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What is Augmented Reality & How Does it Works?

What is Augmented Reality & How Does it Works?

Augmented reality is distinct from virtual reality and came to optimize various sectors of society with this technological innovation. If you follow technology websites, you must have read somewhere related to augmented reality news. This is a trend that has been growing among smartphone manufacturers and that opens up many possibilities for users. But do you know what augmented reality is? Meet now.

What is Augmented Reality?

First of all, it is necessary to understand the difference between the concepts of virtual reality and augmented reality. Virtual reality makes the user experience a completely different environment from the one they are used to. Augmented reality adds virtual items to an existing environment.

A simple example can explain this scenario. When we use an online banking service, via an application, we can consider that a virtual reality environment, as it completely replaces your trip to the bank, offering a new environment for your transactions.

In augmented reality, physical environments remain the basis of interaction, but virtual elements can be added to them as a way to create richer experiences. For example, when directing the cell phone to a traffic sign, it can point the distances to various tourist points from there in a virtual way, that is, on the screen of your cell phone.

Another great example of the use of augmented reality is the recent success of the game Pokemón Go. The title allowed users to “capture” virtual Pokémon around the city, using the smartphone. However, the maps served as a real reference of where to get around in the game.


How did Augmented Reality come about?

Many think that augmented reality is a new technology, but this is a mistake. The starting point of augmented reality began in 1968 with Ivan Sutherland who developed a Head-Mounted Display system, abbreviated as HMD.

It is a device worn on the head like a helmet, which has a small screen on the front. However, the concept of augmented reality started to be used only in the ’90s. Currently, augmented reality technology has evolved a lot and has spread in several areas.

Its applications are limitless and can be used in all areas, with imagination as a limitation. The most common applications are seen in games such as, for example, Pokémon Go, in which the user uses the cell phone to hunt for Pokémon (monsters) through the city streets.


How Does Augmented Reality Work?

The integration between the real (physical) world and the virtual world is the main objective of this technology. Using specific software, integration is made between the two points and the result is the presentation of specific resources for the consumer.

For example, by mapping your house, it is possible to transform it into the scenario of an FPS game, in which the map in question is the rooms of your residence. In this sense, the possibilities are numerous.


The Benefits of Augmented Reality

For businesses, augmented reality boosts sales, especially in virtual stores. This is because e-commerce’s face the intangibility of their products, that is, some customers stop buying because they cannot see themselves with that item or are afraid of being dissatisfied.

In addition, it increases the security of users. Some examples are the projects to launch vehicles with this technology so that the driver can visualize, in real-time, data on the performance on the way, average speed, traffic conditions, and possible obstacles.

Augmented reality allows people to train activities in real environments, such as aircraft and drone flight learners. Through it, it is also possible to measure distances, levels, and heights, as if it were a tape measure, but with automatic calculation of angles and volume.

Some stores allow the customer to choose the items by viewing them in the real place, like objects in decoration stores — just take the photos of the room in the house!


Differences Between Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

There is a common confusion between the meanings of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). However, they can be easily distinguished. Check it out below:

  • Virtual reality is a virtual environment in which users have access to a space created by a computer system — The Sims, for example. In addition, it can be used better with the use of specific glasses.
  • Augmented reality was created by a computer system, which integrates the physical and virtual environment — such as the filters of the social network Instagram and the QR Codes used in restaurants so that customers have access to the menu. In this case, just use an application for the system to work.

From these distinctions, companies define which of the two technologies best suits consumers and, consequently, will bring better results to the organization when applied.

It is worth mentioning that augmented reality requires less programming, less investment, and allows greater interaction of users, which leaves virtual reality at a disadvantage.

However, for the proper functioning of both, good internet providers that promote quality graphics are necessary.


7 Best Augmented Reality Apps

Now that you know what augmented reality is and how it works, check out the best 7 apps to try today.

1. Pokemon Go

We couldn’t start the list without mentioning Pokémon Go, the app that popularized augmented reality technology. A real fever at its launch, the game is no longer a craze, but it is still immensely popular among fans of the little monsters.

With your smartphone, you’ll be able to walk through the streets of your city and find the various Pokémon – currently, the first two generations of monsters are enabled -, throwing Poké Balls to capture them and put them to take gyms of rival teams in the famous Pokémon battles. The app can be played on iPhone or Android.


2. Civilizations AR

If you’re interested in history or geography, this BBC app is one of the most recommended options among the augmented reality apps on this list. Civilizations AR was developed in partnership with museums around the world to bring the experience to your home.

In it, you will be able to see historical items such as the helmets of Ancient Greek soldiers and Egyptian sarcophagi as if they were decorative objects in your home. Its only flaw is that it is only available in English.

BBC Civilizations AR is available for free on the Google Play Store.


3. WallaMe

Are you mastering the best-augmented reality apps, but would you like to be part of an “exclusive” community? WallaMe is a perfect app for anyone who likes to leave secret messages.

The app allows you to leave a message on any wall or wall you pass. When other app users open WallaMe and point the camera at the same surface, they will be able to see the message you left.

Think of the app as allowing you to be part of some spy game or secret society with your friends. WallaMe is free for Android and iOS users.


4. SketchAR

SketchAR (Android | iOS) is an app aimed at those who want to learn to draw. In addition to having numerous tutorials for beginners, the platform also has advanced drawing techniques.

With the camera pointed at a sheet of paper, you can draw the icon that appears on the screen on it. So you can train your technique and improve your drawing skills.


5. Google Translate

Google translator assumes its hegemony as the best translator on the internet and it also has an incredibly useful augmented reality feature. Using your smartphone’s camera, you can point at signs, papers, or restaurant menus in one language.

When reading the words, the app translates what is written into your language of choice, making it easier if you are traveling internationally, such as to Disney. Google Translate can be downloaded on Android or iPhone.


6. Inkhunter

One of the best possibilities that augmented reality technology brings can be seen through this app. Inkhunter allows its users to test tattoo designs using their smartphone cameras.

Through the app, you upload the tattoo design and draw on your body where your tattoo will be. Then aim the camera at the design and the design will replace the lines, showing what the tattoo looks like. Download Inkhunter on Android or your iPhone.

Also Read: Tips On How To Look For Best Iphone 13 Skins Online


7. Quiver

Quiver digitizes and displays your works in a virtual environment. Books can be downloaded from the app’s website and printed. Once colored, you can use your smartphone’s camera and the app to see your works come to life right in front of you.

It is possible to interact with the characters and some of them have minigames that can be played, for example. Quiver is available for Android devices as well as iPhones.



This technology that allows the interaction of the virtual with the real is still being explored, emerging from a creative point of view. Based on the success of Pokemon Go, we can predict that it has immense potential. And there are already many applications created and under experimentation in different areas.

However, it is important to think of good satellite internet providers that have connection service, or optical fiber to provide good broadband that supports the graphic formats of the applications.