Layar Developer Documentation

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Layar Vision FAQs

Here you can find all the frequently asked questions regarding Layar Vision.

The Basics

Development Questions

User Behaviors and Experience

The Basics

What is Layar Vision?

Layar Vision uses detection, tracking and computer vision techniques to augment Pages (images) and objects with planar surfaces (e.g packaging) in the physical world. When you upload your Pages in our servers (through Creator or publishing site) we create a fingerprint of this image. When a user aims their device at an object that matches the fingerprint, we can quickly return the associated AR experience.

What is an Augment?  A "target object"?

An augment is a digital model (2D or 3D) rendered on a target object as seen through the mobile phone camera lens. 

A target object is a physical or digital visual entity that contains enough detail to be unique whereby a person can point their phone at said “object” to see the augment (if available).  Examples and best practices for creating a target object can be found in Page best practices .

Do you have any nice show cases for Layar Vision ?

Please always check out our blog for the latest show cases. We have created several layers which demonstrate the Layar Vision capabilities. Please check out the demo videos listed below:
1. Introducing: Layar Vision.
2. Layar VIsion Demos
3. MAKE Magazine with Layar Vision
More use cases can be found on youtube and just search for "layar".

How do I integrate Layar Vision into a Layer ?

It is simple to integrate Vision into your Layer. You need to upload images of your target objects, format your JSON response to include those images, their associated augments and actions, and publish. The API documentation can be found here .

If you do not have technical skill or your use case is really simple you can also useLayar Creator

Which products support Layar Vision?

The following products support Vision Vision-based AR :

Will Layar store the pages?

A page is the file uploaded by a developer for analysis so that the object depicted in the file can become a target object; thereby, enabling target tracking of said object.  Layar will extract the details of each image to create the unique fingerprint of the object.  We will keep the page in our database as they might be needed for future improvements of our algorithms.

How will Layar use my pages?

Layar uses them to extract fingerprints. You remain the owner of your pages but Layar owns the fingerprints and reserves the rights to use them in all its products.

I am developing a layer for non-commercial use (non-profit, artistic or educational project). Is it possible to get a discount on Layar Vision usage pricing?

For non-profit, artistic and educational project pricing, please contact our Business Development Team. In your request, please include a description of your project, as well as your contact details and the organisation you represent. You will receive a response from our business team shortly.

Development Questions

Layer Definitions Requirements:

The deltas for this release are to the minimum API version, Layer Type, and Layar Vision tab.  The Mininum API Version: 6.0.  The Layer Type: 3D and 2D objects in 3D space is required.  In order to create an immersive and meaningful experience on objects, we only support 2D images and 3D models on target objects. Finally, we added the Layar Vision tab where you will upload your pages so that we may extract fingerprints for recognition.

For details on how to configure your layer in the Publishing Environment, see Enable Layar Vision in a layer .

Can I convert my older Layers into Layar Vision enabled layers?

Yes, but you will need to update your response to us to use the new formatting of the API v6.0 .  We'll take some measures to convert the new API responses to the old format for clients with older versions, so you can safely convert all your layers to the new formatting.

NOTE: Combining vision and geo POIs into one layer is deprecated. Future clients will not support it. We recommend you create separate layers for vision and geo POIs.

Do I need to upload pages to Layar?

Yes. In order for us to apply our Layar Vision algorithms, you will need to upload pages to a Layar repository.  We use these to extract the fingerprint of the object so that we can detect, track and augment the object.

Can other layers use my pages?

No, only you (or your designee if Publisher role is handed over) may use the page.  The fingerprints extracted can only be used by the associated layer so other layers will not have access to your images.

However Layar is an open platform and sometimes it can happen that the same or a similar page is uploaded to several layers. In the current Layar App version, a list of layers/campaigns that have augments on top of the same page will be shown first after the visual search ("Point and Scan" function). Users can choose which layer or campaign they would like to see from the results and launch it separately. Users will not see augments from other campaigns while they are viewing your layer/campaign. 

What format/size do the page need to be when uploaded?

Image resolution must be at least 640 x 480 pixels, though larger images are accepted and encouraged. Accepted file types include .JPG, .PNG, and .GIF. File size may not exceed 10 MB.

Is there any limitation for Layar Vision for a specific handset? Processing power / Graphic capabilities?

We support Android 2.3 and above, as well as iPhone 3GS and 4, with iOS 6.0 and above.  

Tracking quality is dependent on the camera quality and lighting conditions.  While we do have elements in place to account for variations in lighting, your camera may cause suboptimal exposure in very dark or light conditions.  We cannot control this function in the phone.

Fluidity of tracking when in motion is affected by processing power.  If your phone has limited processing power, you may see a lag in how quickly the augment moves as you (or the target) move.

What is the maximum number of target objects that are loaded from one request? 

At present, we load a maximum of 200 target objects per call.  We continuously work to improve that number and must account that not all phones are equal. 

We are maintaining our current limit of 50 augments per response. If the developer sends back more than 50, we ignore the additional augments. This will apply for all augment types. For performance reasons, we cannot increase this number yet, however, as we improve performance and processing of target objects, we will look into increasing the number. In summary, the limit applies to number of augments and is dictated by performance.

Do I need a special marker for Layar Vision?

Layar provides a a markerless  recognition solution. The typical AR markers do not provide enough features and detail to be reliably detected by our system. We encourage you to use real-world objects to create your feature sets, with the guidelines set in this document and on Page best practices .

What makes a good page?

Be sure that your page meets the following criteria:

We provide a quality gauge in the Publishing Environment when you upload an image.  Additional tips can be found on Page best practices .

Will Layar Vision work on every object?

 Layar Vision is designed to work best on planar surfaces, such as posters, billboards, flyers, book covers, CD covers, paintings, packaging  etc. The surface has to have a minimum amount of discriminative texture and details. Very simple/stylized logos, mainly uniformly coloured surfaces, repetitive patterns or text will be hard to track.  The higher the contrast of features, the better.

Are there any surfaces or details of an object to avoid in order for Layar Vision to work, such as metal surfaces with carved textures or colors?

We recommend against transparency and reflectiveness as the results will not be of high quality and cannot be ensured. 3D items like sculptures are not suitable as target objects unless the surface to be detected is fairly flat. 

Can there be variation between objects and submitted pages?  If so, how much?  Example: variations of colors, contrast,changed text, additional icons.

For best results, the short answer is no. You will want to capture the object in the state that you expect your users to find it.

We advise that text is not the focal point and the only defining characteristic(s) of your page.  You should only include text in your page if you expect the text to remain consistent in the real world.

A NOTE on color: currently, our algorithm is color agnostic, meaning the application does not see the difference between blue and green.  Instead, what matters is that the luminosity and depth of the colors are significant. Those need to be high contrast and sharp.

Can you show a different augmentation depending on the user's location ?

No, currently this is not possible. You can only set the layer coverage to a specific country

Does Layar Vision support video playback on top of an object?

Yes, we support video embedded on top of the image.

Can I augment several parts of the same page ?

Yes. You can put multiple augments on the same page. Make use of "hotspots.transform" to position the augments anywhere you want on the page.

User Behaviors and Experience

What is the maximum angle a user can hold the phone from the target object?

The maximum threshold is 45 degrees in any direction. We train for the flat (parallel) use case; however, we do have some training for reasonable angles. The threshold will improve over time; but the current conditions are optimal for data collection, device limitations, and processing time.

How robust is detection of target object under different lighting conditions?

We normalize for some amount of lighting variations. For best results, the camera image should be as close to the uploaded image as possible. This means that detection under very dark or very bright lighting conditions may be degraded, due to the loss of contrast.

Can the target object be rotated up to 360 degrees, or does it have to be detected in a single correct orientation?

Yes, you can spin the object.  The augments will spin with it.

How large does the detected target object need to be?

For best results, the object should encompass at least a quarter of the screen.

How long and steady does the user need to hold the device over the target object for detection to happen?

For best results you need to hold both the phone and the target image steady. When either phone or image move, the augments move accordingly. User experience may be degraded in sub-optimal lighting conditions, due to the occurrence of motion blur.

Does the entire target object need to be visible for detection to work? Or can some parts be occluded or offscreen?

When you (or the object) moves, the augment will move.  Once we lose tracking completely, the augment will "fall off" the screen.  The percentage needed to track is dependent on the image.

Would target objects be recognized if they were displayed on a screen (TV, computer etc?)

Yes in almost most cases will work. Computer screens are fine (in house testing was done on a Mac laptop screen). Side effects may occur from moire patterns in the camera image. Please make sure you test detection on the target medium to ensure that recognition works as expected.