The Future is Now: 12 Augmented Reality Apps

The Future is Now: 12 Augmented Reality Apps

Jason Rodway
May 2, 2012

When we think about technology beyond the year 2000, we think of flying cars and holodecks. Although we don't need a license to fly for our daily commute quite yet, technology like augmented reality is here and accessible in the latest smartphones. To some it sounds gimmicky or unrefined but the truth is augmented reality has made leaps and bounds to become a formidable tool for daily life. Here are 12 apps that offer a glimpse of your smartphones hidden potential.


Left: Sun Seeker: 3D Augmented Reality - Right: SnapShop Showroom

Sun Seeker: 3D Augmented Reality
Prospective home owners, gardeners and photographers should check out Sun Seeker which presents the suns daily trajectory. Using GPS and magnetometer, this app will find the correct solar position and path surrounding your current location. Guiding the camera around you will show where the sun will be with hour points marked to optimise your daily solar needs. $5
Also available on Android - $6

SnapShop Showroom
Furniture shopping has never been easier with the SnapShop Showroom app that lets you select living room or bedroom pieces from outlets such as Pier 1, Ikea, Crate & Barrel, CB2 and Horchow. Using your iDevices camera, you can place a virtual sofa in your living room to see how well it'd fit or look. Free

Left: CrimeSpot - Right: Augmented Car Finder
CrimeSpot Another good app for home owners or the cautious at heart is CrimeSpot. By using this app as your eyes you can see where crimes such as theft, burglary, robbery, assault, arson and vandalism have been made. Coverage includes hundreds of jurisdictions in North America as well as several cities in Europe. $3

Augmented Car Finder
For those who have the unfortunate habit of misplacing their car, Augmented Car Finder will surely have a permanent spot in their appertoire. Create a marker when parking so when you return, simply scope for the beacon using your iPhone to find your way back. Free


Left: Google Goggles - Right: Junaio

Google Goggles
Googles own slick AR app has some nifty features such as scanning barcodes, QR barcodes and book, CD and DVD covers for more detailed information. Google Goggles even goes the extra mile to scan barcodes, translate foreign text, solve sudoku puzzles and add contacts by scanning business cards. Free

A popular AR browser for the world at large is Junaio. If you want to know where the popular restaurants are in the vicinity or are trying to find a show or movie, Junaio will point you the right way. Other information to search for include bargains, events, ATMs, taxi stands and subway stations. Free
Also available for iOS

Left: Lookator - Right: GeoCam Pro
Lookator Finding a wifi hotspot has never been easier. Rather than sifting through search results from Yelp or Yellow Pages, Lookator scopes the area out for wifi hotspots close by, listing relative strength and general directions. Free

GeoCam Pro
The Theodolite is an astronomical tool that has been around for centuries. Loading this app onto your Android handset allows it to become a compass, GPS, map, zoom camera, rangefinder and two-axis inclinometer. Perfect for hikers, boaters, geologists, golfers, sightseers, architects or engineers who want to quickly find their way across various geometrical landscapes. $3

Windows Phone 7

Left: Wikitude World Browser - Right: Funny Faces

Wikitude World Browser
One of the big names in Augmented Reality is the Wikitude app which is not only an excellent browser but a social network as well. Share favourite places or markers with your friends and find tweets, events, Wikipedia articles, ATMs, restaurants as well. It has a beautiful interface and is incredibly easy to use. Free
Also available on iOS/Android

Funny Faces
Many apps out there aim to play with pictures to make subjects fat, skinny, old and even zombified. Funny Faces is one of the few that makes 200 different modifications in real time. Effects like funny masks, afros, mustaches, pacifiers, shades, space helmets or monkey heads are some of the effects Funny Faces can do by detecting multiple faces at once. $1

Left: TouchMountain - Right: Colorful
TouchMountain Another choice app for the adventerous hiker is TouchMountain which specializes in providing detailed information on nearby peaks. Elevation, distance from and between peaks, weather, wiki articles are clearly arranged on screen along with features such as compass, navigation and social network sharing. $3.50

Finding the right color is difficult whether you're designing a webpage or looking for the perfect tone to accentuate your living rooms more prominent elements. Colorful will identify and save any color you throw its way for when you absolutely need it. We found it especially handy when finding the precise color to paint over discolorations on our walls. $1

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