Do you like reality, but wish it could level up a bit? Then you’ll love augmented reality, also known (to me) as reality+. Take the actual world around you and lay images over it, manipulate your field of vision, add data, turn your world into an interactive game, become the Terminator — the possibilities are truly endless. Augmented reality apps can be helpful or just fun, used for games, shopping, learning, or pretending to blow up everything you see. Here are 13 of my favorite augmented reality apps.
360Panorama by Occipital is one of the coolest apps I’ve ever used, hands down. Take a panorama photo, but try and take a photo from every angle around you, including the sky and the floor. Once your panorama is done, the gyroscope uses GPS to allow you to look around in the photo – if you face north, you’ll see whatever the photographer saw facing north, etc. My brother went to Istanbul and sent me a 360 panorama of the Blue Mosque and I felt like I was there. It’s insane and feels like the future.
Augment is similar to 123D Catch in that it involves 3D models, but it’s more complicated to make your own models. You can use models from their library and superimpose them on whatever your camera is looking at. It’s weird, try it.
Ingress is a game made by Google that involves the entire world around you. Fight for either the Enlightened or the Resistance and find different portals and claim them for your side. I’m fighting for the Enlightened even though I think we are kind of the bad guys. Join me!
Point your phone up at the sky and identify all the stars and constellations around you. There are several similar apps, including Sky Map, and they’re relatively the same. Also a great app if you live in a city without a lot of stars because you can use it even if the sky is totally hazy.
Turn anything you look at into a sketch, then lie to everyone and tell them you drew it yourself! This app is pretty cool, but the website says, “Michelangelo spent most of the 16th century creating his masterpieces. You can create yours in a tap,” which makes me think they don’t really understand the point of art.