Simply put, we're all fascinated by travel and saw a great opportunity to explore our interests in augmented reality.
What it does
AR Planes allows users to visualize and discover all the flights happening around them. AR Planes is an augmented reality iOS app that shows all nearby flights in their realtime locations on the user's device, and it shows quick information about a flight (like where the plane is headed).
How we built it
AR Planes utilizes Apple's brand new framework, ARKit, which allows us to place airplanes in their real location on a user's device. It also relies heavily on SceneKit, another native framework, that renders and controls 3D models in iOS. AR Planes finds all the flights currently in the air, locates those nearest to the user's location, and then pulls information about those select flights. Our backend utilizes web sockets to facilitate high frequency updates, which keeps the app realtime. Based on the info we collect, we place AR planes onto the user's screen in their realtime location along with info about the flights.
Challenges we ran into
3D models are challenging to find and can be incredibly expensive; we ended up having to do a lot more customization of our 3D airplanes than we initially imagined to get the perfect plane. Also, we struggled to understand and calculate coordinates correctly, but we got there eventually!
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We're astonished that we were able to gather the mass amount of flight data required to make this app possible. We're also super excited to have been able to implement ARKit just as iOS 11 is about to be released.
What we learned
We learned multiple new frameworks (ARKit, SceneKit), learned about web sockets, and learned a lot about flights.
What's next for AR Planes
We need to test it extensively in highly congested areas (like airports), add some more information about the flights, and polish it off. You'll be able to find it on the App Store soon.