One of the most popular fields in technology is current augmented reality, or AR, where virtual elements are projected and can interact with the surrounding environment. While this realm is still new and in the early stages of development, several applications have been made which leverages this technology for both practical applications as well as entertainment. With so many available, this article discusses the best ones available in the space which utilizes AR to allow for a greater degree of environmental interaction.
SkyView® Free – Explore the Universe
For those who are interested in stargazing, SkyView is a highly recommended app which lets users interact with the stars through the use of their camera. For example, users can identify various celestial bodies by simply pointing the camera at the sky at which point the app will show the constellation, stars, and planets. Furthermore, by rotating the camera, the app automatically recognizes the different points in the sky and adjusts accordingly. Even in sub-optimal viewing conditions such as with light pollution and a bright sky, the app can still identify different objects. With this, Skyview makes it simple to interact with different elements in the sky through the power of AR that would not be possible otherwise. Beyond just simply naming the objects that are in the sky, the app also has different information such as the location of the Hubble and International Space Station as well as the location of stars at different points in time. As the process of stargazing can be difficult especially in city centers, the app is one that leverages AR to make it easier.
Augment – 3D Augmented Reality
To increase engagement during online sales, Augment is a powerful app which lets users visualize their online purchases at home. For companies that have integrated Augment, consumers are able to get a virtual version of their goods through their device so that they do not have to imagine what it would look like. For the purchaser, a better grasp of the product can be understood as users simply have to point their camera and select the product that they are looking to buy for it to be shown in the physical space. From large furniture to smaller accessories, many products can be displayed in the environment. Furthermore, the app aims to replicate the size and look of the item by being able to turn the product at different angles and even adjust the size automatically depending on where it is placed in the room. On the other hand, companies that utilize Augment are able to convert higher sales as their customers better understand the product prior to placing a purchase, making it one of the best apps in the augmented reality space.
iOnRoad – Augmented Reality Driving
To incorporate augmented reality into the process of driving, iOnRoad introduces proprietary algorithms to identify various metrics related to the road. For example, if a camera is mounted on the dashboard to face the front, the app can identify how far the car in front of the user’s vehicle is as well as various indicators. In being able to process information intelligently, drivers can get notifications while they drive in a non-intrusive manner. For example, safety alerts are made possible if a car is driving too close to the vehicle ahead of it. Beyond this, off-road alerts also exist so that if a driver is driving too close to the left or right side of the road, an alert will notify them. Through these features, physical objects on the road are made to interact with virtual elements such as a popup box that hovers over the vehicle ahead of the driver. Combining factors such as acceleration, highly accurate statistics can be obtained to enhance road safety.
Pokémon GO (iOS)
One of the fastest growing mobile games has been Pokémon GO which has recently caught the interest of millions of players around the world. Based on catching Pokémon, the game has players going to different locations to throw virtual Pokeballs at different creatures to capture them. To introduce the elements of augmented reality, the creatures are placed in the surrounding environment which players can then interact with. Furthermore, players can use their existing captures to battle other Pokémon with various swipes and different interactions that combines the animation of the game with the physical surroundings. Utilizing both location and camera based gaming, the game introduces a new degree of reality that has not been seen before. With the high level of augmented reality that is integrated, the level of entertainment that Pokémon go provides is unprecedented when compared to other, more static games.
ARBasketball – Augmented Reality Basketball Game
Another game that leverages augmented reality is ARBasketball which allows players to throw virtual balls at a basketball hoop. All that a player has to do is print out the accompanying marker and then open the app. Once the app is open with the camera pointed at the marker, a virtual basketball net is shown and then players can swipe balls into the net. Through various game modes that include timers and records, the game is extremely intriguing and can adapt based on the distance that the player is away the marker. Furthermore, ARBasketball dynamic to the various angles that a player may be in so that the physics work in the same way as in the physical world. Given the simplicity of the game despite incorporating elements of augmented reality, ARBasketball is a game that is easy to learn but utilizes sophisticated software to increase its usability.
As the next big shift in mobile gaming and technology space is augmented reality which combines aspects of the physical environment with virtual elements for a more interactive experience, several mobile apps have been developed which leverages this for different purposes. From gaming to increasing driver safety, the apps listed in this article are able to provide a tremendous amount of value for both practical and entertainment purposes in the realm of augmented reality.