Markers are often key to making Augmented Reality work. They control how our AR devices react, see and place virtual objects in the real world.

But as the AR industry continues to develop how markers are created and used, what are the fundamental rules developers should follow? And what are the best examples of markers in use today?

Laduma Lead Developer Tommy Pickersgill explains:

What is an AR marker?

An AR marker is a two dimensional image which we use for activating AR experiences. We use it for tracking, orientation and positioning of AR devices, which then allows us to place objects and content into the real world.

How does Laduma use AR markers?

At Laduma, we’ve used everything from dinosaur footprints to a clients logo as AR markers. They have been placed on posters, logos, drinks coasters and even digitally on a website.

What are the main guidelines for using AR markers?

For the most effective tracking of AR markers, there are certain guidelines that should be followed. These help to improve the efficiency of tracking and the speed at which the marker is followed.

Most importantly, the tracker first looks for predefined patterns of lines, so the best markers will have a lot of random edges. The easiest way to explain this is to say that a QR code is probably the best example of an effective AR markers. That is something a lot of people will be familiar with.

What other considerations should be made for AR markers?

Contrast is very important, as the tracker will detect everything is gray scale. The most effective marker will have a high degree of contrast from the foreground to the background.

The maker also needs top have definitive orientation. This means that no matter which way it is rotated or moved, we can always calculate which way it is orientated.

What is the most interesting use of AR markers that you have seen?

One of my favourites was when we used AR on a drinks coaster for Intermountain Healthcare at HIMMS in Las Vegas. We were able to turn a coaster into a mini helipad. The helicopter then took off, controlled by the client, and showed them the challenge of flying rescue missions in difficult spaces.