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10 Best Augmented Reality Apps – VR for the Rest of Us

10 Best Augmented Reality Apps – VR for the Rest of Us

10 Best Augmented Reality Apps – VR for the Rest of Us

 

“VIRTUAL REALITY VS AUGMENTED REALITY

Virtual reality, or VR, has a reputation for being for hardcore gamers. You know: the serious tech heads who don’t think it’s at all strange to sit in a room with a giant set of black goggles over their eyes and interact with people, places, and things that don’t actually exist.

For the rest of us, there’s probably a healthy curiosity about VR, but it’s not to the point where we’re willing to spend a few hundred pounds on a serious piece of equipment.

Augmented reality, or AR, on the other hand, combines reality (or real reality, since the word “reality” on its own need some qualification here) with virtual reality. It’s not only a more approachable solution for the majority of people who don’t want to have two of their five senses completely cut off from (real) reality, but it’s more accessible, since all you need is your smartphone.

The category of AR apps has been quickly growing over the past few years. Now, there are lots of AR apps that do all sorts of things: entertain, educate, share helpful information, tap into users’ creativity, and more.

Here are 10 of our favourite augmented reality apps.

1. LAYAR

Think of the name as layer plus AR, since that’s what Layar does: add layers of digital content over the world – augmenting our reality. It enhances printed materials, and gives you location-specific information, wherever you are.

You can scan any package or page that has digital content (as noted by the Layar icon) to bring it up. It also scans QR codes and has AV playback capabilities. Bring up the Geo option to find out what’s around you, including points of interest, restaurants, and even homes for sale.

Layar works with most social media channels, so you can easily share what you find, and you can save favourites right to your phone. Layar is free, and it’s a great first experience with AR for the average consumer because it’s so simple and so useful.

Download Layar For Free For iOS

Download Layar For Free For Android

2. STAR WALK

Star Walk augmented reality apps

Knowledge of constellations and the stars in the sky has long been a way for travellers to find their way home. Now, we’ve got maps and GPS, but it’s still awe-inspiring to gaze up at the night sky and find the same shapes and patterns that our ancestors saw.

If you’ve ever wanted to know more about what you’re looking at, the Star Walk AR app can tell you. Point your phone’s (or tablet’s) camera at the sky, and the app will find your location and give you all of the information about the stars in your field of view.

If you’re looking for a particular constellation or star, the app can tell you when and how you can see it. It syncs with social media, so you can share your findings. It’s a great education tool for young and old stargazers.

Buy Star Walk  For £1.82 for iOS

Buy Star Walk For £1.82 for Android

Buy Star Walk  For £1.82 for the Windows Phone

Buy Star Walk For £1.82 for the Kindle Fire

3. WIKITUDE

wikitude augmented reality app

Using Wikitude is like having Yelp, Trip Advisor, Twitter, Facebook, and several other helpful sites with you all at once.

It’s location based, so all you have to do is hold your phone’s camera up, and you’ll get reviews, geo-tagged Tweets and posts, and all sorts of useful information for the places in your immediate proximity.

It’s an immensely helpful tool for travellers who need spontaneous details on where to go and what to do, but really, it’s helpful for everyone.

Download Wikitude  For FREE for iOS

Download Wikitude For FREE for Android

4. GOOGLE INGRESS

ingress augmented reality app

This intense augmented reality app from Google, Ingress is all about brainy fun, and it’s sure to appeal to serious gamers who don’t yet have (or want) a full-on VR set-up.

It’s an impressively immersive game that blends science fiction, mystery, and adventure, and players use their phone to find portals and create control fields.

If you love multi-faceted role playing games with loads of people and you’ve always fancied yourself a bit of a spy, you might find Ingress incredibly addictive.

Download Google Ingress for FREE for iOs

Download Google Ingress for FREE for Android

5. ARBASKETBALL/KICK BALL (AR SOCCER)

What’s the point of having augmented reality if you can’t have a little mindless fun once in a while? These two apps provide just that, and they’re both quite simple.

For ARBasketball, you just print a marker and point your phone at it. You’ll be given a VR ball and shown a VR hoop, and all you have to do is start shooting.

Prefer football? With the Android Kick Ball app, all you need to do is point your smartphone’s camera at your feet and start kicking around the VR ball.

Again, these apps aren’t going to do anything of great use, but they’re awfully good for a goof.

Download ARBasketball for FREE for iOs

Download ARBasketball for FREE for Android

6. AR INVADERS

AR Invaders is like playing Space Invaders, Galaga, Asteroids, or any other spacey shooter game, except you’re standing right in the middle of it.

Alien invaders fly around wherever you’re standing, and you shoot them. There’s a multiplayer mode to get your friends in on the action, and the game is different whenever you’re in a new location.

It’s a great introduction to AR gaming.

Buy AR Invaders for £.63 for iOs

Buy AR Invaders for £.63 for Android

7. TOYWHEEL TOY CAR RC

Toywheel Toy Car RC augmented reality app

If you had a good time tooling around with an RC car when you were a kid, you’ll love the Toywheel Toy Car RC augmented reality app. Or rather, the kids in your life will love it.

Using targets that you can print on any ordinary printer, you can use your iPhone or iPad to drive a virtual RC car through your real environment.

On the floor? Of course. Over the couch? Totally. Over the sleeping dog? Well, that’s up to you. Toy Car RC is another fun app that lets kids get in on the AR action.

Download Toywheel Toy Car RC for FREE for iOs

Download Toywheel Toy Car RC for FREE for Android

8. MYBRANA 3D

Aspiring filmmakers, wannabe animators, auteurs and new media artists of all ages: you’re gonna like this one.

Mybrana lets you make short videos with a twist, adding bits of animation (called branas) to whatever it is you’re shooting. Imagine dragons flying through the sky, aliens roaming in the park, or the legs of an octopus in your bathtub.

Some branas are available for purchase, or you can design (and share) your own. It’s all in good fun, but with a strong creative element.

Download Mybrana 3D for FREE for iOs

Download Mybrana 3D for FREE for Android

9. QUIVER (FORMERLY COLAR MIX)

Quiver is a really cool app for bringing drawings to life. Not just any drawings, though: you have to use one of the colouring pages provided on the Quiver website, many of which are free.

Once your kids (or you) colour one in, you capture it with the app, and it’s instantly a 3D figure that you can control. For children who enjoy colouring, or for adults who are jumping in on the grown-up colouring book trend, this AR app is a great way to take this age-old hobby just one step further.

Download Quiver for FREE for iOs

Download Quiver for FREE for Android

10. ANATOMY 4D

For biology students or anyone with an interest in how the human body works, this vivid, educational, and totally free app uses free printable images (or “targets”) to bring ordinary anatomy textbook images to life.

You can see, in 3D, the various systems of the body, zoom in, and change opacity to see how organs and more work together.

The classroom possibilities for the Anatomy 4D augmented reality app, especially in schools that have lots of iPads to pass around, are endless.

Download Anatomy 4D for FREE for iOs

Download Anatomy 4D for FREE for Android

GIVE THEM A TRY!

If you’ve been curious about virtual reality, or if you’re interested in pushing the boundaries of what you can do with your smartphone or tablet, these ten augmented reality apps are definitely worth trying. Many of them are free, and there’s sure to be something on our list that will appeal to everyone.

We’re just scratching the surface of AR, though. What’s your favourite augmented reality app, and why? Leave a comment and let us know what we should check out next!”

Stephen

Posted on: January 14, 2016, 6:25 am Category: Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. rollercoaster said

    I would also include Spyglass into this list. Using augmented reality, the app overlays compass, GPS and location info on top of visuals captured by an iPhone camera or the map itself. It can measure distance, sizes of objects, your speed, altitude and potential arrival time to the target. Here it is https://itunes.apple.com/app/spyglass/id332639548?mt=8&at=11lLc7&ct=c

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