The Augmented Reality Web Browser
By creating AR applications for Argon4, you can simplify the process of delivering mobile AR experiences without the need to create, ship and support native applications.
Want to dive in and start creating AR content? The argon.js library, along with developer documentation and examples, is hosted on Github and available on the argonjs.io developer site.
The Argon4 Browser application is available for free on the iTunes App Store for iOS and the Google Play Store for Android.
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The Argon4 browser works like any other web browser, displaying web pages and applications you point it at with a URL. When you first run Argon4, it will display the bookmarks page, where a collection of examples are pre-loaded. The source code for the bookmarks are all available on our github site. The bookmarks page displays either bookmarks or your browsing history.
At the top of the page is a URL bar for entering URL’s manually. The “page stack” icon beside it brings up the view of currently open pages and realities. New pages can be created here with the + icon in the upper left, and each page can be destroyed with the close icon in its upper left. Tapping a page brings it to the front.
The Argon4 UI supports Pinch Zoom to allow you to zoom in and out of the 3D AR view. This capability can be opted out by a developer, if (for example) they want to use the gesture for their own application. Similarly, different realities may or may not support arbitrary zooming.
One set of AR web pages, multiple views of Reality
Argon takes a broad view of Augmented Reality, allowing any 3D view of reality to be augmented. Developers are free to create their own custom views of reality: anything that displays a view of the world can conceivably be built into a reality for Argon. The samples show an example of this, using Google’s streetview as the view of reality over which any AR content can be displayed.
Tapping on a reality allows you to interact with that reality; the default live video reality does not support any interactions, but others (such as the streetview reality in the samples) do support interaction. In the case of streetview, for example, selecting that reality will allow you to move around the world using streetview, while the content maintains it’s position in the world.
One view of Reality, many AR apps at the Same Time
While Argon4 behaves much like a normal web browser, allowing multiple pages to be loaded into different tabs, it handles the case of multiple AR apps in a special way. If the front page is a normal web page, it is displayed by itself, as any other browser. But if the front page is an AR web page, all open AR web pages are displayed at the same time.
When multiple AR web pages are displayed, their content is layered behind each other (based on their stacking order in the page viewer), rather than being mixed in 3D. So all content in the front page will be displayed in front of all content in the pages behind it. This was done for safety and security, so that it is clearer what pages may have created which content. Similarly, only the front page receives user input.
If you are interested in seeing what we are planning for argon, and providing input on our plans, you can visit our argon roadmap.
Argon was created as part of the Argon Research Project in the Augmented Environments Lab at Georgia Tech, with support from the National Science Foundation, Georgia Tech’s GVU Center and Institute for People and Technology, and companies including Qualcomm and Alcatel-Lucent.
Argon is now an independent open-source project, supported by the Augmented Environments Lab at Georgia Tech and by Mozilla. If you would like to support the Argon Open-Source project in some way, please contact the Blair MacIntyre.
More information about the ongoing Argon-related research at Georgia Tech can be found on the Argon Research Project pages.