October 16

Augmented Reality is here to stay

I’ve written about Augmented Reality before, and I think most of us are still a little skeptical. We see those zoned-out people with goofy glasses strapped to their heads and think the technology is something we just don’t need.

Well, I suppose we don’t need augmented reality, but it sure is fun at parties. Here are a collection of amazing apps that let you immerse yourself into augmented reality without the goofy glasses.

  • Amazon Flow app
    Although it’s not foolproof, this convenient app from Amazon will scan products, UPC codes, QR codes and even business cards to extract info (and help you find the best price on Amazon, of course).
    2015-10-15 10.15.59   2015-10-15 10.14.32
    The app promised to be able to read business cards quickly, and I was more annoyed than enthralled by the capabilities. As you can see above, once the app identified information, a link or more info would appear. But in the picture on the left, you can see that the app misread the tiny print, but after I captured the screenshot, the app kept working to decipher the info.The app worked in a flash on my bottle of Dr. Pepper and other products. Plus it has pretty cool visual effects: little shiny points of light that attach themselves to the image.
  • Car Finder apps for iOS and Android
    If you’ve ever wandered the streets trying to figure out where you parked your car, this app is for you. You use the app to note where you parked your car, and augmented reality arrows will guide you back to your parking spot.
    2015-10-15 10.08.50
    I tried the one made for iOS in an airport with mixed results. I clicked the button to say I parked my car then I walked quickly toward my gate. I walked for a full three minutes before the app’s arrows appeared to lead me back to my car. That tells me that the geo-location sensors might not be sensitive enough to really be of use. But that could have been because I was in an airport.
  • Augmented Reality Games — Zombies, Dinosaurs, Ghostbusters and more
    Ok, if you want to be the coolest parent (or aunt/uncle/babysitter) in the world, you need to download these mind-blowing augmented reality apps. You can fight zombies, ghosts and more by looking through your viewfinder and shooting at augmented reality bad guys no one else can see. The wonderful ladies at the United desk at the airport let me photograph them with Slimer floating over their heads.
    2015-10-15 09.38.19
  • Other Augmented Reality Stuff
    You really should read this post about Google Cardboard and this one about Layar to see everything that’s possible.


just plain fun, on the go

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  • There’s one more app with AR that I personally use on a daily basis – Spyglass. Using augmented reality, the app overlays compass, GPS and location info on top of visuals captured by an iPhone camera or the map itself. It can measure distance, sizes of objects, your speed, altitude and potential arrival time to the target. You can use it as a waypoints tool, sextant, compass, rangefinder, speedometer, inclinometer and more.

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