Augmented Reality (AR) is the way of the future, layering dazzling enhancements over our physical reality with a simple app or headset. But a lot of people, especially businesses, still find the concept a bit intimidating.
Luckily, there are plenty of real-world examples of Augmented Reality experiences that can inspire you—here’s a list of 25 applications to help you understand how you can also bring your brand to the next level.
1. Cosmo Augmented Reality Photo Booth
Cosmo is an Augmented Reality photo booth that allows participants to take photos and videos with AR filters—you can either pick and choose from their AR filter packs, or work with their team to create custom branded filters. The experience works right in the browser—no app required—to ensure a seamless experience in any device.
In fact, you can try the demo right below!
Cosmo has been used by some of the largest brands in the world, to drive engagement in a wide variety of contexts—from virtual events to product launches and marketing campaigns. It’s the ideal way to bring together a brand’s community in a fun and interactive way, and to generate content for social media engagement.
2. Pokémon GO from Niantic
No list of real-world Augmented Reality applications would be complete without Pokémon GO, the popular mobile game that motivated people to step outside and catch Pokémon in real life, just like they dreamed of since childhood. In fact, gamers are a huge portion of Augmented Reality’s target audience.
The next time you go for a walk to catch that shiny Pikachu, remember how many opportunities AR provides for people to interact with their real-life surroundings!
3. RELAYCARS Virtual Car Experience
It’s time to get a much better view of a new car before you buy it, including perspectives that would be difficult to get in person. You won’t have to twist and turn awkwardly to get a look at the car from the inside out, thanks to Augmented Reality .
With the Virtual Car Experience, you can use your smartphone, computer, or tablet to get a much better feel for each vehicle from RELAYCARS before buying: It’s a big purchase decision, after al!
4. DHL Shipping’s AR Glasses
DHL’s AR glasses streamline warehouse employee performance and reduce error margins by layering information over the real room. These glasses vastly improve product picking and inventory counting, making it easier for employees to meet customers’ demands.
Who wouldn’t like to have cutting-edge technology that makes their job easier? This excellent Augmented Reality application improves work environments while speeding up shipping processes—and it could do the same for other businesses.
5. L’Oréal ModiFace
Try before you buy: Experiment with virtual makeup looks and even hair colors with Augmented Reality before you make the commitment! Even if you’re just window shopping, this app from L’Oréal is just plain fun. It can boost your confidence, helping you find the most flattering makeup choices before a big event.
Or, you can even play around with a hilariously bad look! It’s just as important to know what doesn’t suit you, after all, whether you’re talking about makeup or hair.
6. Medtronic AR Surgical Theater
Sometimes Augmented Reality can take on surprising roles. For example, Medtronic’s AR Surgical Theater helps people gain a more thorough understanding of the human brain, making improved neuroscience much more accessible.
If Augmented Reality can help neurosurgeons and students learn about cranial anatomy, think of all the other ways it could revolutionize the medical field. We’re already seeing faster education, improved student learning, and better surgical results!
7. Theia Interactive’s Harley Davidson AR Experience
From vintage to cutting-edge designs, Harley-Davidson made skillful use of Augmented Reality across the board using Theia Interactive’s application to provide an experience like no other.
During the demo, users could watch rusted vintage Harley models restore themselves to pristine conditions right before their eyes through AR: And Harley-Davidson boosted their reputability by sharing new design pitches that people wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise!
8. Avadyne Health’s Patient’s Concierge AR App
This handy AR app increases medical billing transparency, building brand trust and solving a common pain point for many medical organizations: When patients don’t understand their bills, customer service lines get clogged.
The Concierge app also improved customer experience by answering common questions preemptively: The app provides patients with a virtual explanation of their bills and hospital portal access, reducing the need for customer service calls.
Perhaps one of the most familiar real-world applications of AR is Snapchat—and it’s purely for fun! With Snapchat, users can layer filters over their faces for a laugh or send a perfected, sparkling selfie to their sweetheart with ease. You can also use this app to project customizable 3D characters into your environment.
Many people don’t really consider Snapchat as Augmented Reality, but it’s a quintessential example—it responds to your facial expressions, layers fun animations, and even offers games to play with friends.
10. IKEA Place Furniture App
Buying and moving new furniture is a big decision, but this AR application allows you to get a virtual idea of how it’ll look before you make your choice. Previous versions have allowed users to easily envision how a new piece will look in their home, but now it’s gotten even better!
IKEA’s AR app now enables you to digitally “delete” your old furniture with ease so that you can replace it with items from your shopping list. The app can also help you move furniture around to try new layouts.
11. Microsoft HoloLens
Most users associate Augmented Reality with smartphones and similar devices, but others want to take it a step further, and the Microsoft HoloLens fills this gap. Augmented Reality glasses aren’t just for industry workers—they’re for everyone.
Many AR applications center around one purpose, but the Microsoft headset can be used in many contexts, including educational and medical settings. This versatility does require the most current HoloLens headset, but most agree that it’s well worth it when they watch AR revolutionize everything from 3D modeling to tourism!
12. Sephora Virtual Artist Makeup App
See how specific makeup products look on you before you buy it by trying out new looks digitally. Are you unsure about your next foundation shade or lipstick choice? With Sephora’s Virtual Artist, you can try everything from a single product to an entire makeover!
Whether customers are using the app for shopping or just playing around, AR apps like Sephora’s improve customer engagement—imagine applying this concept to accessories and other products, too.
13. Google Glass and Project Iris
Countless people have already experienced the wonders of Augmented Reality with Google Glass—and next up is the new and improved Project Iris headset. While Google Glass was incredibly innovative for its time, some aesthetic and wearability issues earned it mixed reviews despite its informative AR interface.
Google has good news for anyone holding out for a better user interface and improved real-world responsiveness; Project Iris is coming soon, promising sleeker looks and more fluid interaction between AR and the physical world!
14. 19 Crimes’ Living Wine Labels
For those with a taste for rebellion, 19 Crimes wines offers a Living Wine Labels app that enables users to view notorious historical icons on their wine bottles and learn their stories.
The 19 Crimes series may not be everyone’s flavor, but it provides an excellent example of how Augmented Reality can be used for packaging—imagine AR that provides nutritional or usability information on just about any label, food or otherwise!
15. Jarit AR Menu App
Hungry for some food to go with your drink? Jarit’s app partners with restaurants to offer an Augmented Reality menu so that you can decide what you’re in the mood for. Users can view dishes in 3D, getting a much better idea of what they’d be ordering than they could from a photo.
Partner restaurants can improve customer relations with Jarit’s menu app by increasing transparency and adding intrigue to every order.
16. NEXT/NOW’s Chevron “Bumper to Bumper” App
Many people love cars, but understanding how they work is an entirely different world. The “Bumper to Bumper” app gave users a more in-depth view of racing vehicles, helping them understand the key, hard-working parts under a Chevron’s hood.
Complex diagrams are reinvented by 3D AR. Apps like this one have great potential for mechanic training and other vocational courses for students—not to mention on-the-job training!
17. “Zombies, Run!” AR Running Game
Struggling to complete your running goals for the day? You won’t while zombies chase you through this AR game’s series of missions and milestones! Gaming and physical fitness blend seamlessly together when you use this AR app on your smartphone to help keep yourself motivated.
And if monsters sound too intimidating, think of countless other possibilities such as keeping up with a sleek cheetah or trying to reach as many landmarks as possible before your time’s up.
18. Vogue’s Machine-A Shopping Boutique
Virtual stores that give people an idea of how their new clothes would look could be the future of retail, and Vogue is already there. The Machine-A app made its debut alongside London Fashion Week, inspiring countless fashionistas to digitally try on a variety of luxury brands using Augmented Reality.
With a simple QR code scan, users were transported virtually to a digital sales floor with renderings of seasonal collections, informational blurbs, and more.
19. Gucci’s AR Shoes
What trendy outfit is complete without the perfect pair of shoes? Always on the ball, Gucci was the first luxury brand to enable users to try on shoes virtually. All people had to do was point the app at their feet and make their selection!
Gucci even released an AR-only pair of sneakers that’s entirely digital. The digital shoes provided a way for people to connect through social media, increasing the brand’s influence.
20. The “World Around Me” Tourism App
Augmented Reality can be applied to the real world in a literal sense, boosting people’s excitement and sense of wonder as they explore the world around them. A good AR app can help people find their way around exciting new locations, hunt down memorable landmarks and restaurants, and more.
The “World Around Me” tourism app has not only helped people navigate new areas, but provided ratings and informational tidbits about local hotspots, too!
21. xInspect AR-Enhanced Maintenance
Why not take advantage of digital tips and error detection to minimize risks through Augmented Reality? Industrial inspection and maintenance fields have started utilizing AR to optimize efficiency and repair quality while minimizing potentially costly or harmful errors.
Guided diagnostics and diagrams, hands-free documentation, and helpful checklists all improve end results: When certain tasks are automated through AR, people can devote more attention to important maintenance, repair, and inspection details.
22. Pepsi MAX Bus Shelter
Augmented Reality ads aren’t limited to packaging labels—Pepsi got creative by introducing theirs to a bus shelter. The ad transformed the shelter wall into a “window” that superimposed incredible AR elements like robots and asteroids over the real world in real time. Talk about memorable!
Where there’s a wall, there’s a way for Augmented Reality to get your brand out there—and Pepsi MAX got millions of views online just with video clips of their AR ad in action.
23. Dark Design’s “ARki” Architecture Application
Imagine the same struggles of picturing new furniture in your home, but amplified to a skyscraper’s scale. Luckily, stunning architecture apps provide the opportunity to superimpose new 3D buildings over our physical reality, complete with shadows and other spatial interactions with nearby structures.
AR Architecture apps like ARki could not only be fun for creative people, but they could reinvent the architectural design industry as well by optimizing plans and design processes.
24. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History
Have you ever wanted to see what it would be like to walk with dinosaurs or swim with whales? A variety of Augmented Reality exhibits at the Smithsonian connects humans with normally inaccessible aspects of planet Earth, both current and past.
The museum also pairs AR beautifully with physical, hands-on activities that help immerse visitors more effectively in the learning experience.
25. The Metro AR Newspaper
Don’t be fooled into thinking that newspapers have become a thing of the past, because Augmented Reality is giving them new life! With a simple smartphone scan, people can enjoy interactive mobile ads that look like something out of a fantasy movie, resulting in even more positive engagement with their favorite brands.
And just think of all the other possible applications for AR in journalism and advertising: pamphlets, brochures, coupons, sales ads—the sky is the limit.
The real-world applications of AR have already been popping up all around the globe—Augmented Reality is more versatile and accessible than most people think. And the examples listed here are just the tip of the iceberg. If people have already put these real-world applications into practice, just imagine what you can do!