ARToolKit 6: Modernize Open Source AR SDK

Industry vertical AR solutions are focused on using scalable AR solutions to solve issues for industries such as retail, logistics, specific CPG categories and publishing. Pricing models vary substantially based on factors such as usage, comprised of licensing, support and volume of usage fees. In this scenario, open source technology always helps us to increase flexibility and reduce the cost.

ARToolKit is a free and open source augmented reality SDK. ARToolKit 6 release is a biggest yet, and along a with whole new features, like Database(ImageTarget) manager, NFT real world image tracking, Planer Tracking also support Linux as a first-class citizen and primary platform. 



DAQRI company announces a new milestone in the project augmented reality tools open source ARToolKit. The Americans started to open beta ARToolKit 6 on Linux, Android, iOS, macOS, and Unity. New updates abound functional part and distributed Apache v2.0 license so that developers can create their own applications with minimal licensing restrictions.

IMP: DAQRI added in a new engine resolver visual images, which can work without a connection to the network and tracker tracking methods combining such as P3P and optical flow for the more reliable reading key. The system may recognize and track supports multiple images based on detection initialization FREAK and rapid generation of data on the fly at speeds of tens of milliseconds. Calibration, identification, and tracking of fully autonomous kept up to hundreds of detected images; working dynamic loading and saving individual images or sets.

With the help of this new technology, ARToolKit helps us to solves some of the fundamental problems in augmented reality, including geometric and photometric registration.

  • Geometric registration: Aligning the position of the virtual environment with the actual environment.
  • Photometric registration: Matching the appearance of objects in the virtual environment to the actual environment.


The History of ARToolKit:

  • 1999 First public demonstration @ SIGGRAPH.
  • 2001 v1, with square tracking, released open source.
  • 2001 ARToolworks Incorporated, begins selling Pro version.
  • 2004 NFT tracking integrated into ARToolKit.
  • 2004 v2 released open source.
  • 2008-10 iPhone 3g Support, Open Source Innovation
  • 2011-14 Android support added, further extending platform support.
  • 2015 Acquired by DAQRI, pro version open sourced
  • 2017 ARToolKit-6 The big release in AR industry

All new features in ARToolkit 6:

1. New Image Tracker: New for ARToolKit 6. Like v5.3, it uses FREAK features, but is a ground-up new development from DAQRI, using approaches such as optical flow alongside template

2. Planar Tracker: Using the same algorithms in our image tracker, we can also track unprepared planes. Just similar to SLAM technology used by Apple ARKit.

3. New Unity Plugin: Completely new developer experience, designed to make going for 0-to-AR faster and easier than ever before.



Tools introduced in ARToolkit6:

  • Camera calibration tool – improved version 5, all calibrations are synchronized with the database Open Lens Model so that each user can get the update from the other when a connection to the Internet.
  • Image Database Tool – allows users to quickly and easily create and edit database image database ARToolKit 6. The base is a set of pre-processed images, which can be quickly loaded into the recognizer of two-dimensional images, which reduces the cost of loading a large number of images for the detection and tracking. The utility runs on macOS and Linux, as the database runs on all platforms.


ARToolkit & Unity3D:

The latest version (ARToolkit 6) contains a Unity plugin which works very well. ‘Image Database Tool’ provided in base utility made it easy to create targets(NFT datasets) compare to previous genTexData script takes a little bit of time and effort. 

ARToolkit for Unity


ARToolkit-6 comparing with ARKit, Vuforia & Other SDK:

ARtoolkit now provides most important features like Image based and Planner tracking i.e. it combines features of both, Vuforia & ARKit. Though ARToolkit facing some performance issues as an open source AR SDK these are acceptable.

6 months back after spending 1 month with ARToolkit and Vuforia I actually succeed to find out the difference between ARtoolkit-5 Vs Vuforia.

I will come up with similar kind of video shortly for ARToolkit-6, ARKIt, and Vuforia.


Why ARtoolkit is IMP and what is Open Source means:

ARToolKit 6 is being released under a Free and Open Source License that will allow the AR community to use the software in commercial products as well as for research, education and hobbyist development.

  • ARToolKit 6 will continue our tradition of being completely free and open source.
  • You do not need to purchase a license.
  • You do not need to register for an account.
  • You do not need to “phone home” with our SDK.
  • You do not need to give away what you build with it.

As we know ARToolkit6 is an open source SDK and obviously, major knowledge and efforts are required to develop the complex app using ARToolkit but that’s the beauty and passion of Software Engineer. 




Sanket Prabhu

About Sanket Prabhu

Sanket Prabhu is Technology Evangelist in XR (MR/AR/VR), Unity3D technology, a software engineer specializing in Unity 3D, Extended Reality (MR/AR/VR) application and game development. Currently working as a technology evangelist at Mobiliya, India. On the side, He runs a website ( which is the online blog and technical consultancy. The main goal of ARReverie is to develop complete open source AR SDK and currently working on ARToolKit-6.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *