Developer Teases AR Functionality For The Apple Watch

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Apple’s popular smartwatch is even cooler with high-quality augmented widgets powered by ARKit.

When he’s not delivering expert-level gestures and animations to iOS applications, iOS Design Technologist, Nathan Glitter, is busy sinking his teeth into another budding user experience: augmented reality. So far the talented developer has managed to create a Hogwarts-style newspaper experience, educational augmented artwork, even time-traveling graffiti that shows you older artwork now covered by newer tags.

It’s his augmented Apple Watch demo, however, that seems to have people riled up the most as the talented developer teases some extremely cool AR functionality for the powerful smartwatch. Nathan’s application is capable of projecting a larger augmented menu for various Apple Watch core applications, such as Weather, Messages, and the photo and video gallery.

We were eager to learn more about this ARKit-powered prototype experience, so we chatted with Nathan himself to get the details on this awesome project:

What is your current job role?

I currently work as an “iOS Design Technologist” at SwiftKick Mobile in Austin, TX, which is a role that bridges iOS engineering and iOS product design.

Do you work with AR technology often?

I mostly work on iOS apps, designing and building advanced gestures and animations. I work on AR on the side because it’s fun and the UX hasn’t been standardized—there’s opportunities to explore new experiences.

How long did it take you create this demo?

A few weeks off and on. Generating the image assets and designing the animations took the longest.

What was the inspiration behind it?

Tony Stark / Iron Man’s futuristic AR tech. Some people told me it reminded them of a watch from a “Spy Kids” movie.

Where could you see this project heading in the future?

Assuming future “AR glasses”, this kind of experience could help connect devices together. There’s opportunity to augment all kinds of objects in the world around us with contextual information. Imagine apps, but taken out of the phone and placed into the real world.

Any other features you like about this that is not obviously evident from the video?

This prototype runs on an iPhone. People don’t have three hands (one for the watch, another to scroll the Digital Crown, and a third to hold the phone), so this is currently not practical. To film this demo, I built a little stand to hold my phone in place.

I also think this isn’t making full use of the potential of AR. I took inspiration from screen-based design principles, limiting myself to a 2D plane adjacent to the watch. I think future AR experiences will make creative use of all 3 spatial dimensions of the real world.

Eat your heart out, Tony Stark.

Image Credit: Nathan Glitter

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