social media toolsHave you heard of augmented reality? This new technology will have a profound impact on businesses. Keep reading to learn why…

Like social media, augmented reality is a fairly new technology that is still being developed into tools that add some use or productivity to our lives.

At this early stage, it is often found in games, but businesses are slowly adopting the technology and experimenting with it.

If you’re unaware of augmented reality, the basic definition is that it adds something to, improves, or heightens, reality.

Here’s a cool augmented reality video to check out.

Have a look at these five examples of what has been achieved using this technology so far and get excited about what this could lead to in the future!

#1: Games

Games are a fairly common use for augmented reality, helped by the popularity of mobile-based gaming.

The following example, however, is an impressive use of the technology, combined with SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) technology, created by NASA.

According to 13th Lab, the creators of the iPad 2 game Ball Invasion, NASA’s 3D tracking technology uses the device’s camera to build and track a 3D model of the world around you in real time.

13th lab

The game is the world's first iPad 2 application based on a 3D tracking technology originally invented by NASA.

This enables the player to use almost any surroundings as the gaming environment, and according to the 13th Lab team, “allows for a much more stable, robust and versatile user experience.” Unlike other augmented reality games, which use GPS or pre-determined markers, this new technology enables the game elements to interact with the environment more realistically.

Watch this video for a look at how the game works:

#2: Safety

This is something I wouldn’t be quick to associate with the use of augmented reality, but the Moscow Ministry of Internal Affairs has created an app and accompanying website which uses augmented reality to remind drivers and pedestrians of the danger present on Russian streets.

road accidents

The app uses augmented reality technology to overlay accident markers on real-world surroundings, and allows users to see car-related deaths, accidents and injuries that occurred in that particular area. Users can also view the accident details with photos, videos and information.

The campaign is made up of QR codes placed around Moscow and other large cities in Russia, which, when scanned, show videos, photos and detailed information about traffic accidents that have occurred at that particular location.

Using augmented reality, the app overlays symbols on the user’s surroundings, pointing out where accidents have occurred, and offering graphic details to warn us about safety.

Have a look at this video to see the app in action:

#3: Politics

This seems to be an industry that is trying to jump on board with new technologies, and augmented reality is no exception.

The Green Party of Berlin recently released a mobile app in conjunction with its election campaign.

The app has two main features, the first being interactive billboards. When scanned with the app, videos of Green Party speeches appear on your mobile device, laid over the real-world billboards.

This video shows the billboards in action:

The second feature gives the user more input, allowing conversations to be conducted around Berlin, using virtual points of interest (POIs). With the app, you can actively participate in the real public space by posting or interacting with others on topics of interest, such as payable living space, education, energy consumption or production and public transport.

green party map

Comments from users are tagged by location on the Green Party's website, so users can continue the conversation from their computers.

The video below shows how comments can be attached to locations around the city and read by others, increasing the conversation about Green Party issues.

#4: Art

Art had its turn with augmented reality experimentation recently at the Site Gallery in the UK. A commission project called XYZ developed by Sarah Staton and Chris Hodson used markers placed inside and outside the gallery, as well as throughout the surrounding city, to trigger virtual renders on smartphone screens.

augmented reality

Physical markers around the gallery and surrounding city produced virtual sculptures, viewable on smartphone screens.

The sculptures used in the project were created by Staton, and then interpreted for the virtual space by Hodson. According to the gallery’s website, the project was designed to explore questions about the effects of virtual elements on physical art:

“Sculpture created from accumulations of simple solid forms have been explored extensively in constructivist and minimalist art, with the application of new technologies ‘xyz’ will bend, twist and reform these historical precedents into a mediated 3D ephemeral sculpture-scape.”

#5: Sales

This is not an area that has involved augmented reality much so far. Even branding and marketing uses of augmented reality, like Cadbury’s recent use of Blippar, have focused on game-style aspects to get the user involved.

LutinCapuche, however, is using the augmented reality platform Layar to create a virtual shopping experience for her hand-made plush toys.


You can use the Layar platform to create an engaging augmented reality experience within your very own app!

The first, LCPlush Shop, has geolocated stores in Canada and France that customers can actually walk into. Using the augmented reality layer, customers can visit the virtual shop and website on their mobile device; share plushes by email, Facebook or Twitter; and even use the ‘Plushes Maker’ to design their own LCPlush.

la fabrik a-plushes

The Plushes Maker allows users to design their own custom LCPlush toy.

The second layer, LCPlush Anywhere, allows customers anywhere in the world to visit the virtual shop, explore the products in 3D rendering and make purchases.

plush dog

Customers around the world can make online purchases in the virtual store.

Although this is still a new space with a lot of development and experimentation taking place, it’s easy to imagine the possibilities for augmented reality in the future.

What do you think of augmented reality so far? Is it too complicated, or fascinating? I’d especially love to hear how you imagine augmented reality could become useful to your business in the future, so imagine the possibilities and leave us a comment in the box below.

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  • Don’t forget out sweet little augmented reality wifi discovery app WorkSnug

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  • Good case study for make brand awareness and marketing on entertainment-base.

  • DivineDiva2011

    This is really interesting, I haven’t heard of it yet. Just think of all the possibilities!

  • Ikea has done some amazing tricks with AR including allowing furniture to be visualized in home before purchased!

  • Bill Lord

    Next on Augmented Reality Examiner…

  • Pretty sure the new Mastodon album will allow you to hold the cd up to your screen and cover your face with The Hunter bull. This stuff is cool as hell.

  • Tschell

    We could us a wee bit of AR in US Politics and World Financial Matters now, yes!?

  • Alfredohdz65

    Did you see the gigantic hand holding the iPhone in minute 0:35 ?

  • Alfredohdz65

    In the second Politics Video 😉

  • eitank

    At ardemollo, we’re using AR for home design purposes. The free app in the Apple app store features small, hand-picked designers, Pratt graduates and a well-known brand (more to follow). Our goal is to add value to the potential buyers by reducing the unknowns and enabling social aspects of the buying process.

  • Kris Palmer

    Very interesting – especially the safety feature used in Moscow and other Russian cities

  • corinamackay

    Isn’t it exciting? I can’t wait to see what happens next!

  • corinamackay

    That’s brilliant! Used in the right place, in the right way, it can be an incredibly useful technology.

  • corinamackay

    Yes it is! That’s another great example!

  • corinamackay

    Hey Eitan,

    That sounds really interesting. What exactly does the app do? Is it used to visualise design ideas before implementing them?

  • corinamackay

    I agree, Kris. It’s great to see that the technology is being used for good, as well as fun!

  • I think there is a lot of weight that is placed into games now a days.

  • This is fantastic!!!! So exciting. Thanks for writing a great article Corina. Was extremely informative… well done 🙂

  • kitchiguine

    Nice article,

    The ball invasion game is really impressive! I’m looking forward to use it. 

    Augmented Reality is becoming a technology that people start to use without knowing it’s augmented reality. It simply shows the technology’s utility (for those who were thinking it was just a gimmick) 🙂 More and more companies are creating Layers on Layar and Junaio and more and more are considering to allocate a certain % of their marketing campaign budget to Augmented Reality. To me it’s a bit similar to the web situation in 1999 

    The Marketing industry has been doing (and still does)a good job by democritizing the technology especially with big campaigns such as AXE, Tissot, heineken or Lego,  did. 

    Now we can see a lot of very interesting use cases of Augmented Reality:

    Visualize objects before you buy them, Augment from AugmenteDev is offering this service

    Discover a city with Augmented Reality :

    Augmented Reality and Entertainment:

    Augmented Reality and training….
    Augmented reality and urbanization….

    Sure there is still a lot to do, but augmented reality is on a good way to be a new media as important as the web! The next 5 years will be mobile and this is very important!

  • This new technology, called augmented reality, blurs the line between what’s real and what’s computer-generated by enhancing what we see and feel….
    “Shilpi Singha Roy
    Facebook fan page –

  • Consumers seem to react positively to augmented reality. 

  • corinamackay

    Thanks April. I think it’s really exciting as well!

  • corinamackay

    I agree – it is taking a while to catch on, as companies experiment with the technology to find the most effective way of using it, but it’s an exciting time right now.

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  • Jan Wong

    AR is really cool and people today seem to be open to the idea especially when it is now supported on mobile. Back then it has to be on a webcam. Rumor has it going that the next generation of smart phones will be able to support AR much better than before so we can foresee a growth in AR applications very soon.

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  • Some of the good could be in growth and development.  Some children have no positive role models.  It could have an impact to see sharing, taking turns etc taking place.

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  • Trond

    Do you have any references on this? Would have been greate if you had as Im looking for information on consumer adoption of AR.

  • MMPrint

    Now this is where Augmented Reality can really shine…Education!
    Today’s generation of children are surrounded by smartphones, big screen TVs, apps and the internet. They live in a virtual world…we should educate them there.

    So much time and effort is wasted in schools just trying to get kid’s attention…interactivity can solve that problem.
    With Augmented Reality, learning math, science, history, etc. can actually become fun. Kids learn best when they experience. 
    The first video in this link shows how a science book can be transformed into a fun learning experience –

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  • We are collecting AR examples as well. See i.e.  8 new ways of window shopping:

    AR is ultimately cool and truly connects the real world with the virtual world. And doesn’t want to make the world a better place (even if it’s just a dream)?

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  • Kasidy Marshall

    How this interesting just wondering @ DivineDiva2011

  • The cutting edge Augmented Reality technology attempting to help users to engage with the surroundings via mobile devices or wearables by offering real-time and interactive visual content that pops up in an entertaining and informative manner.