Augmented reality is a technology that allows users to superimpose images, sounds, animations, and other digital elements onto their real world environment. In other words, it blends elements of the digital and real world together.
Many people assume that they need to invest in expensive headsets or smart glasses to use augmented reality technology, but that’s not the case. There are thousands of augmented reality apps available for download on iOS and Android devices, so all you need to experience the power of augmented reality technology is a smartphone or tablet.
There are many different types of augmented reality apps. Some are designed for gaming or entertainment, whereas others are used to educate consumers. There are also apps designed specifically to help online shoppers make informed purchase decisions. If you want to experience this innovative technology, here are the best augmented reality apps to download:
Google has developed a number of different augmented reality apps, including Google Lens. This app lets you search based on what you see. All you need to do is open the app and point your smartphone at an object you want to learn more about. The app will automatically identify the object, perform a Google search, and present relevant search results directly in front of you.
Google Lens can also help you learn more about the places around you. Point your smartphone at any building nearby and the app will use augmented reality to project relevant information onto your surroundings.
For example, it might identify the name of the business and provide you with the company’s operating hours and Google reviews.
This is a great app to have on your smartphone so you can quickly access it whenever you need more information on the world around you.
Mission to Mars
If you’ve ever dreamed of exploring outer space, you may want to download the Mission to Mars on your smartphone.
This augmented reality app will project three-dimensional models of the rovers used on Mars into your surroundings. You can project a rover on your desk, in your driveway, on your kitchen counter, or even in the palm of your hand. You can also drive the rovers around and snap photos to share with your friends and family.
Then, project a three-dimensional model of the Atlas V rocket into your surroundings. Watch as the rocket launches into space while the real launch audio plays in the background.
You can also use augmented reality technology to project a three-dimensional model of Mars directly in front of you. Then, spin it around and explore every inch of the planet.
It’s hard for consumers to shop online for certain items, including home goods and furniture. This is because some consumers struggle to visualize these items in their home, so they aren’t sure which ones to choose.
Wayfair used augmented reality technology to solve this problem. Now, consumers don’t need to rely on their imaginations to determine how a specific item would look in their homes. Instead, they can use Wayfair’s augmented reality app to project a life-size, three-dimensional model of the item into their surroundings.
Thanks to this feature, consumers can confirm that a piece of furniture will fit in their home and will complement the rest of their decor. They can shop with confidence knowing that they will be completely satisfied with the furniture items or home goods once they arrive.
Wayfair isn’t the only retailer that has used augmented reality technology to transform the online shopping experience for consumers. Sephora, an international cosmetic company, has also taken advantage of augmented reality.
Sephora’s Virtual Artist app uses facial recognition and augmented reality technologies to give online shoppers the chance to digitally try on different cosmetics. Now, shoppers can see what a specific shade of lipstick would look like on their lips or how a certain eyeshadow would complement their complexion.
If a consumer likes what they can see, they can add the products to their cart and purchase them with just a few taps on their smartphone.
The app also offers makeup tutorials powered by augmented reality technology. For example, if a customer is trying to learn how to contour their face, the app will use augmented reality technology to highlight the area on their face where the product should be applied.
Nike is another retailer that has launched its own augmented reality app to help online shoppers. Nike Fit, which is available within the main Nike app, is an augmented reality feature that allows customers to determine their shoe size while shopping online.
To access this feature, you just need to open the Nike Fit feature and point your smartphone camera at your feet. The app will automatically measure your feet to determine what size shoe you should purchase.
The app may recommend purchasing a size smaller or larger for certain shoe styles, depending on how the size of that shoe tends to run.
For example, if you normally wear a size nine, the app may suggest purchasing a size 8.5 for a style that runs small. Pay close attention to these recommendations to ensure you purchase the right size.
Star Walk 2
If you’ve ever wondered what you’re looking at when staring up at the night sky, the Star Walk 2 app was designed for you. The app serves as a helpful guide to the night sky. It uses your phone’s data to pinpoint your exact location so it knows what part of the sky you are looking at.
To begin, simply open the app and point your camera at any part of the sky above. The app uses augmented reality technology to project labels onto different stars, constellations, planets, and other celestial bodies.
Move your smartphone around and the app will automatically begin labeling whatever it identifies in the night sky.
You can also turn on the Time Machine mode to see what the night sky looked like on a specific date in the past or what it will look like on a specific day in the future.
As its name suggests, this app is an augmented reality ruler available at your fingertips. If you need to measure something, open the app and point your smartphone camera at the object. Tap on the beginning and end of the object to ensure the measurement is correct. That’s all it takes to measure an object without a measuring tape or ruler.
This app does more than just measure simple, straight measurements. It can also provide measurements for angles, volume, and area. You can even record the measurements you take and use them to create a room plan.
The measurements aren’t perfect, but they are close enough to get a rough idea of the size of an object or distance between two points.
Find Your Car
You may want to download this app if you plan on parking your car in a crowded, large area like a mall, airport, or music festival. After parking your car, set your location in the Find Your Car app. The app will use augmented reality to mark your car’s location.
Once you’re ready to get back into your car, open the Find Your Car app again. The app will use augmented reality to guide you directly back to your vehicle.
For example, it may project arrows onto your surroundings to tell you when to turn. It will also project important information such as your distance from your vehicle and the estimated time it will take to walk there.
You can improve your drawing skills with SketchAR. Open the app and browse the library to find an image you would like to draw. Then, point your smartphone camera at a blank piece of paper.
The app is designed to work with A4-size drawing paper. The app will use augmented reality technology to project a sketch onto the paper so you can trace over it with a pen, pencil, or other drawing utensil.
There are dozens of different images to choose from in the app’s library. But if you don’t want to use an image from the library, you can upload your own photo and transform it into traceable art directly through the SketchAR app.
Although not an app, RelayCars uses augmented reality technology to create an at-home automotive showroom experience for consumers. You can use this app to explore thousands of different vehicles from the comfort of your home.
Because it is powered by augmented reality, you can get up close and personal with every vehicle just like you would inside a dealership’s showroom. The vehicles will appear lifelike and realistic, so you might forget you’re actually sitting on your couch at home.
RelayCars allows consumers to research vehicles, compare their options, and gather the information they need to make a purchase decision from home.