Five augmented reality apps and experiments that will blow your mind

Last week, we showed you a new, experimental augmented reality (AR) app that makes it incredibly easy to ‘cut’ objects from the background and paste them into Photoshop. Pretty cool, right? But that’s the magic of Augmented Reality. Your closest encounter with this technology might have been through games (Pokemon Go, anyone?) or perhaps the recent ‘3D animals’ AR enhancement to Google Search. But that’s just scratching the surface of what all AR can do – Engineers can use AR apps to fix complex machinery, your favorite furniture retailer might offer you an AR option that lets you visualize exactly how a new sofa would look like in your living room, and it’s even being used to train surgeons.

Yeah, Augmented Reality is a tremendously useful technology. But it can also be a lot of fun, and something that easily hops over from ‘that’s cool” well into “Woah, the future is here” territory. That’s why we’re bringing you a list of cool apps that promise to really change how we, quite literally, view the world around us.

DoodleLens lets you paste objects into the real world

Available for your iPhone and Android devices, DoodleLens lets you turn your sketches and drawings into animated objects. Stick figures, dinosaurs, angry hornets… anything you sketch can become an AR object. It’s a pretty neat little app to keep your kids busy, but DoodleLens creator Aidan Wolf has some more tricks up his sleeve. One of the new features in development is a  bit like the ar-cutpaste experimental app, except in reverse: It’ll let you create AR objects using a simple cut-and-paste straight from your design app / software.

AR can make magazine covers come to life

3D web visualization and Mixed Reality expert Alexandre Devaux has demoed a couple of really cool AR apps that really make it clear just how futuristic this technology can seem when implemented properly. In one demo, Alexandre brings photos from magazines to life using TensorFlow’s body and face segmentation models.


But if you think making old photos seemingly come to life isn’t sci-fi enough, there’s more. In an older tweet, Alexandre demonstrates an experimental AR app which acts like a time travel portal: Using old photos to show a Paris street as it looked a century ago. This is all experimental at the moment, but we’re thinking about how this could really change travel apps and even make history lessons seem so much more interesting.

This experimental app can add ‘audio signs’ to a room


Ever wished real life looked more like a video game?Here’s an app developed by building and construction industry IT experts BPM that does just that. No, it’s not actually a game. On the contrary, it seems like something that could also have a lot of potential for industrial and commercial usage. What BPM’s app does is – it captures a 3D model of a room, and then lets you create audio / visual signs and markers.

An AR moodboard and scrapbook? Check this out

AR designer Tamrat Alemu has quite a few cool demos up on his website. One we like is the AR subway map that pops up when you scan a New York City. subway smart card. Then there’s another ‘time machine’ demo that overlays old videos over modern-day NYC. But the coolest has to be the AR sketchbook, which creates a digital moodboard on being scanned.

Move over Robocop, Tuserv is here

We might have to wait a few more years for robotic crimefighters, but till then Tuserv will make police detectives feel like they stepped out of something Netflix made. Okay, it’s not an experimental app and is in fact used by police forces across the world to manage information. But add a HoloLens and Tuserv suddenly becomes very, very futuristic – A video demo shows how a crime scene can be scanned and stored – not as old-school photos, but as a 3D space. Detectives can then ‘come back’ to the crime scene in a proper 3D environment.     

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