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TECH: How Can Augmented Reality Help Us to Explore the World?
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How Can Augmented Reality Help Us to Explore the World?

By Max Rogers


111By placing virtual objects in real-time, augmented reality (AR) turns the real-world environment around us into a digital interface and helps us to explore the world in a completely different way. In fact, AR technology combines physical, real-world environment with computer-generated virtual objects (such as video, audio, graphic, and GPS data) that appear to exist in the same place and at the same time as the real world.

You can see augmented reality through a diverse range of experiences which involves various tools, devices and apps.


Augmented reality tools

Speaking of augmented reality tools, those can be classified into three main categories: 3D viewers, browsers and gaming.


Augmented reality 3D viewers

These advanced viewers allow us to place 3D life-sized models into our physical environment with or without the help of trackers - these deal with simple images that can be attached to 3D models in augmented reality.


Augmented reality browsers

Thanks to these browsers, your camera display is enriched with contextual information related to a certain object. For instance, you can point your tablet at a building to display some relevant info about it such as its estimated value, height or history.

001Gaming

Last but not the least way to experience augmented reality is through gaming. By using your actual surroundings, AR technology creates immersive gaming maps around you and incorporates various video game characters. One of the most popular augmented reality games these days is Pokemon Go.


Augmented reality devices

We can experience augmented reality by means of hardware components, such as a processor, sensors, input devices and display. Some modern mobile devices like tablet computers and smartphones contain all of these components.


Mobile devices

Mobile devices like tablets and smartphones can act as a magic window for augmented reality. Through the viewer of these devices, you can manipulate 3D models and see a variety of holograms. Today, there are plenty of augmented reality apps for iPad, iPhone and Android mobile devices.


PC & connected TV players

Another way to experience augmented reality is through connected TV players and PCs. Augmented reality works on these devices by means of a webcam and is transmitted to the screen. However, it can be a bit difficult to manipulate the trackers in front of a screen.


Eyeglasses, contact lenses and head mounted displays


On glasses, lenses, and various head mounted displays, augmented reality occupies the entire field of view which offers a more lifelike experience. Besides these devices, there is also head-up display (HUD), virtual retinal display (VRD), EyeTap, and different handheld displays.


Augmented reality apps

There is a broad range of augmented reality apps, including both freemium and premium offerings from developers all over the world. Whether you are looking for Android or iOS augmented reality apps, here are some of the best ones:


Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go is the Niantic's app version of the popular '90s video game that is by far the most wanted augmented reality app to-date with over 45 million downloads. The game app utilizes GPS to identify your location and then it moves Pokémon (your in-game avatar) where you can see in the real world through your smartphone camera. The goal of the game is to catch the game's monsters while walking around and discovering local landmarks.

002
Ink Hunter

Ink Hunter is the augmented reality app that helps you decide what tattoo to choose as well as where to put it on your body. Through your smartphone display, it allows you to try out a number of pre-made tattoos, customize your own design and orient it in different positions on any part of your body.

003
Spyglass

Spyglass is the iOS exclusive app designed as a vigorous navigation toolkit, including a wide range of useful tools you can use to accurately determine your location and navigate to a set place. Thus, this app can turn your smartphone into a gyrocompass, MilSpec compass, speedometer, inclinometer, waypoint tracker, star tracker, sextant and more. This is a very helpful app when you get lost somewhere while hiking or when you want to find out about a place you're going through.

004
Yelp Monocle

Originally provided in 2009, Yelp is an AR app that uses a compass and GPS of your smartphone to display markers for bars, restaurants, hotels and other businesses near you in real time. Each of these is presented with the service's reviews and user-generated ratings.

005
Google Translate

Though it is not strictly an augmented reality app, Google Translate includes AR feature that is incredibly handy for translating texts. That feature is an integral part of the app camera mode. Simply point your smartphone camera at some text you do not understand, snap a photo and Google Translate will present you with the translation of that text in a real time. When offline, the app supports a total of 52 languages and the figure goes up to 103 when online.


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