5 APIs for VR/AR/MR Tool & Content Development

Issue #35

I’m Vignesh Kaushik. I curate and write articles on Thank God It’s Computational to help architects, designers, and urban planners leverage cutting-edge technologies on AEC projects.

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There is an onslaught of many tools & technologies in the market for AR/VR in various stages of funding and development. Many fellow designers & architects are overwhelmed with the choice and usability of such tools in their work. With all the rising interest in XR (VR, MR, AR) in 2018, I figured I should curate a list of hardware, tools, development kits, assets and learning resources. So, this entire month will be about XR tech. Let’s take a look at five AR/VR/MR APIs and SDKs that we can use in creating content and tools for Architecture & Urban Design.

HoloSketch • Spatial layout and UX sketching app for HoloLens


HoloSketch is an on-device spatial layout and UX sketching tool for HoloLens to help build holographic experiences. It works with a paired Bluetooth keyboard and mouse as well as gestures and voice commands. The purpose of HoloSketch is to provide a simple UX layout tool for quick visualization and iteration.

A-Frame • A Web Framework for building VR


A-Frame is a web framework for building (VR) experiences. Originally from Mozilla, A-Frame was developed to be an easy but powerful way to develop VR content. A-Frame is based on top of HTML, making it simple to get started. But A-Frame is not just a 3D scene graph or a markup language; the core is a powerful entity-component framework that provides a declarative, extensible, and composable structure to three.js.

Networked-Aframe • Multi-user VR on the Web


This is a web framework for building multi-user virtual reality experiences. You can now write full-featured multi-user VR experiences entirely in HTML. It is built on top of the wonderful A-Frame Cross-platform. This works on all modern Desktop and Mobile browsers, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Google Cardboard + Daydream support.

DataMesh • Mixed Reality Meets Data Science


DataMesh is the first product built for the integration of data and Mixed Reality. METoolkit from DataMesh is an open-source Unity toolkit for developing quick, interactive mixed-reality apps for HoloLens, Surface, iPhone/iPad, Android devices, etc.

vGIS • Transform GIS data into AR/VR 


vGIS is a platform that transforms typical GIS data into augmented-, mixed-, or virtual-reality solutions. By merging and then visualizing information from multiple sources, such as ArcGIS, Esri maps, and custom client data, vGIS delivers practical productivity tools that address real-life challenges. You can transform your data into 3D holograms to gain new insights, simplify common tasks, reduce errors and delays, and increase safety.