Augmented reality (AR) is an interactive experience which enhanced the real-life environment around us into a digital interface by putting virtual objects in real-time. Augmented Reality uses the existing environment and overlays new information on the top of it unlike virtual reality, which creates a totally artificial environment. Augmented Reality can be seen through a variety of experiences.
Recent developments have made this technology accessible using a smartphone which led to development of wide variety of augmented reality apps.
The first commercial application of AR technology was the yellow “first down” line that began appearing in televised football games in 1998. Some other popular examples of AR apps include AcrossAir, Google Sky Map, Layar, Lookator, SpotCrime, PokemonGo etc. We have collected 8 examples of augmented reality apps and how they can impact the future of mobile technology.
Categories of AR Apps and Examples of their Usage:
a) Augmented Reality in 3D viewers:
This allows users to put life-size 3D models in their environment with or without the use of trackers. Trackers are the simple images that 3D models can be linked to in Augmented Reality.
Augment allows its users to see their products in 3D in a real-life environment and in real-time through tablets or smartphones to drive sales and improve user engagement. This app can be used for Retail, E-Commerce, Architecture, and other purposes also. Augment allows retailers and manufacturers to connect with each other and thereby enable the online shoppers to experience the products sitting at home before buying. Customers can view the images in 3D by rotating them and viewing all the augmented content before deciding to buy. It has plenty of customers, companies such as Coca-Cola, Siemens, Nokia, Nestle, and Boeing are using this application.
Sun-Seeker is an AR app which provides a flat compass view and a 3D view showing the solar path, its hour intervals, its equinox, winter and summer solstice paths, sunrise and sunset times, twilight times, magic hours and also a Map view showing solar direction for each daylight hour. The app runs on both the mediums i.e., Android and iOS. The app has got 3+ ratings from its users. The app is perfect for –
- Photographers – For planning ideal light conditions, sunrise or sunset directions, golden and blue hour times
- Cinematographers – To search for the exact exposure of Sun, directions and times for any location.
- Real Estate Buyers – To search for the sun exposure properties that the customers are considering
- Drivers – To find how long the car will remain in the shade at any parking spot
- Campers – To find where to camp, sit or pitch an umbrella
- Gardeners – Helps to search for ideal locations for planting and seasonal sunlight hours
- Architects – For visualizing the spatial variability of the solar angle throughout the year.
b) Augmented Reality in Browsers:
The AR browsers can enhance users’ camera display with contextual information. For example, when you point your smartphone at a building, you can see its history or estimated value.
Argon4 allows any 3D view of reality to be augmented. Developers can make their own custom views of reality, anything that displays a view of the world can be built into a reality for Argon. Argon4 is very much similar to a normal web browser that allows multiple pages to be loaded into different tabs but it handles the case of multiple AR apps in a special way.
4. AR Browser SDK:
This is a browser created by ARLab. This browser allows the users to add augmented reality geolocation view to the Android and or iOS application in less than 5 minutes. With user-friendly API (Application Programming Interface), it can be fully customized. The framework takes care of all the complex functions of the augmented reality browser.
- It provides video support.
- It adds and removes single POIs in real time.
- It can run on any device.
- It offers great performance and memory management.
- It has an exceptionally light view, smooth and accurate movements.
- It provides custom activities like SMS, call, email, video, social networks and more.
c) Augmented Reality Games:
AR Gaming software is probably the most common type of App. These apps create mesmeric gaming experiences that use your actual surroundings.
5. Pokémon Go:
The most popular AR game till date is Pokémon Go which allows users to catch virtual Pokémon that are hidden throughout the map of the real world. It uses real locations to encourage players to far and wide in the real world to discover Pokemon. The game enables the players to search and catch more than a hundred species of Pokemon as they move in their surroundings. The app works on both the mediums i.e., Android and iOS.
Key Data Points of Pokémon Go:
- Total Downloads till date – 650 Million times
- Percentage of iOS users who do in-app purchases – 80%
- Daily Active Users Globally – 5 Million
- Estimated amount of revenue generated – $1 Billion
- Apple Store Rankings – 3 stars
- Google Play Rankings – 4.2 stars
6. REAL STRIKE:
This is a popular shooting AR game which is available only on iOS. The users get a real life shooting experience in this game and can record their fights and also create their own videos. There is a pool which has been polluted by nuclear waste and a group of pests is just around the corner so players have to stop them infecting the earth. Users use their phone to scan the mark.The game offers night and thermal vision goggles to get a clear view even in the evening to complete your mission.
- This is the world’s first ever Augmented Reality First-Person-Shooting app.
- The game is Ranked 1st in U.S. and China during the limited free offering.
- Best ranked top 50 in U.S. and top 10 in Japan and Germany.
- The game has got 3+ ratings on Apple Store.
- It is the first ever AR shooting movie maker that allows users to make a fun video or take a snapshot.
- It provides extremely high-precision gun models with 8000 vertices on average.
d) Augmented Reality GPS:
AR applications in smartphones generally include Global Positioning System (GPS) to spot the user’s location and its compass to detect device orientation.
7. AR GPS Drive/Walk Navigation:
The application makes use of the smartphone’s GPS and camera to execute a car navigation system with
an augmented reality-powered technology. It is easier and safer than the normal navigation system for the driver. This application is available only on Android.
This app guides the drivers directly by the virtual path of the camera preview video which makes it easy for them to understand. The drivers do not need to map the map the path and the road while using this app. The driver can see the real-time camera preview navigation screen to get driving condition without hindering his safety.
Ratings: 3.9 stars on Google Play
Estimated Total Users: More than 4,000,000 downloads till date.
8. AR GPS Compass Map 3D:
The app shows a 3D compass that gets fused with the camera image and shows your current location from GPS on a separate map with adjustable size. The app can only run on Android interface. The compass uses a very effective amalgamation and filtering algorithm to combine the values of the magnetic field sensor, the accelerometer, and the gyroscope to get the maximum accuracy and stability which is a different feature as compared to other apps.
The users can define their own waypoints if they want. The app also allows the users to share their current location and the locations of their waypoints with their friends. The app also features a 3D stereoscopic view of the compass and the camera image on devices which have LG’s Real 3D technology.
Ratings: 4.3 stars on Google Play
Estimated Total Users: More than 400,000 downloads till date
AR apps are growing at a tremendous speed as they give businesses a different edge which attracts the customers. It is a technology that has changed the face of smartphone apps and gaming. AR adds digital images and data to amplify views of the real world, giving users more information about their environments and interactive with them. This step is beyond virtual reality, which attempts to simulate reality.