31 best augmented reality app to demonstrate how mobile technology and augmented reality apps have taken this technology from the pages of science fiction comics and movies and delivered it to the masses.
Today, almost everyone is aware of the term augmented reality and projects such as Google Glass, although not yet available in the retail market, are still providing a great demonstration of what the future holds.
Essentially, augmented reality means building upon the real, physical world around us by displaying information overlays and digital content tied to actual, physical objects and locations.
With an augmented reality app, you can bring a static print add to life, or watch a movie trailer by pointing your smartphone camera at a poster, or discover nearby establishments and landmarks with your mobile device.
By using wearable technology such as Google Glass, you can be immersed even further in the experience without having to hold anything in your hand.
Some of the best app developers have already developed various augmented reality apps for iPhones, iPads and other smart devices. These AR apps are designed for various purposes, ranging from educational to entertainment and from travel to retail. These smartphone apps overlay information, suing the camera of your iPhone, iPad, Android or Windows mobile device and display the result on the viewfinder.
Check out these impressive augmented reality app examples:
Acrossair (iOS) – Designed specifically for the Apple iOS platform, Acrossair provides an augmented reality browser and features an amazing 3D navigator that allows can help the user navigate the way to their destination.
To use the application you simply point your smartphone camera to look around you and see geotagged entries for nearby businesses and landmarks. The floating image balloons provide information on the chosen image can can be pinned to view later and is integrated with various social networking sites like Flickr, Facebook and Twitter where you can store and share your location photos.
Action Movie FX (iOS) – This app tries to do something a bit different with AR technology and aims to bring some Hollywood blockbuster effects to the videos shot on smartphone and tablet. Using the in-app effects and framing tools, users can make it look as though they’ve narrowly avoided a huge car crash, witnessed an asteroid hitting Earth or been caught in an avalanche. The effects are perfectly knitted in using AR, so the depth and impact looks better than anything else available on iOS, and because of this it encourages creativity in video shooting.
Augmented Car Finder (iOS) – The car finder augmented reality app has been developed to work across all Apple iOS devices and provides an innovative way to find your car. The Augmented Car Finder app will search for your vehicle using the camera of your iPhone or iPad and provides directions to help you reach your car. Once the car’s location is set, the app creates a visible marker showing the car, the distance you are from it, and the direction you should walk to find it.
iOnRoad Augmented Driving Safety (iOS/Android) – This augmented road safety app uses the device GPS, camera and other sensors to detect if you are travelling too close to the vehicle in front or moving off the road and provides an audio-visual warning system. To use the iOnRoad Augmented Driving Safety app you simply mount the device on your windshield to start iOnRoad automatically as you move.
Golfscape GPS Rangefinder (iOS) – A hit with golf enthusiasts, the Gofscape GPS Rangefinder allow the user to pinpoint their position on the golf course to select the desired landing area to help with club selection. The built in augmented reality technology also shows the distance to the front, back and centre of the green and up to 40 mapped targets for each hole.
Spyglass (iOS) – Augmented reality apps for adventurers! Spyglass is an amazing augmented reality multi-spec compass, speedometer, gyrocompass, inclinometer, sextant and angular calculator. To put it simply, it has everything that the explorer needs. Users also have the option to save coordinates of their locations and the AR technology integrates with GPS for location tracking as well as an embedded optical rangefinder for measuring the distance between yourself and an object in sight.
Sun Seeker (iOS) – Get an augmented reality view showing the path of the sun through the year along with sunrise and sunset times. You can also get a solar direction map and hourly elevations for any day of the year and has become a popular app for architects, real estate agents, solar salespeople and gardeners.
Theodolite (iOS) – Essentially an electronic viewfinder primarily designed for hikers, golfers, hunters, boaters, and other active people, one which turns your tablet or smartphone into an informative lens of topographic information and data overlays. Once downloaded, the app serves a GPS tool, rangefinder, tracker, geo-tag camera, compass, two-axis inclinometer, and a zoom camera, and even has an A-B calculator for measuring distance, height, heading positions, relative angles, and triangulation.
Google Sky Map (Android) – Next time you are laying under a clear sky on a starry night the Google Sky Map app can help you to identify it. Simply point the device camera at the sky and Google Sky Map will identify the constellation and tell you everything about it.
SnapShop Showroom (iOS) – An augmented reality app fro retail, the SnapShop Showroom app allows users to try out furniture for home without moving a thing. Once you capture an image of the desired room you wish to furnish, you can quickly browse and place assorted items (chairs, lamps, beds, tables, etc.) from the likes of big-name retailers like IKEA, Pier 1 Imports, Crate & Barrel, and Horchow, among others.
Users can then resize the furniture, reposition it in the virtual environments, and try various patterns and color combinations until they find the right fit for their home. When you decide on a particular item, click the shopping cart button to visit the retailer’s website and some items can even be purchased directly in the app.
Tagwhat (iOS/Android) – This convenient mobile app taps into your smartphone’s camera and GPS sensor, pulling up-to-the-minute details regarding deals and events from nearby businesses and providing interesting facts and information about nearly any nearby landmark viewable within your camera lens. The aforementioned features are great, but it’s the app integrated social components that render it a standout in the field. Tagwhat provides one-click access to businesses’ Facebook page, Twitter stream, and Foursquare check-in, and the app additionally allows users discuss places they’ve visited via public notes, comments, and uploaded images that appear alongside various, pinned locations to which users can navigate.
Google Goggles (iOS/Android) – Use the power of the Google search engine combined with your smartphone camera using image recognition technology to provide information about landmarks, logos, QR codes and barcodes. You can simply scan the title of a book to read its summary and the app can also recognise paintings, DVDs and CDs.
ARBasketball (iOS) – Simply print the app’s accompanying marker from the developer’s support site, launch the application and point the camera on your iOS device at the pixelated image on the paper. Once done, a virtual basketball hoop will appear on the display, allowing players to shoot hoops and rack up points using on-screen swipe gestures or a sliding meter housed on the right-hand side of the screen. The game additionally supports three game modes (Classic, Arcade, and Action), as well as a global leaderboard, autosave functionality, and seamless integration with popular social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Layar (iOS/Android/Blackberry) – One of the most popular augmented reality apps that works across all three platforms. Layar is an augmented reality browser that allows you to locate nearby services by scanning any building or street corner to get more than 3000 layers of content from search and social media including tweets from nearby areas.
SpecTrek (Android) – This is one of the more unique augmented reality apps that combines physical exercise with gaming that essentially brings Ghostbusters to life on your smartphone — but without all the vacuum cleaners and cheesy lines. Once you launch the SpecTrek AR app you can watch virtual ghosts appearing in your real, physical world surroundings. Move your smartphone in various directions and spot virtual ghosts to capture them with a net. However, you have to run towards them in real. A nice way for some physical exercise! This augmented reality app also provides titles, records and bonuses to the users that keep them going with this smartphone app.
Augment (Android) – The name says it all, this fully flexible augmented app allows users to visualise 3D objects such as books, furniture and characters in their desired rooms and other places using the camera of their smartphone. You can try new settings for your home without any physical rearrangement. You need to print the marker from the official site to use the ‘Augment’ app and select any 3D object from their gallery. Now point the marker at your desired place using your camera and enjoy the augmented reality experience. The marker is replaced by your chosen 3D object.
AR Invaders (Android) – Turn your smartphone into a warzone and save the planet from aliens. Simply point your camera anywhere around you to get a 360 degree view of the surrounding area where you can find and shoot the space invaders. Turn your smartphone into a window on a new world or enter multi-player mode and create an army with your friends.
Yelp Monocle (iOS/Android) – Yelp has always been ahead of the curve. The prominent, social reviewing service provided the iPhone with its first augmented reality app in 2009, the Yelp Monocle, well before similar services began cropping up across the board. The convenient app uses your smartphone’s GPS and compass to display AR markers for nearby restaurants, bars, and other businesses in real time, each bundled with the service’s user-generated ratings and reviews.
Monocle, although somewhat a hidden feature within Yelp, is hands down the best utility for finding and following directions to the most well-regarded, or atrocious, businesses in your local vicinity.
Google Ingress (Android) – Ingress is one of the most creative AR applications created to date and is basically an MMO that puts players in two factions – the Enlightened and the Resistance — and has them fight for control of virtual territories in a giant game of king of the hill. Players gain a material called Exotic Matter (XM) by simply walking around, and can use that XM to take over virtual portals. When three or more portals are taken over by either team, they gain control of the area between the portals. It’s a comprehensive strategy title at its core, heavily rooted in science fiction and bolstered by a continuous open narrative.
Visuar Augmented Reality (iOS) – This is a general purpose augmented reality application. It significantly reduces the cost of marketing and advertising campaigns. Salient features of this application include centering the view in the middle and sawing the interior, take photos and share on social networks and email, change textures and add personal targets in real time, add video texture as well as video, sounds and animations escalate, rotate and move in all perspectives in addition to having your own corporate image and corporate channel.
R U McSafe Augmented Reality (iOS/Android) – This Australian augmented reality app is employed to supplement safety and health measures in the work environment. It allows you to utilize your mobile device to view a variety of safety situations in space or real time. All that is required is for you to position your screen over the printed marker that fills the screen when seen from above. You can watch as the 3D appears as if they are right before your eyes. It allows you to interact with the 3D animation through the use of your finger. You can spin the icons and choose the situation you want to view.
IKEA Augmented Reality App (iOS) – you can now call up a digital version of any piece of furniture and put it anywhere in your home. All you have to do is throw the catalogue on the floor to set an anchor for the illusion, and you’re all set. Looking at a 3D rendering through your phone isn’t quite the same as seeing the real thing, but it’s as close as you could hope to come without holograms.
Volvo X-Ray App (iOS) – Debuted at the Geneva Auto Show, the Volvo X-ray iPad app gave users an unprecedented way to view the inner components and features of a Volvo model.
With the Volvo X-Ray app, which turned users’ iPads into portable x-ray scanners, users could see underneath the car’s exteriors to its inner mechanics and components, as well as explore the car’s features through a 360-degree viewing element. According to PSFK, the app is fueled by augmented reality technology: markers are placed at certain points on the vehicle and are activated when the iPad app scans over them.
Because it was hugely successful at the show, Volvo aims to implement the Volvo X-ray iPad app at other auto shows, along with Volvo dealerships.
TOPSHOP Kinect Augmented Reality Changerooms (Microsoft Kinect) – Fashion brand TOPSHOP has recently launched an augmented reality shopping tool, TOPSHOP Kinect, that will help their customers try on their collection without the need for a dressing room. The TOPSHOP Kinect uses Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect software to create these virtual mirrors.
All the user simply has to do is pose with their arms above their heads and allow for the Kinect to take a photo. Then, with no touch screen, viewers can motion their hands to try on the different styles programmed into the application. The built-in camera scans the body and places the garment over top, following a user’s every movement.
Adidas Originals AR Game (iOS) – Adidas Originals is launching the first-ever augmented reality experience embedded in footwear effectively creating augmented reality sneakers.
Each Adidas Originals AR Game Pack shoe in the 5-shoe collection has a unique AR code printed on the tongue that, when held in front of your webcam, gives you exclusive access to the virtual Adidas Originals neighborhood.
Peaks (iOS) – Just point your iPhone at a mountain, and it will tell you all about it. Perfect for your next outdoor adventure – hiking, biking, climbing, skiing, or even a picnic in the foothills. No internet connection required and the app offers world-wide coverage.
ARSoccer (iOS) – Augmented reality soccer game using your own feet to kick through the camera to play a virtual juggling game. Point your camera at the ground and kick with your feet to juggle the virtual ball, it’s fun and amazing!
Quick Writer (iOS) – A text editor to enable you to watch things in front you while typing. Quick Writer will actually let you SEE the view beyond your phone when typing, so you will never need to take your eyes off the screen.
Compass360 (iOS) – An Augmented Reality compass where you can see the geographic directions around you right on your live camera preview. The app can calculate/display heading data just from the direction you’re actually points with the iPhone camera (360° heading mode). You can also use it as a classic “flat” compass just by holding your device horizontally (camera pointing to the ground so), hereby Compass360 switches to classic heading mode.
SketchWiz (iOS) – Turn your camera into your personal sketch artist. You can view your world as pencil, pen, chalk, or charcoal sketches, and you can save your masterpieces to your photo library.