Best Augmented Reality Apps

Article from By: Dena Cassella January 19, 2010

Augmented reality mobile apps are all the rage these days–here are our picks for the best augmented reality apps for your iPhone or Android smartphone.

There have been many awe-inspiring augmented reality demonstrations last year, with promise of more innovation and focus on the virtual effect in 2010. The best way to get a hold of this intriguing technology is to fill your smartphone with mobile AR apps. Augmented reality apps are more than just a cool accessory for your mobile phone, they are actually very useful, educational and of course entertaining. Here are our top picks for the best AR apps out there.

Wikitude World Browser


This is a very useful travel app. The Wikitude World Browser AR app displays data and other points of interest by overlaying information on the real-time camera view from an iPhone 3GS or Android smartphone. Next time you see some ancient ruins, hold that phone up and get educated about the place.



WhereMark is kind of like a collective augmented reality application. The multifunctional app allows users to explore Wikipedia (in a Wikitude app style) and local searches, find places to eat and shop with navigational AR references, and will also help you remember where you parked your car. It’s an all-inclusive app.  Thank you for the use of your lovely graphic as our page header, WhereMark—we are much obliged.



WorkSnug is a coporate iPhone app that is backed by Platronics. This useful AR app will identify where the surrounding Wi-Fi hotspots and compatible workspaces are for you. This convenient app is currently available in London, but will be coming to New York, San Francisico, Berlin, Madrid and more major cities across the globe very soon.



The AugMeasure app is a handy little tool that can measure short distances with just your iPhone. The app displays distances on screen by using your iPhone’s camera and overlaying the measurements on screen with live pictures from the phones camera. The picture will adjust accordingly and all in real time with where ever you point your camera.

Acrossair Nearest Tube App


One of the first augmented reality apps to go live in the iPhone AppStore, this handy app will pin-point where the nearest subway or light rail stations are. Acrossair also has specific apps, similar to this one, for the Pairs Metro, Tokyo Subway, Barcelona Metro, San Francisco Transit, Madrid Metro, and New York Subways. Acrossair is only for iPhone.



DishPointer started out as a “mashup” of Google Maps and is now a handy augmented reality app for the iPhoneand Android phones. In this clever mobile version of DishPointer you can hold your phone up to the sky and get a virtual overlay of their nearest satellites to know which way to point the your satellite dish.

Yelp Monocle


Social reviewing service Yelp provided the iPhone with its first augmented reality app, the Yelp Monocle. iPhone owners can shake their phones three times to turn on the Yelp Monocle,  which uses the phone’s GPS and compass to display overlaid markers for restaurants, bars and other nearby businesses in real time.

Acrossair Twitter AR App


Acrossair says that just by holding the phone up vertically it will display all the tweets around you in 360 degrees of Augmented Reality view, with the distances and photos of the people tweeting around you. Kind of creepy, but still very cool. You can either tweet in 2D or “augmented reality view,” which is what we prefer.



This AR app is quite nifty. Layar is mobile augmented reality browser that is a global application and available for the iPhone 3GS and Android phones in all Android Markets. It also comes pre-installed on the Samsung Galaxy in the Netherlands. The Layar app can do a lot of things and impose cool images over the picture on your screen.



Do you like maps? Do you like know your altitude? Well you’re in luck because the Theodolite AR app does just about that—it turns your world (or at least the one through your iPhone’s camera) into a very informative topographical scene. This app overlaps the data over your camera’s image and even lets you learn your inclination, altitude and elevation. Great for adventurers.



This AR app allows you to shoot lasers at who ever walks into your iPhone’s camera frame. Why is this AR app awesome? If you have to ask, then you don’t deserve to use it. Lasers people, lasers! Life’s short–enjoy yourself.

Car Finder


We’ve all had this experience—you finish up your grocery shopping and head out into the parking lot to make your way home, but unfortunately you have no idea where you parked. This AR app will help guide you home—first by guiding you to your car. Once the car’s location is set, the app creates a visible marker showing the car, its distance away and the direction in which to head.

(These examples showcase Augmented Realities potential and range. And also indicates that AR will play a big role on future interactive developments.)

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