Top Augmented Reality Apps
Vuforia Chalk (free)
A breakthrough remote presence capability that helps people help each other.
Prior to big companies like Google and Apple ventured into the augmented reality industry, Vuforia was one of the first companies that was creating AR software. Formerly owned by Qualcomm, Vuforia is now a subsidiary of PTC, a provider of technology for other to make apps that integrated computer graphics and the physical world.
Last month Vuforia launched their first proprietary app, Chalk, which is a video conferencing app that is unlike anything we’ve seen before. What differentiates Chalk from other services such as Skype or Facebook is that the app allows users to make notations in real-time, pointing out features for teleconference parties.
One interesting way to utilize this app is by helping out a family member, for example, on how to use the washing machine. When mom is out of town and you need to laundry and have never touched the washer before, mom can easily use Chalk and point out how it works. These digital graphics will stay overlaid as if they were drawn in real world. The concept is simple and novel, video conferencing plus drawing in real world.
“Vuforia Chalk represents one of the most practical uses of AR technology to date,” said Vuforia president Jay Wright. “It has the potential to improve our personal and professional lives–initially by helping each other.”
Chalk is free to use for consumers, but the company hope to sell the underlying tech for enterprise support applications. Part of Vuforia’s strategy is to provide this technology to devices where ARkit and ARcore is supported, as well as devices that is not supported by the Apple or Google framework. Developers have create 45,000 AR apps to-date using their platform.
The Best Calculator
PCalc is an excellent app and is definitely one of our “must have” apps. The app is available on iOS devices, Apple TV, and Apple Watch. The last thing you would expect is to incorporate 3D animation and AR in a calculator app, and that’s exactly what the developer has done.
App founder, James Thomson, used PCalc’s About screen to generate a 3D and ARKit scene that illustrate off what is possible when you combine ARKit and Apple’s Metal APIs. To access the Account screen, tape the info button in the main view and see the user settings, and then tap on the Help button. At the top of the Help screen, tap the “About PCalc” button and your screen is taken over by the app’s “42” icon which you can spin it with your finger. The smooth animations and lighting effect are very impressive, and the fun has just begun.
At the top of the About screen is a series of button where you can switch to a 3D rendering of a calculator instead of the app’s icon. The other icons would toggle caculators, marbles, bananas, deice, coins, and lights that you can insert into the scene by tapping or using the button on the right hand side of the screen.
The left side of the About screen controls gravity, flames, lighting, and whether statistics are shown. It is fun to drop some burning bananas into the scene. After all the fun and mess you made, toggle the orbit button in the lower right hand corner to see all your work from every angle.
The same control are available in an AR mode plus a cannon and physic toggle that allows you to play in the same sandbox in the physical surroundings. When you are done, simply tap the reset button to start over.
You an also tap on the car button located at the button of the screen to open a stunt course with trucks, ramps, and hoops with a control pad located at the lower left corder for steering. There is a mini game hidden within the About screen that is super fun to play with.
This developer is known to make Apple technologies in very unusual ways, and we highly recommend that you take a look at the wonderful app, and what he has done to Apple’s AR technologies and also great way to kill some time.
IKEA Place (free)
Known before you buy
How many times have you attempted to shop for furnitures only to wonder whether how it will actually look in your home. IKEA has relied on predominately on shopper to visit their retail center and providing measuring tools for customer, but company is now using augmented reality technology to boost sales.
The global giant retailer is now using AR to let customers preview how furniture will look on their smartphone before buying. The app, IKEA Place, was one of the first apps to utilize Apple’s ARkit, placing the furniture wherever they wish in their homes digitally. The app allows customers to preview 3D rendering from all angles of over 2,000 products before buying one they want within the app, which directs to the IKEA site to complete the purchase. Currently, large furniture such as sofas, chairs, and storage units are available for AR preview, although more and more products are being added periodically.
IKEA in the past have struggled with e-commerce sales largely due to the slowly adoption of digital shopping for furniture goods. Empowering customers to see what a product would appear like in their home without actually buying one and having to return what doesn’t fit is a huge incentive for customers to commit to a purchase.
The potential to uplift in sales from augmented reality for IKEA is beyond imagination. Most people postpone their commitment to buying new pieces of furniture because of the uncertainty of how it will look in their home, until now, they can have all the fun with digital home furnishing design and decoration for free.
My Ver Hungry Caterpillar AR ($2.99)
This game was developed with ARKit, a new framework launched by Apple specifically design to create AR experiences for iPad and iPhone. By overlaying digital objects and information with the physical environment around you, ARKit enables user to take the app beyond the screen, allowing it to interact with the physical world in an entirely new fashion.
Developer of this experience, Toss Press, is excited to bring the unique experience to millions of My Very Hungry Caterpillar users around the globe. CEO Barry O’Neil described kids who’s played the new app had expresses themselves and expressed wonder at the vibrant life-like caterpillar which appeared right in front of them.
“Children believe in magical invisible things. With ARKit, we’ve been able to produce an app that gives children a sense to reveal, and interact with this magical, invisible world.”
The Very Hungry Caterpillar has reached the heart of millions of children around the world for the past 50 years. A partnership between Eric Carle and StoryToys brought the world’s favorite caterpillar to life for the first time in the amazing interactive My Very Hungry Caterpillar app. Currently, 4.6 million users have download the app to take care their digital pet, feed their caterpillar and watch it grow into a butterfly.
With ARKit, children can now interact with the digital caterpillar in real world. Not only can children learn the life cycle of a caterpillar, they can also develop empathy and responsibility skills.
TapMeasure – AR Utility (free)
Occipital is a startup that has been developing augmented reality software and hardware for several years. The company is now taking Apple’s new ARKit and made software for home improvement tool.
TapMeasure is now available for download on the iOS store, an app that can automatic take measurement and come up with floor plans, creating simple 2D and 3D room models using just an iPhone.
This tool is particularly useful for interior designers who can now make to-scale CAD files from an app, while homeowners shopping at Lower or Home Depot can do things like taking simple measurements for artworks or framed items.
Occipital was found in 2008 and has raised over $20 million dollars in early stage investment. Besides making AR software and applications, the company also developed hardware device called the Structure Sensor for iPhones and iPads, a state-of-the-art sensors that can take accurate measurement from a distance.