The reason for this being, in the early years, the toolkit was unbelievably
dire, and was part of the research framework working towards developing a feasable
A spin-off company, ARToolworks, Inc, was created to manage the software's
further development, which continues to this day.
The toolkit was initially developed as a research project to track the user's
viewpoint in physical reality and integrate virtual data at a given location.
Early attempts at doing this, frequently failed to take into account any change
in position whatsoever. In fact, it was only really once positional markers
started being used that practical AR was able to take off. Magic
Symbol technology only appeared in 2006, but was swiftly integrated and
the toolkit became truly useful for those desiring to develop visually augmented
In the years since, ARToolkit has become the most popular, although not the
only integrated development environment, based extensively on Magic Symbol.
* A simple framework for creating real-time augmented reality applications
* Multiplatform library (Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, SGI)
* Overlays 3D virtual objects on real markers ( based on computer vision algorithm)
* A multi platform video library with:
o multiple input sources (USB, Firewire, capture card) supported
o multiple format (RGB/YUV420P, YUV) supported
o multiple camera tracking supported
o GUI initialising interface
* Fast and cheap 6D marker tracking (real-time planar detection)
* An extensible markers patterns approach (number of markers fct of efficency)
* An easy calibration routine
* Simple graphic library (based on GLUT)
* Fast rendering based on OpenGL
* A 3D VRML support
* Simple and modular API (in C)
* Java and Matlab languages supported with limited functionality
* Complete set of samples and utilities
OpenSource with GPL license for non-commercial usage
Commercial Licenses available
Version: ARToolKit NFT
Version: ARToolKit Professional
List: Visual AR Development
List: AR Sensory Development