The augmented reality apps we want to see

Give us these and we'll be happy
AR apps we want to see

There's no stopping augmented reality. AR might not yet be a "thing" in the way we want it to be, but it's inevitably going to become a huge part of our lives - and there are already some great applications out there. Virtual reality has arrived, and AR feels like the next logical progression as we blend the virtual world with our own.

Of course, there are many AR apps and devices out there already doing great things. Though the hype might have died down, we shouldn't underestimate the important of this year's Pokémon Go fad.

Every company in technology will have been looking on with envious eyes, seeing the potential of this technology, and probably wondering how it too could make a splash in AR.

Read next: The best AR apps already around

With that in mind, we've come up with a bit of a starter AR wish list, formed of some of the apps we'd love to see become a reality. And we're not talking about smartphone apps here, but ones that will run on a headset to enrich our lives just a little bit more. Give us these and we'll be happy.

House renovations

The augmented reality apps we want to see

Ikea has already done something similar with its own smartphone app, but we'd love something that would let us not only see what new bits of furniture might look in our home, but let us move around anything that's already there.

Seeing what the couch looks like against a different wall; checking if there's enough space for another chair if you move the coffee table over just a few inches - all without any of the heavy lifting.

Historic reenactments

The augmented reality apps we want to see

Imagine being able to visit famous historic landmarks and witness the events as they unfolded, by harnessing the power of AR.

We've talked about VR as an empathy machine and educational tool, and the same could apply to AR, letting us revisit the good and bad of history - from the dropping of Hiroshima to the collapse of the Berlin Wall - being able to watch these events unfold as if in real time could be quite incredible. This would be any history nut's dream.

In the lab

The augmented reality apps we want to see

Another one that could be fantastic for education, an AR app that would let you watch scientific processes happen in front of your eyes, all from the comfort and safety of your classroom chair. You could, for example, watch a chemical reaction take place in mid-air. Or maybe you'd switch it so that your friend suddenly turns into muscle, tissue and bones, helping you learn about human biology, HoloLens-style but you know with a full field of view.

AR and VR are already being introduced into the classroom in interesting ways, but there's still so many amazing places it can go.

Learning new languages

The augmented reality apps we want to see

Google has a pretty neat translation AR app, which lets you instantly translates words by simply pointing your smartphone camera at them. But what we'd really love to see is an AR smartglass app that tells us the translated word for everything we look at - you step outside, glance at a tree, and the app tells you, "árbol", flashing up the spelling too. We wan't think of a better way to learn a new language.

Movie locations in real life

The augmented reality apps we want to see

Ok, so picture this: you're walking along North Moore Street in Tribeca, NY, and suddenly you spot Bill Murray in full Ghostbuster costume. Except it's not really him, and suddenly you realise you've stumbled on a location from the movie, and an entire scene is being played out in front of you, superimposed by the AR app.

This is what we want: an app that recognises famous movie shooting locations and not only lets you know you're there, but plays out the scene right there on the spot. We think the Hollywood bus tours would be out of business pretty fast.

AR laser tag

The augmented reality apps we want to see

You should know the drill on this one. The classic game of laser tag but without any of the power packs or even the guns. We'd love to be able to play a round using nothing but an AR headset, which would superimpose our power packs onto us and turn our index fingers into guns. Maybe even let us throw a few laser grenades for good measure.

Practicing sports

The augmented reality apps we want to see

Maybe it's visualising a golf swing, scoring penalties, or just perfecting that tennis backhand, we reckon AR could make practicing sports technique more fun and useful. Combined with helpful feedback, you'd have the added bonus of being able to pretend you're actually holding a golf club, or kicking a real football - even if you're stood in your living room in your pants. Nobody needs to know the truth.

Comic books

Again, some developers have used the smartphone to create augmented reality apps that bring comic books alive. We've love to see something like this on a headset, similar to what HTC has done with Vivepaper, letting us look at a comic book and bringing it to life in front of our eyes. Some partnership deals with some of the big names in comics could mean plenty of compatible titles would be available each week. Who said print was dead?

Horror games

The augmented reality apps we want to see

VR horror is scary enough, and we're not sure why we're wishing this on ourselves, but just think about how much more terrifying it would be when brought into the real world.

We've played Paranormal Activity in VR, it's terrifying, but we can't even imagine how much scarier it would be if demons were haunting our own homes - especially if they interacted with things around the house. Perhaps you see one of your chairs start levitating; maybe you look up and your ceiling is infested with spiders. Endless possibilities for fear fans.

Helping the visually impaired

The augmented reality apps we want to see

As fun and educational as all those things sound, we also see a huge benefit in AR for the visually impaired. The ability to have more visual cues, combined with haptics, and perhaps annotations of the world around the wearer, if they are poor of sight, could significantly help them with navigation, and improve their quality of life. Some companies such as Intel are already working on AR devices for the visually impaired, and we can't wait to see how powerful this technology could one day be to the people who need it most.


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