The Internet has become a way of life. Increasingly every aspect of our lives involves the use of the internet. With the advent of new technologies like augmented reality (AR), etc, what use to be tedious and dull has now become interesting and exciting. This has completely changed the way we view reality. Let’s discuss what is augmented reality and how the augmented reality apps are dominating the smartphones below.
So, what is Augmented Reality?
In layman’s terms, augmented reality or AR is the enhanced view of the real physical world using various digital elements (generated using a computer) which heighten the sensory stimuli to enhance or augment the present reality. The stimuli may be of any kind – auditory, visual, olfactory, somatosensory, etc. AR is used these days to provide an enhanced perception of the natural environment or situations to the end-users, thus enriching their overall experience. Point to notice here that Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (VR) are two different things. Virtual reality is more interactive and takes place in a virtual environment. On the other hand, AR integrates the virtual into the real world, thus there is no differentiation between the virtual and the real.
How is Augmented Reality Platform used?
As explained earlier, AR Developers transform the real-world experience of users by adding layers of digital information. AR Platform is like a metaverse, bridging the digital and physical world together, thereby giving a more immersive, and exciting experience to the users. Cameras and sensors are used to store and process information which is then saved in the form of flash memory. When a compatible device accesses this information, it projects the saved data giving the user an augmented reality experience.
The market of augmented reality app development is booming and one can find several applications which make use of AR platforms. Depending on the requirement of the app, the AR can be integrated into the system. For instance, Google Maps uses the AR function to enhance the user experience, while also making it an easy-to-use application. Further, there are several games that use augmented reality to engage the users like PokemonGo, Ingress, etc. In such games, the digital world is added to the real world, making people be aware of their real-time present surroundings while being in a game.
Best Augmented Reality Mobile Applications
The world of apps is brimming with options of intoxicating technologies. While VR has seen an eminent rise in its fan base, AR has been slowly gaining momentum in the background. Research indicates that in America more than 90 million people interact with AR on a monthly basis. These are the statistics of only one country. Imagine the extent of the AR/VR user base all around the world! Especially over the past two years, the takers for augmented reality have grown manifold and augmented reality app developers are making the most of it. Most companies and start-ups are developing their own AR-based applications. Several AR/VR development companies have been working hard to bring out some great products in the field of AR or VR using a camera, sky, or a map. So how do you select the ones which provide the best experience? We here have curated a list of the 10 best-augmented reality mobile apps for iOS and Android.
1) Just a line
Creating interactive works of art, Just-a-line uses augmented reality to sketch on any surface you want. The app lets you draw (virtually) anywhere, giving you different pencil strokes while making a shareable video of the same. You also have the option of drawing alone or along with a friend, that is virtual drawings made in real-time space by combining two separate devices. Augmented Reality App Developers for Just a Line have used Google’s AR software kit to develop the app. Nevertheless, the app is available for both iPhone and Android devices.
2) Sketch AR
One of the best apps for those who want to learn how to draw, Sketch AR superimposes images on pre-marked surfaces (paper, wall, floor tiles, etc) and guides you in a step-by-step manner about the drawing. The best part, the superimposed image on your phone or iPad moves along with the surface you are drawing on, allowing repositioning and maintaining accuracy. There are several key features to the app as well like the ability to create a time-lapse video of the drawing process, a huge library to choose and select from, create a custom sketch, import your drawings, etc. The app works by using machine learning, neural networks, and of course, augmented reality.
3) ROAR Augmented Reality App
This app uses the Augmented Reality Scanner and Editor platform to help companies make and develop their own personalised AR applications or interactive online stores. Mainly aimed at business owners, ROAR helps the customers get an interactive experience in terms of the product they want to buy or view. Customers can access the online store by scanning the product packaging at home. The main strength of the app lies in that it is extremely easy to use and even people with no background in coding or Augmented Reality app development can make their personalised business application in less than 4 minutes!
4) Civilizations AR
One of the best apps in recent ages, Civilizations AR brings history and art to your doorstep, thanks to the curating by BBC. Extremely immersive and exciting in nature, this app allows the users to demystify the ancient artifacts, paintings, culture, and art. Augmented reality helps the users to get a real-time experience of viewing the artifacts 360 degrees, rotating and flipping, discovering the hidden features, etc. Another interesting feature is where the users can rub off the restored layers of a painting to get the real, unedited picture. There are more than 30 artifacts curated by BBC which can be experienced virtually on this app. It is almost like having your own personal museum on the move. The app is available for both iOS and Android-based devices.
Being offered in several languages, this app offers an augmented version of books for children. The app has several books which are read by a narrator. While this is a free app, in-app purchases are required to buy the books or sets of books. The aim of this app is to help kids learn a language in an easy, interactive, and most importantly, fun way. Most of the books come with interactive puzzles for each illustration at the end of the book. Further, there is also a secret video game (shhh!) that gives the kids an augmented 3D interactive experience. The best part about this app is that each story comes alive (quite literally) thus working wonders on the child’s imagination.
6) IKEA Place
Unlike any other app, IKEA Place uses augmented reality to superimpose the image of the furniture you are interested in buying over the area where it will be placed, giving you a real-time feel and look of the interior. The app requires you to scan the floor plan and then go about selecting the look that you like. The app is especially helpful when you are confused between one or two options. Further, the app doesn’t just help you to place the furniture, but also search for more options similar to the one you like. Thus, it expands your options, while saving you time to search and select individually. They have a huge catalog to select from. The app has proven especially useful for people involved in interior design, architects, or simply people looking to makeover their house or personal space. IKEA Place is one of the most downloaded apps based on non-gaming AR. It is available on both Android and iOS devices.
If you are a parent, this app cum toy will blow your mind away. Parker is the name of a cute, fluffy teddy bear that is not just adorable and cuddly, but also a teaching device for your little ones. By using the teddy in conjunction with the parker app on your phone or iPad, the kids learn how to read, solve problems, learn body physiology, create art, connect the dots, etc. The app comes with several other such activities to keep your little one engaged for hours, while also enhancing their motor and intellectual skills. The app uses augmented reality to show kids how Parker is feeling for the day and allows kids to solve the problems or play games. Kids can even pretend play and use the app to conduct an X-ray for Parker! Isn’t that cute?! Since Parker comes with preloaded touchpoints and recognisable patterns, augmented reality helps the app to let the kids experience real-time caregiving through an interactive digital experience. The app is compatible with both the Android and iOS-based devices.
8) Google Lens
The world is whirring past us at the speed of the internet (really!). Google, the ever pioneer in the field of technology, understands the same and has introduced Google Lens, an upgraded version of Google Goggles. Understanding the value of time, Google Lens allows you to scan the product regarding which you need information. Not just information, Google Lens scans barcodes, visiting cards, images, plants, animals, places, food menu, etc. With the help of Google Lens, you can get the options of places to visit nearest your location, or what food is best in which restaurant. Further, to identify an unidentified plant or animal, or to simply find a shop where the object of your choice can be found, Google Lens works wonders. It is as simple as a simple click – simply scan the object/space and get google to start searching for all options. Android users can download the Google Lens app or access the same through Google photos or google assistant. However, no separate app is developed for iOS devices. Nevertheless, iOS users can access the app through Google photos.
9) YouCam Makeup
The magic make-up app – YouCam Makeup – is like a dream come true for most females or males for that matter. The app superimposes subtle makeup to your pictures after scanning your face. Further, the app also lets you perform certain correcting functions such as spot correction (for dark spots, blemishes, pimples, fine lines, wrinkles, etc), changing face contours, adding or removing cheekbones, add or removing smiles (yes! Even these!), change hairstyles, change hair colours, etc. Adding cherry to the top, you can access all the makeup from your favourite brands like Estee Lauder, Loreal Paris, Yves Saint Laurent, etc, and try them on virtually, thanks to AR superimposition. The YouCam Makeup app also keeps you updated and posted about the latest trends and features of the app. The app is available on both mobile app platforms – Android and iOS.
10) Sky Map
Stargazing used to be a hobby of those with huge means and time. Internet and AR Developers (mainly Google AR developers for the app was developed by Google, but later abandoned. Now some of the Google Developers maintain the app unofficially.), however, have folded time and space and come out with this amazing app called Sky Map. Superimposing the star charts and constellation information on the real-time physical sky, the app lets you search and find constellations, planets, moons, galaxies, meteor showers, horizon lines, and stars. You can hold your device upright and view the sky through the app’s camera option or you can use a pair of AR goggles and view the sky keeping the phone in landscape mode. The app also has the option of time travel literally! It lets you select the date and time of your choice and then gives you a view of what the sky was or will be like in the past or future.
AR has brought the world much closer to a multi-dimensional way of living and interacting with the world around us. This was just one effort to recognize the various ways that AR is influencing our way of life. Please note that the list above is not inexhaustible and only includes some of the best apps in a variety of fields. We have not listed some of the most obvious apps like Google Maps, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc which almost everyone in the world uses. Nevertheless, if you feel our list is falling short of some other highly eligible AR app, then we would love to hear about it.