Your Guide to Augmented Reality Mobile Apps

Designing Digitally


Your Guide to Augmented Reality Mobile Apps

Virtual (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are two viral buzz-phrases in the digital world today. This is because both technologies are being used increasingly in various industries, from education to medical, and gaming. Although VR predates AR by a few decades, with the first concept of VR appearing as early as the 1860s, AR is often confused with VR and MR (Mixed Reality).

What is AR?

Augmented Reality differs and is distinct from VR in that, despite offering an immersive experience, the user needn't be completely removed from the real world, as is with virtual reality applications. While VR absorbs the user into an artificial world, AR uses real-world objects enhanced with computer-generated information. An Augmented Reality experience can use some or all of the human senses, including visual, tactile, olfactory somatosensory, and auditory.

At the moment there are two types of AR applications:

  1. Location-Based AR

Location-based AR uses the Global Positioning System, digital compasses, and accelerometers to give the user information about AR objects. This sort of application can determine your location and direct you towards where you need to go by pinpointing an object, such as finding your car in a big parking lot. 

  1. Marker-Based AR

Marker-based AR makes use of image recognition technology. Using a smartphone, camera, or other handheld devices, you can scan a QR code or image and receive relevant information about the object portrayed. The object, thus, becomes the marker and digital information is overlaid onto it. Some advanced AR can actually recognize and display information about 3D objects.

Benefits of Augmented Reality Mobile Apps

AR technology is highly interactive, engaging, and immersive but without removing the user from their real-world environment. It actually creates a connection between the virtual world and the real world by superimposing information onto real objects in the user's environment. For example, a retail worker can learn more about the products and services their organization offers simply by using an AR app to view products in their physical store. Augmented reality mobile apps can:

  • Offer learners improved, specific, and clear information

  • Render easy visualization, since the user or learner can use their own handheld device to refer to information

  • Gives learners/users a unique and engaging experience by improving the interaction between consumer/learner and seller/teacher

  • Attract better brand visibility 

  • Gain a competitive advantage by appealing to an increasingly tech-savvy audience

Read also: How to Boost Corporate Training ROI With a Custom Mobile Learning App

Platforms for Developing Augmented Reality Apps

As mentioned, augmented reality technology is currently being used by various industries. Platforms such as Vuforia, Total Immersion, and Metaio are being used in education, retail, gaming, marketing, and automotive sectors.


Developed by Qualcomm, Vuforia is a pretty comprehensive AR application development platform. It can deploy mobile apps that function perfectly on both iOS and Android systems.

Total Immersion

Also completely compatible with iOS and Android, Total Immersion is often called the best market platform for developing AR apps. It is widely used by the retail and fashion industries to augment marketing efforts and boost sales.


Metaio is geared specifically towards marketing, automotive, industry, and AR printing. It is the most widely used AR app development platform in the world.

Unity 3D

Mostly used by the gaming industry, Unity 3D is heavily used to develop augmented reality mobile gaming apps. Game developers use Unity 3D to create games for both 2D and 3D platforms.

Uses for AR

You can use augmented reality for virtually any application. Still, here are the top uses for AR in mobile applications:

  1. Education

A new generation of teachers is embracing technology for multiple uses in the classroom or corporate training environment. AR apps like Aurasma are being used to help students digest information in new ways. Students can access the augmented reality application from their smartphones or other handheld devices.

Read also: Different Ways to Use Smartphones and Tablets for Employee Training 

  1. Gaming

Pokemon GO revolutionized how the gaming industry uses AR today. Both AR and VR applications are being developed by gaming companies, which are actually taking this technology to new heights.

  1. Quests

Imagine having augmented reality scavenger hunts for your friends. Or, exploring a new city by discovering fun facts and travel guides about architecture, restaurants, monuments, and other venues. AR can enhance a travel or discovery experience and bring a fun element into a learning/challenging event.

  1. Design

Augmented Reality can come in handy across various design sectors, be it construction, interior design, architecture or landscape design. AR projections can help designers visualize a concept in its entirety well before physical construction begins.

  1. Shopping

AR apps are being used to provide a more immersive and convenient shopping experience. You could see how a new desk chair will fit in with your existing furniture and even how the shoes you wish to buy look on your feet before making any purchase.

  1. Advertising

Augmented reality makes advertising fun because it requires users to interact with virtual campaigns through the use of their smartphones.

  1. Contextual Information

Point your smartphone at the Tour Eiffel, or any other attraction in Paris and it will give you history bits, fun facts, and all kinds of contextual information. You could be in any part of the world, for that matter. Augmented reality can be an invaluable self-learning tool.

Read also: How Does Augmented Reality Work in eLearning?


Augmented reality mobile apps are constantly changing, improving, and enhancing user experience with various platforms, services, products, and industries. Artificial reality is the next step in the evolution of the digital era, and being at the forefront of development will give any business the competitive advantage to come up on top.

If you are interested in learning more about virtual learning solutions and how augmented reality can improve your employee development, contact our team today!