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ArtoolkitX.js an Open Source project for the AR

Developing ArtoolkitX.js on Atom editor...

Open Source is a term that derives directly from the world of computer science. It means that the source code is open to all programmers, based on the license with which it is distributed. An Open Source project can therefore be copied, modified, re-distributed or, if the license permits, the developer can also sell the software he created.

The Open Source idea was born with the foundation of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) by Richard Stallman in 1985, to foster the development and free distribution of software. The FSF was only the beginning, in the following years other institutions, foundations and projects arose to encourage Open Source: Gnu, the Linux operating system and many others.

But why does a programmer dedicate himself to Open Source? Because at the base there is another way of thinking. At the basis is the idea of ​​collaboration, of the will of another model of economic, social and thought development, of sharing of ideas. Jeremy Rifkin insisted a lot on this concept. According to Rifkin the capitalist model will end and will be replaced by a collaborative model as in the world of Open Source. Especially in the field of design and “creative” programming we have some interesting projects: just think of Processing, OpenFrameworks, Gimp, Krita and Blender to give some examples. The first two are two projects consisting of a framework with which it is possible to develop graphics, video, audio and much more applications. Gimp and Krita, on the other hand, are two programs with which you can edit images or create new ones from scratch. These are also Open Source, so you can download them for free already compiled, or you can access the source code and modify it as you like. Blender, also an open source, is a 3D modeling software.

But what about Augmented Reality and Open Source? The most important Open Source project for Augmented Reality is ARToolKit now with the new version 6.0 with the new name ARToolKitX: available for various platforms (Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS) and distributed under the GNU 3.0 license.

For the creative and the artist it can mean an incentive to develop specific applications that might not be within his reach. In recent years a javascript version has been developed in addition to the Android and iOS version, thanks to Emscripten, a translator that transforms the code from the language (C / C ++) into javascript and WASM. This simplifies things because it is easier to develop an application in this way, in fact it is necessary to place the code (html and javascript) in a server and it will be accessible to anyone.

There is the jsartoolkit5 version and the new version based on ARtoolkitX ArtoolkitX.js, developed by Thorsten Bux, it is the new improved and still developing version. I collaborate on the project so if there will be any important news they will be communicated on this blog. The idea is to create a tool for the creative and the designer, thanks to which it simplifies the creation of applications for augmented reality. Webglstudio is an editor that lets you create a 3D scene, also adding javascript, glsl and more. It would be nice to create your own content thanks to the Webglstudio editor and in a few clicks complete an interactive art and visual design project. What do you think about it? If you are interested follow the github page of ArtoolkitX.js. See you soon!

Walter Perdan