Augmented reality is a a pretty cool thing. For those of you who aren’t sure what that is, an augmented reality app will use your phone or tablet’s camera and GPS to see what you are looking at and where you are. The app will add an informational overlay with things like hotels, restaurants, games and other stuff. These kinds of apps are going to be a simple version of what you might see if you were using Google Glasses, only on your phone.
Below are a handful of apps to show you some of what’s available in the Google Play Store and get you started with augmented reality apps for Android devices. If you have any other favorites, feel free to add them in the comment section below.
1. Google Goggles
Google Goggles is an app I tried a couple of years ago that lets your phone look at and interact with the real world. Some of the features include taking a snapshot of a sudoku puzzle and have it solve for you. You can also use it as a translator for written text on posters and such. You can easily research a product by taking a picture of the item, letting Google Goggles scan the image, then doing a quick Google search.
Wikitude is a great app for anyone who travels. You’ll be able to select a category like hotels or bars/nightlife. With your GPS on, it will see what’s near you. You’ll see blips on the radar and as you turn your phone in that direction, you’ll see the name of the hotel or bar on the screen. Clicking on the name will bring up information about it. Clicking it again will give you even more details.
To mix it up a little, Wikitude has a couple of games to play. You might look a little odd to the random onlooker though. The games are also augmented reality so you will be spinning in a circle and moving your phone all around looking for the next wave of alien invaders. I tried it while I was on lunch at work and got some strange looks until I showed them what I was doing.
3. iOnRoad Augmented Driving Lite
I’m going to start out by saying, use this app at your own discretion. iOnRoad Augmented Driving Lite is an app to use while you are driving. Make sure you are not holding the phone or tablet while you are driving. Use a mount of some kind to keep the device stationery. Concentrate on the road.
That being said, iOnRoad Augmented Driving Lite is an app to try and be a little safer on the road. By helping you judge the distance to the vehicle in front of you to help you stop in time if needed. When you are driving on the highway or going over 35MPH, there is a notification if you are veering off of the road. Ideal for those times when you are tired at the end of your trip but almost to your destination.
4. Car Finder AR (Paid)
Have you ever been to the mall or ball game and came out after a couple of hours only to forget where you left your car? Car Finder AR is out there to help you with that. Mark the location of your parked car and find it later on the cool looking radar or 3D maps to find it. If that’s all Car Finder AR did, I wouldn’t be talking about it. Some of the other more useful features are parking meter time alerts helping you remember to feed the meter. A map helping you get the nearest parking lot or structure. You can track up to three cars. There is the ability to send the location of the vehicle via Whatsapp or a few others as well as getting driving or walking directions to your car. Great for those times when you drive into the city then take a cab to your destinations.
5. AR GPS Compass Map 3D
AR GPS Compass Map 3D is an on-screen compass. While this might sound a little bland, using it is a different story. If you have used some backpacking type apps, you’ll see a difference when using AR GPS Compass Map 3D. The compass overlay is really nice looking and the waypoint overlay on the satellite view of the map is great. One cool use is Geocaching. You can set the waypoints then follow the green arrow to your destination and prize.
6. Street Lense
When you are out and about in the world, you can get a little lost. You might be walking around a city you are visiting and need to get a bite to eat. Street Lense will give you an overlay showing where you can find places to eat, hotels, and other businesses you might need while you are out. You can also see them in a list view for easier viewing if there are a lot of places listed. Clicking on the business will give you more information.
The apps listed here can add a little fun to getting around town or great when you are on a vacation. They offer a techy way to find where you are going and be safe while you are doing it.
Do you have a favorite augmented reality app for Android not listed here? Let us know what it is in the comments.