Augmented reality (AR) refers to the integration of digital components and information with a user’s environment, in real time. Unlike virtual reality which creates an entirely artificial environment, AR only uses the existing environment, and it only overlays new information on top of it.
Surprisingly, superimposing the computer-generated images on top of your natural view of reality to create a composite view which augments flawlessly with the real world isn’t new at all. The term augmented reality first came to light in 1990 where it described the working of head-mounted displays used by electricians.
Pokemon Go remains the main form of AR known to us, and if you thought that this game was a passing cloud, you were wrong. Pokemon Go was an example of how AR works and also a peek into what the future of technological and human interaction, the possibility of the existence of a world where the digital and the physical elements come together and interact as one.
What was thought of as a fad by everyone including the dog bite lawyers is now this significant technological application that is ruling the social and advertising scenes.
Other than Pokemon Go, IKEA is big on AR as is Snapchat. But, these are not the only examples of AR as there are several other AR apps which will help you escape reality easily. Our top picks for AR apps include:
You cannot have a list of AR apps without Pokemon Go by Niantic. As mentioned above, this is the game that opened our eyes to AR. This app grabbed everyone’s attention, giving gamers a reason to leave their homes and walk around the real world, just to catch Pokemon.
Using GPS to map your location and to move your in-game avatar, your smartphone’s camera is used to reveal Pokemon in your real world. As long as the game doesn’t crash or freeze, the instructions are easy to follow. Other than Pokemon, there is Ingress, also by Niantic which promises to give you the same experience as Pokemon, the only difference being the location which is Gyms in Ingress and Pokestops in Pokemon.
Finally, there is an app to keep you safe. SpotCrime is an AR app which allows the gathering of a lot of information on the real-time crime. While this app doesn’t prevent crime directly, it provides a comprehensive overview of dangerous avenues, and it also lets you know when to be out or indoors.You can also use it to get alerts on crime in just about every location in the United States, some parts of Canada and the United Kingdom.
SpotCrime works by pinpointing your location using your smartphone’s GPS and also by pulling crime data from different sheriff agencies, police departments, and news media, among other places. This app will also feed you information on crime ranges from shootings and robberies to assaults and arrests. The app will pinpoint every occurrence using a respective icon on the map.
And, that isn’t all. You can use the app to set up automated alerts and also to search crimes around specific addresses.
You didn’t know about the existence of an app to help you choose the right tattoo, did you? Well, Ink Hunter is that app. Ink Hunter will help you decide the tattoo to choose, as well as the part of your body you should have the tattoo. You can use it to try the premade tattoos, and you can also make your own designs. You can orient the tattoo in any direction you think of.
Using this app, tattoos are placed on the body with the camera as close to real-life as possible, and the best part is that you don’t have to go under the needle thanks to the in-app editor and Ink Hunter’s ability to render the tattoos. Although this app only delivered black-and-white tattoos only, you can now access and get color tattoos. It also provides the deeper meaning of every tattoo design.
In the marketing scene, IKEA is winning in the use of AR technology. This app comes with a print catalog that lets you view all IKEA furniture IN 3D, in the comfort of your home.
All you have to do to use this app is to place the catalog on the floor or where you wish to test the new furniture. The app uses your smartphone’s camera to locate the catalog and then it generates a 3D rendering of your desired furniture which will be overlaid on the real-time feed from your camera.
This is an intuitive app that makes the purchase of furniture easy because it gives you a general idea of what the couch will look like in your living room, kitchen, or the bedroom. It also simplifies the choice of color for furniture because you see the real color of furniture in real time. The app gives you access to over 2000 IKEA products.
If you are a fan of the fitness tracking app, Strava, then you will enjoy the additions of AR to their list of over 20,000 apps. Fitness AR, a Strava app allows visualization of routes using the 3D terrain map that is powered by Mapbox. It has a screen recording feature which lets you pan and zoom through your selected route, creating a video. You can save the video created to the camera roll then share.
Note that are just a few of the AR apps available on the market, there are hundreds of other AR apps on the market, and a lot more being developed.