As a 90’s baby, I am fortunate enough to have grown up with computers and the Internet being a regular fixture in my daily life. It is no wonder then, how hard it is sometimes to grasp how revolutionary it was.
If we look at the history of civilisation as a whole, the Internet it’s still a newborn baby when compared to other major inventions. The World Wide Web has only been in the world for around 50 years, which is humbling compared to the first successful vaccine (220 years) the printing press (580 years) and bloody eyeliner (12.000 years). Even knowing that the all too familiar dial-up internet that used to be so normal is now considered prehistoric. This just shows how quickly we outgrow technology and come up with new innovations that overshadow the older versions.
That’s when augmented reality (AR) comes in.
Not to be confused with virtual reality (VR). VR is entirely simulated, AR overlays digital images or sound over your surroundings. The difference is that the latter enhances your surroundings, rather than creating an entirely new world.
Pokémon Go — have you heard of it? — is a perfect example of this new technology. Social media is currently flooded with the game, and I’m sure we’ve all seen now someone blindly stumbling around on the street while staring at their phone, trying to catch a Pikachu and unconcerned with the other walking individuals that they are about to collide with.
Augmented and virtual reality is shaping up to be a big part of technology’s future, and they really have many uses besides gaming. Here are some of the biggest projects so far:
#7 – Virtuali-tee
No Printsome list would be complete without a T-shirt. We have mentioned this project in previous articles for being a great crowdfunding campaign, but today we celebrate it for being a great example of augmented reality. On the surface, the vituali-tee is just a regular piece of clothing, but when paired with a smartphone or tablet app, however, it becomes an adventure inside the human body.
Through the device, you can see an interactive view of the garment wearer’s body. It is perfect for kids, because not only is it entertaining but it actually teaches you a lot about anatomy. This is a perfect tool for teachers and parents, but it is not just for children. Anyone can enjoy and appreciate this experience and because of its accessible price, I think it is worth to check out!
#6 – Layar
Layar is an “Interactive Print” application. What this means is that you can point your phone at a poster, magazine, advertisement, etc. and receive tons of other content on the subject. Say there is a concert poster you see on the street. You can point your phone at it, and the app will give you more information about the event, will have photos and videos to accompany it, and might even allow you to buy tickets right there. There are really endless possibilities, it just depends on what content the owner of the advertisement wants to put on the app.
#5 – Google Translate
You may not be aware of this, but Google Translate has a hidden feature that allows you to point your phone at a text in any language, and it will translate the text right before your eyes. In another country and can’t understand the restaurant’s menu? No problem, just pull out your phone and use this app to translate the menu without having to look up each individual item. There are endless situations where this augmented reality app could come in handy, so hats off to Google.
#4 – Yelp’s Monocle
Yelp is the perfect way to find out where to go for food, drinks, or entertainment, but now it has become even easier. The brand has an augmented reality feature, called Monocle, that allows you to look around with your phone and physically see where these places are. Instead of trying to find the restaurant, bar, or whatever with only the address, you can just look and see where it is. Like regular Yelp, you can also see information and reviews about the establishment. With this app, you can be the Sacagawea of your group and direct everyone to the best place.
#3 – Microsoft HoloLens
Microsoft is currently developing a revolutionary product called the HoloLens. It is not yet available to consumers, but prototypes of the “mixed-reality” headset have been tested by developers and critics and have gotten quality feedback. The HoloLens is really an immersive combination of virtual and augmented reality. The futuristic sci-fi looking headset will allow you to download all types of applications. There are virtual games you can play, you can make a Skype call where the other person is floating above your kitchen sink, leaving you free to do other things with the headset, and countless other things. The limits to this magical contraption are unforeseeable and endless.
I’m sure people will be snatching these up as soon as it is available to the public, so check them out now and stay ahead of the curve. More information here.
#2 – StarWalk 2
In my opinion, this is one of the most creative uses for augmented reality. Vito technology created the award winning Star Walk in 2012, and they have now updated the app with Star Walk 2. Basically, you point your phone at the sky, and it shows you a real-time star map with constellations and planets. There is information about all the celestial bodies, a time machine to view the stars in the past, daily information on the moon’s phases, and much more. This app is a fantastic usage of the new technology that has been developed and can be enjoyed by astronomers and laymen equally.
#1 – Ingress
Brought to you by developer Niantic, who also created Pokémon Go, Ingress is an augmented-reality, multiplayer, online, location-based game. It operates on similar principles to the Nintendo title, where elements of the game are scattered around the real world, and people must go out and find them in order to play. Ingress is much more team based, however, and every player is a member of one of two teams that are essentially in a competition. In order to do well, you have to capture “portals” that are scattered around the world, as well as trying to prevent the other team from getting these portals.
There is a lot more to the game, but to fully understand it you really have to play it. Many have been playing the game for years, and some say it paved the way for Pikachu and his friends. If you are into the style of Pokémon Go but not into the cutesy creatures aspect, then this is the game for you.
Augmented reality is one of the many things that will fill our technologically based future. Really the technology has been around for a few years, but it has only become popular and mainstream recently. Similar, but slightly different, to virtual reality, the two forms of altered perception offer many possibilities for the future. Give it ten years and it will likely be a staple of daily life, so might as well get on board now.
Did we miss any AR app that should be on this list? If so, let us know by leaving a comment below or by sending us a text via any of our social media outlets.
In the meantime, keep reading the Printsome Blog for more awesome content.
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