Say your mother can’t figure out the remote control for her new TV. And you live 2,000 miles away. If you were there you could talk her through it, pointing at various buttons to explain how they work. You could try to do this using some kind of video messaging app, but you’d be leaning heavily on voice to refer to things. Confusion would ensue.
Vuforia’s new Chalk app gives you the video and voice, and adds the ability to make augmented reality “chalk marks” (arrows, circles, etc.) over the other person’s view of the world through their tablet or smartphone camera. Chalk supports Apple’s ARKit to bring the experience to iDevices running iOS 11. An Android version leveraging Google’s ARCore platform may come later.
Chalk is notable because (with the exception of a number of room measurement apps) most of the consumer AR we’ve seen thus far has been about gaming and other forms of entertainment. Chalk may be part of a new wave of purely practical AR apps that actually fix problems.
“Vuforia Chalk represents one of the most practical uses of AR technology to date,” said Vuforia (PTC) president Jay Wright in a statement. “It has the potential to improve our personal and professional lives–initially by helping each other.” Chalk is also interesting because it involves the user creating and placing digital content in real time, not just looking at objects that were pre-baked by the developers.
Vuforia was once Qualcomm’s AR division, before being sold off to PTC in 2015. Vuforia says developers have created 45,000 AR apps using its platform. Chalk is a free app, available starting today at the App Store.