Augmented Reality (AR) Web Development with JavaScript and AR.js

Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that overlays digital information and virtual objects onto the real world. It has gained significant popularity in recent years, thanks to advancements in mobile devices and web technologies. In this article, we will explore the basics of AR web development using JavaScript and AR.js, a powerful JavaScript library for creating AR experiences on the web.

Understanding Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality combines the real world with virtual objects, creating an interactive and immersive user experience. AR applications can be used for various purposes, such as gaming, education, marketing, and visualisation. By leveraging computer vision, AR technology recognizes and tracks the real-world environment, allowing virtual objects to be placed and interacted with in real-time.

Introduction to AR.js

AR.js is a JavaScript library that simplifies the development of AR experiences for the web. It is based on the WebAR standard, which utilises the capabilities of modern web browsers to create AR applications without the need for native app development. AR.js supports marker-based AR, where predefined markers, such as QR codes or images, are used to trigger virtual content.

Understanding AR.js Concepts

AR.js provides several important concepts and features to enhance AR web development −

  • Marker Types  AR.js supports various marker types, including pattern, barcode, and NFT (Natural Feature Tracking). Pattern markers use predefined images as triggers, barcode markers use barcode patterns, and NFT markers track natural features in the environment.

  • Geolocation  AR.js allows developers to integrate geolocation and create location-based AR experiences. By combining GPS data with AR, you can overlay virtual content on real-world locations.

  • 3D Models and Interactions  AR.js supports the integration of 3D models, enabling you to place and interact with virtual objects in the AR scene. You can use popular 3D file formats like .glTF and .obj to import and display complex 3D models.

  • Lighting and Shading −  AR.js provides lighting and shading options to make virtual objects appear more realistic in the AR scene. You can adjust the lighting conditions and apply shading effects to enhance the visual quality.

Exploring AR.js Capabilities

AR.js offers a wide range of features and capabilities beyond the basic example shown earlier. Some of the notable features include −

  • Image Tracking  AR.js can track images in real-time, allowing virtual content to be anchored to specific images. This feature is useful for creating interactive AR experiences tied to specific products, posters, or advertisements.

  • Multiple Markers  AR.js supports multiple markers, enabling the simultaneous detection and tracking of multiple markers in the environment. This capability allows for more complex AR scenes with multiple virtual objects.

  • Interaction and Animation  AR.js provides tools for adding interactivity and animation to AR experiences. You can create buttons, gestures, and animations to engage users and enhance the user experience.

  • Customization  AR.js allows developers to customise the appearance and behaviour of virtual objects. You can apply different materials, textures, and animations to create unique and visually appealing AR content.

Setting up the Development Environment

To get started with AR.js, ensure you have a modern web browser and a code editor. You can include AR.js directly in your HTML file by adding the following script tag:

<script src=""></script>

Creating an AR Scene

Let's create a simple AR scene using AR.js. In this example, we will place a virtual 3D cube on top of a marker. First, we need to define a marker by using an image. You can use any image you like, or you can download a sample marker from the AR.js GitHub repository.


<!DOCTYPE html>
      <script src=""></script>
   <body style="margin: 0; overflow: hidden;">
      <a-scene embedded arjs="sourceType: webcam;">
         <a-marker preset="custom" type="pattern" url="path/to/marker.patt">
            <a-box position="0 0.5 0" material="color: red;"></a-box>


In the above code, we embed an <a-scene> element that represents the AR scene. Inside the scene, we define an <a-marker> element, specifying the marker type as "pattern" and providing the URL to the marker image. Within the marker, we place an <a-box> element, representing a 3D cube with a red colour.

Testing the AR Scene

Save the above code in an HTML file and open it in a web browser that supports AR.js. You will need to grant permission to access the webcam. Once the marker is detected, the virtual cube will be placed on top of it. Move the marker, and the cube will follow accordingly.


Augmented Reality has opened up new possibilities for web developers to create immersive and interactive experiences. With JavaScript and libraries like AR.js, we can easily develop AR applications that run directly in web browsers, eliminating the need for users to install additional software. By combining web technologies and AR, developers can create innovative and engaging experiences that bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds.

Updated on: 24-Jul-2023


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