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Ionic and AR: Building Augmented Reality Experiences

Augmented Reality (AR) has become one of the most fascinating technologies of the 21st century, blending the virtual world with the real one. With the increasing popularity of AR applications, developers are constantly exploring new tools and frameworks to create immersive experiences. One such powerful framework that facilitates AR development is Ionic. In this blog, we will explore the synergy between Ionic and AR and learn how to build compelling AR experiences from scratch.

Ionic and AR: Building Augmented Reality Experiences

What is Augmented Reality (AR)?

Before we dive into the world of Ionic and AR, let’s briefly understand what Augmented Reality is. AR is a technology that superimposes digital content, such as images, videos, or 3D models, onto the real-world environment. This creates an interactive and immersive experience that users can engage with using their smartphones, tablets, or AR glasses.

Advantages of Using Ionic for AR Development

Ionic is an open-source framework that utilizes web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to build cross-platform mobile applications. It has gained immense popularity due to its ease of use and versatility. Here are some of the advantages of using Ionic for AR development:

  • Cross-platform Compatibility: Ionic allows developers to build AR applications that run seamlessly on both Android and iOS devices. This cross-platform compatibility significantly reduces development time and costs.
  • Access to Device Features: Ionic provides plugins and APIs that give developers access to various device features such as the camera, accelerometer, and geolocation. These features are crucial for building AR applications that interact with the real-world environment.
  • Web-based Development: Ionic leverages web technologies, making it accessible to a broader audience of web developers who can quickly adapt to building AR experiences.
  • Extensive Community and Support: Ionic has a thriving community of developers who actively contribute to plugins, modules, and tutorials, making it easier for newcomers to find solutions to their problems.

Getting Started: Setting Up the Development Environment

To begin building AR experiences with Ionic, you need to set up your development environment. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Install Node.js and npm

Ionic relies on Node.js and npm (Node Package Manager) to manage dependencies and build the application. Install the latest version of Node.js and npm by visiting the official Node.js website ( and following the installation instructions for your operating system.

Step 2: Install Ionic CLI

Once Node.js and npm are installed, you can install the Ionic CLI globally on your system. Open your terminal or command prompt and run the following command:

npm install -g @ionic/cli

Step 3: Create a New Ionic Project

With the Ionic CLI installed, you can now create a new Ionic project. Choose a blank template for this AR project:

ionic start ARProject blank

Step 4: Navigate to the Project Directory

Move into the newly created project directory:

cd ARProject

Step 5: Add Platforms

To target specific platforms, add them to your project. For AR experiences, you’ll want to add the iOS and Android platforms:

ionic cordova platform add ios
ionic cordova platform add android

Ionic and AR: Implementing AR Functionality

Now that we have our Ionic project set up, let’s integrate AR functionality into it. For this demonstration, we’ll use the popular AR.js library, which brings AR capabilities to the web using web-based markers.

Step 1: Install AR.js

In your project directory, install AR.js as a dependency:

npm install ar.js

Step 2: Set Up Marker Image

For AR.js to recognize a marker and overlay content on it, you need to provide a marker image. This image will be displayed in the real world, triggering the AR experience. You can use an image editor to create a custom marker or use the sample marker provided by AR.js.

Step 3: Create an AR Component

In the ‘src/app’ directory, create a new component for your AR experience:

ionic generate component ar-experience

Step 4: Add AR.js Code

In the newly created ‘ar-experience’ component, add the AR.js code to create the AR scene. Replace the marker URL with your marker image’s location:

<!-- ar-experience.component.html -->
      AR Experience

  <div style="text-align: center;">
    <a-scene embedded arjs>
      <a-marker preset="hiro">
        <a-box position="0 0.5 0" material="color: yellow;"></a-box>
      <a-entity camera></a-entity>

Step 5: Update App Module

Include the newly created ‘ar-experience’ component in your app module:

// app.module.ts
import { NgModule } from '@angular/core';
import { BrowserModule } from '@angular/platform-browser';
import { IonicModule } from '@ionic/angular';
import { AppComponent } from './app.component';
import { AppRoutingModule } from './app-routing.module';
import { ArExperienceComponent } from './ar-experience/ar-experience.component'; // Import the component

  declarations: [AppComponent, ArExperienceComponent], // Add the component to the declarations
  imports: [BrowserModule, IonicModule.forRoot(), AppRoutingModule],
  bootstrap: [AppComponent],
export class AppModule {}

Testing the AR Experience

With all the code in place, it’s time to test your AR experience. Run your Ionic application on a mobile device:

ionic cordova run ios
# or
ionic cordova run android

Your AR application will open, and when it recognizes the marker, a yellow box will be displayed on top of it. You have successfully built your first AR experience using Ionic and AR.js!


Augmented Reality opens up a world of possibilities for developers to create interactive and engaging experiences. By combining the power of Ionic and AR, you can build cross-platform AR applications with ease. In this blog, we explored the advantages of using Ionic for AR development, set up our development environment, and created a basic AR experience using the AR.js library.

Keep exploring the vast realm of AR and experiment with more advanced features and interactions to create truly immersive AR experiences. Happy coding!

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Skilled Mobile Developer with expertise in Ionic framework. 1 year of Ionic and 12+ years of overall experience. Proficient in Java, Kotlin, C#, and TypeScript.