Augmented reality is finally getting real

August 2, 2012

(Credit: iOnRoad)

As smartphones explode in popularity, augmented reality is starting to move from novelty to utility, Technology Review reports.

Apps featuring augmented reality are available for everything from gaming to driving to catalogs.

Early augmented-reality smartphone apps used a device’s GPS and digital compass to determine your location and direction. More recently, app makers have begun incorporating computer vision and increasingly powerful processors to provide greater accuracy.


  • CrowdOptic‘s¬†software can recognize the direction in which a crowd of people have their phones pointed while taking photos or videos at events, and invite the group to communicate, share content, or get more information about the object of their attention, via an app.
  • iOnRoad¬†offers an augmented-reality collision-warning app for drivers using smartphones that run Google’s Android software (an iPhone version is in the works).
  • Project Glass will be available in early 2013.
  • At Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum, visitors can use iPads at a dinosaur exhibit to see how the beasts would have looked in real life.
  • The Ikea catalog now has Android and iOS apps that interact with the catalog.