Whether we believe it or not, Augmented Reality (AR) has made its way into our day to day lives in the form of several mobile applications. From social media filters to real-time games, there are a number of AR apps in the market which enhance the virtual experience of users by combining it with real-world aspects.
By providing an exceptional and immersive experience, this virtual reality development has completely changed the way we experience things in our ordinary lives. In contrast to virtual reality, AR apps do not need powerful gadgets and equipment to work. Anybody with a smartphone can enjoy different types of AR apps. But this technology is more versatile and offers a plethora of potential uses.
AR technology works by placing computer-generated images over the actual view in real-time (wiki). This creates a composite view that enhances the physical aspects of the real world. In other words, AR technology virtually places a 3D visual into a real-world experience. Due to the futuristic technology which AR uses there is a growing demand for mobile apps which are not only entertaining but also useful to the common man.
Are you wondering which AR apps you should be using right now? Here is a list of 10 best AR apps for Android/iOS that will change the way you use your smartphone.
One of the most popular AR apps for design and interior layout planning. Houzz is primarily used as a home improvement app. From re-designing to building or decorating your home, this app has more than 20 million styles to design your home. Once you select your preferred room and style, the app uses its 3D technology to naturally place the products and gives you a lifelike image of the setting.
The app has a vast portfolio. It consists of a variety of furniture, home décor, appliances, and lighting items to choose from. As the app also has e-commerce functionality, you can browse and purchase the products directly from the app.
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2. Plane Finder
This is one of the top-rated travel apps on android and iOS. Plane Finder allows users to view air traffic around the world in real-time. The app is customizable, and you can set your preferences to track the location of any flight. Through its AR view and by using your smartphone’s camera, you can also identify the planes flying overhead.
Moreover, the app also has an option where it will send you a notification every time a plane flies in the sky above you. As the app picks up live ADS-B signals it claims to work faster than regular radar.
3. Google Lens
This app is backed by the power of Google’s cloud computing. Google Lens app helps users identify texts, objects, images, and landmarks in their photographs. A replacement of Google Goggles which was long-neglected, Google lens has amazed users due to its easy to use interface. By just pointing Google Lens at an item, you can pull up a Google search for that object or get suggestions on where you can buy that item and even get its product alternatives.
Although the standalone app is only available in Android, iOS users can use its latest integrated version in Google Photos. To get a completely different search experience, all you have to do is open the app and point it towards any object or landmark you want to know more about.
Holo is a great app to add real-world and fictional characters in any video. It allows users to pick various characters from both real and fictional worlds. By using this AR app, you can choose a character, drag-and-drop them into your direct surroundings. After naturally placing animated 3D models in your surroundings you can capture a video with the 3D character moving with you.
The extensive library of Holo consists of various holograms of celebrities, comedians, musicians, and fictional characters, which you can add to any scene and capture a photo or video. It also allows users to adjust the size of the hologram. You can even rotate or move the hologram based on the backdrop scene. In this way, users can adjust the characters in their immediate surroundings and make them perform different animations and sounds.
While AR filters were initially introduced by Snapchat, now Instagram also showcases its wide range of AR filters. These AR face filters work with the front as well as the rear cameras of the phone. They can be used to capture an image or video using Instagram.
From special-effect filters to real-time transformations, users can use these filters to check out a make-up look, turn themselves into an animal, try a virtual headgear, etc. These filters can even turn a dull looking picture into an interesting piece of art.
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Why carry a measuring tape everywhere when you have a smartphone. This app uses AR technology to turn your smartphone into a measuring tool. Using the Measure app, users can automatically gauge the size of any object, detect the dimensions of a rectangular object, and capture the image of the measurement for future reference.
Apart from measuring the length of an object, this app also allows users to measure the height of an object or a person. Users can also copy their measurements to a clipboard and use it wherever necessary.
7. Star Walk 2
If you like stargazing, then Star Walk 2 will take your stargazing experience to the next level. Using your smartphone’s sensors and location data, this app will provide you with an interactive visualization of the night sky. To know more about the stars overhead, you just have to point your phone towards the sky. The app will then display an identical view of all the planets, constellations, meteors, satellites, and other celestial bodies in real-time. You will also get an option to get more details of the planets or constellations you are interested in.
If you are finding it difficult to recognize a constellation in the night sky, just aim your phone to the constellations, and Star Walk 2 will give you all the information you need. The app offers additional services such as sunrise and sunset timings, an astronomical calendar, and much more. The app not only serves to adults but also adjusts itself to provide a different level of astronomical information to children of all age groups.
8. Google Translate
While everybody acknowledges the amazing benefit of using Google Translate not everybody is aware of its AR feature. Although Google Translate is not completely an AR app, it has an AR feature that can translate any written text. To use this feature, users need to select the camera mode of the app and click the picture of the text they wish to translate. The app uses AR to capture the text in the picture and translate it in real-time. However, users need to have an active internet connection to translate the text.
In case, you do not have an active internet connection, you can also download the different language packs available on the app by connecting a Wi-Fi network. By downloading these language packs you can instantly translate any text even in offline mode or without a stable internet connection. So, before you travel to a new country, make sure to install Google Translate and download the required language pack to travel like a local.
9. Civilisations AR
BBC’s Civilisations AR app is a remarkable educational app that is specially designed for all the history buffs. This app is an extension of BBC’s most famous documentary series named Civilisations. This app allows users to discover different historical artifacts and learn about their origins and the people who made these artifacts.
As the app brings to you art and culture from different parts of the world, you will get a feeling of having a private museum inside your mobile device. Under the virtual collection of the app, you will find more than 30 artifacts that are rendered in 3D to give you a realistic experience.
While most of the AR apps come with different tools for adult users, very few AR apps are designed for the kids. The Quiver is one such app specially designed to bring the creativity of children to life. However, to effectively use this app, you need to print out the different image packs available on the Quiver website and ask your children to color them with their favorite colors.
Once the children have colored the images, use the app to point the camera towards the pages, and give life to the colored characters. The app also has various special effects and animations to make the overall experience interactive and fun.
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AR apps can add fun to your everyday dull and monotonous moments. By using AR apps, you can easily make your surroundings more interesting by giving them a digital touch. Both Android and iOS have numerous AR apps that work exceptionally in online and offline modes. Based on your interest, you can install your preferred apps and enhance your creativity and thinking.
This article is written by Laura Butler. Laura is co-owner at Outreach Lab, who specializes in providing content writing and SEO services to businesses around the world. Having worked in multiple start-ups over the years, she has experience in building businesses from the ground up.