5 Ways AR Technology is Being Used in Mobile Apps

By: Bradley White | Published: August 13, 2018

Mention Augmented Reality and the first thought for many people is likely to be Pokemon Go, the Augmented Reality app which took the world by storm back in 2016, having would be Pokemon trainers of all ages searching far and wide for rare Pokemon. But while this is definitely a fun use for Augmented Reality, AR technology has countless uses beyond games and gimmicks and plenty of businesses have incorporated AR technology into their mobile apps across a whole range of industry sectors.

AR in Retail

The big downside to doing your clothes shopping online is that you can’t tell for sure how a item of clothing will look on you until you actually try it on. However, several clothing retailers have using Augmented Reality technology to allow customers to ‘try on’ clothes or shoes from the comfort of their own home. For example, Converse have incorporated AR into their mobile app, meaning users can simply point their phone camera at their feet and ‘try on’ different Converse shoes without stepping foot inside a shoe shop.

Warby Parker’s app has a similar feature which allows users to see how different styles of glasses suit them. The app also goes a step further and actually recommends glasses for users based on the shape of their face to help them find something suitable.

Aside from assisting their customers and enhancing their shopping experience, AR technology also opens up a range of opportunities for improving the shopping experience for customers. For example, earlier this year Zara launched an augmented reality experience in their stores. Customers download an app and then by pointing their phone at the shop window or at podiums around the store they were able to see a model posing and moving in a Zara outfit making the shopping experience more engaging.

AR in Interior Design

Ever wondered what that sofa would look like in your living room? Before now there was no way of knowing for sure until it was physically in the room. However, IKEA have made it easy for customers to find out with their AR app, IKEA Place, which allows users to select items from the catalogue and ‘place’ them in the room. The app allegedly displays items to 98% accuracy in terms of scale so there’s no need for tape measures!

However, IKEA aren’t the only ones exploring how AR technology can be used in decorating your home. Housecraft describes itself as an ‘AR toybox for your home’, and allows you to place 3D models of all different kinds of furniture into your home. Housecraft have also built tools so that they can easily add branded 3D furniture models to the app. Unlike the IKEA app, Housecraft isn’t bound to catalogue, so users can resize furniture and better plan out how they want their rooms when redecorating.

This all feels a bit like playing The Sims, but it’s certainly a fun way to easily experiment with new ideas for your home.

AR in Navigation

Navigation apps like Google Maps, have been truly revolutionary, but they aren’t without their flaws. Sometimes getting your bearings with a blue dot on a map can be disorienting, wouldn’t it be better if you had arrows in front of you? Or a highlighted route on the ground showing you where to go? With Augmented Reality, this is all possible, you only need to hold your phone up in front of you to see where to go next.

Sygic have introduced ‘Real View Navigation’ into their apps. Intended for drivers, this functionality shows the actual street that the user is driving down and the app overlays a highlighted blue route that the driver simply needs to follow.


AR in Utility Apps

Tape measures; essential and frustrating in equal measure. Measuring the length of smaller objects is easy enough, but larger objects are often a two man job. However with apps like AR MeasureKit, you don’t need an extra pair of hands to measure the length of that wall, you only need your phone camera and the app’s virtual ruler makes measuring anything easy. Plus, MeasureKit includes a bunch of other handy tools which allow you to measure angles or even check if objects are level with an AR spirit level. However some apps take this idea even further, both TapMeasure and Magicplan allow you to create accurate floor plans quickly and easily with only your phone’s camera.

AR in Educational Apps

One final way in which Augmented Reality is being used is in educational apps. By allowing users to point their phones camera at something, the app is able to identify the object and give the user information about it. For example, the Sky Guide app helps users identify constellations and planets, users simply need to point their phone at the night sky and the app will overlay the images of the constellations.

There are also several apps using AR that are aimed at teaching students more about the human body. Human Anatomy Atlas does this with 3D models of the human body that can be ‘dissected’, teaching the user about the major organs, skeletal structure and muscle composition.

Of course, this is hardly an exhaustive list of the more practical ways of using Augmented Reality in mobile apps and there are plenty of other innovative examples out there. If you’re interested in working AR functionality into your app then contact us today and see how we can help.