6 AR Apps to Get You into Augmented Reality

iPhone screenshot of a collection of augmented reality apps.

Augmented reality (AR) is an overlay of computer-generated images onto the real world. AR uses our existing reality as the basis of the experience, and with the help of a device, this creates an interactive experience for users. AR has snuck into mainstream media right under everyone’s noses. However, some people still feel intimidated by the idea of AR technology! If you think you’re new to AR and are looking for some experiences to try, here are some free apps to get you started!

Travel/Adventure: Pokémon Go

All increased spawns, encounters, and event raids and bonuses for Pokémon  Go's 5th Anniversary Event | Dot Esports
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Pokémon Go is the game that brought AR mainstream like no other, drawing in old school Pokémon fans and new gamers into its addicting world of Pokémon catching. When you create your avatar and log in for the first time, you join Trainers across the globe in discovering Pokémon as you explore the world around you. The AR aspect comes into direct effect when you are catching Pokémon, as not only do you have to travel around to find them, but you also see them appear on the ground right in front of you! Its unique mechanics force players to get up and walking because, in order to catch new Pokémon, you have to be actively moving around. When you travel to well-known locations in your town, you may even find exciting monuments in the game such as Gyms and gift locations. You don’t have to play alone either. You can link up with your friends to share items, collect rare Pokémon, fight in Raid Battles, and more!


Kristin Lucas: Dance with flARmingos | Pioneer Works | 159 Pioneer Street,  Red Hook, Brooklyn
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This app populates your surroundings with AR flamingos that you can interact with through several functions on your screen. The FLARMINGOS are virtual representations of wild flamingos that the creator developed informed by scientific research. They were animated using human motion and a dynamic flocking algorithm that influences their collective behavior. If you have your friends download this informational app, you can work together to create a flock and watch as they dance to the music!

Social Justice: Breonna’s Garden

Welcome to Breonna's Garden
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She who plants a garden plants hope. This is the message you first see upon opening the app. Soon, music cues, and you watch a slideshow filled with various images of Breonna from her lifetime. After watching the moving slideshow, you scan your environment briefly with your camera and watch as Breonna’s Garden blooms. in the center of the garden stands a 3D model of Breonna. This AR app evolved from a tool to help her family grieve, to a tool used by the nation. It was created with the intention of it being a peaceful refuge where her name can be said without negation and where you can give yourself a moment to surrender and let go.  Brimming with art, life, and beauty, the Garden is not only a sacred space to honor Breonna Taylor, but also to celebrate someone you miss. This app is best experienced in a quiet place where you feel comfortable sharing your feelings.

Nature: Candide

Augmented Reality: Is this the Future of Plant Records? - Botanical Software
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If you are a plant lover, Candide is the app for you! Not only can this app identify your plants for you through a simple photo, but it also serves as a form of social media app for plant lovers! If you have a plant you’ve long forgotten the name of, a quick snap and scan using Candide’s AR filter will do its best to identify the plant for you. If you’re unsure whether or not its identification is correct, you can post the plant to your feed and ask others for their opinion. The app also provides extensive information on how to care for various plants, what plants go well together, and how to make your plants the healthiest they can be!

History: Kinfolk

A Monumental Shift – Guernica
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Kinfolk empowers users to bring AR monuments of underrepresented icons into any home, school, or public space. This app allows the user to dive deeper into Black history. The app comes preloaded with stories of 6 different historical figures. Once you choose a figure, its stature appears right in front of you through the power of AR. While you gaze at their life-size visage, you get to read or listen to their bios, explore their playlists, and even explore additional resources through the Kinfolk web portal. The app starts with monuments of people that should be common knowledge, and they are working to build an archive that tells history from a perspective that you won’t find in schools.

Game: Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs

Angry Birds augmented reality game coming to mobile, initially exclusive to  iOS - 9to5Mac
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Whether you are a fan of the classic game or looking into AR games for the first time, Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs is a fun way to introduce you and your family to the world of AR games. This game takes you to a remote island right within your own home! Each of the 40 fun-filled levels appears on your floor, wherever you may be. The more space you have, the easier it is to play, as you can go as far as walking around the buildings to destroy them better! You are able to see the incredibly realistic characters and the structures of each level overlaying your own environment in real-time, making this Angry Birds game immersive like no other.


AR may seem daunting at first, but once you dip your toes into the world of AR apps, you’ll definitely come to see how easy it is to use this technology! People may think that they are not the right kind of person to use AR, but with the technology becoming so mainstream, there is bound to be an AR app out there for everyone! All the apps mentioned in this article are free to download, and there are many more out there to try. If you would like more recommendations of AR apps, or simply want to know more about AR technology, stop by Studio X and we can help you learn more!

Ayiana Crabtree
Ayiana Crabtree

Karp Library Fellow, XR Research

VR Experience List

person in a virtual reality headset with an artsy backdrop

Are you new to VR and don’t know where to start or just looking for some new experiences to try? Studio X has you covered! Check out our reviews of some popular VR experiences.

To pique your interest, here’s a list of our top 5 favorites! The experiences listed below are a mix of different genres of VR, so there’s sure to be something for everyone.

First Person Shooter/Action: SUPERHOT

SUPERHOT VR on Oculus Quest | Terminals

If you’re looking for an action game that runs at your own pace, SUPERHOT can give you the experience you’re looking for! The best way to describe this game would be “strategy but make it chaotic.” Time moves when you move, no health bar, no ammunition drops. You get the resources you get, and one hit against you puts you back to the beginning of the level. Each stage puts you in a new situation in which you must eliminate the bad guys (red, glassy, people-like figures). The materials around you could range from nothing but your fists to bottles to guns that you’ve stolen off the enemy. The biggest component of SUPERHOT that makes it unique to other action games is that time only moves when you move. Whether it’s a simple flick of your wrist or you dodging a bullet, you control how your enemies and the environment around you moves. This may seem like an advantage at first, but it forces you to calculate your every move, making it an amazing strategy game.

Horror: Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted

Fnaf Vr Help Wanted Nightmare Foxy - Novocom.top

You don’t need to be a fan of the Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise to enjoy this spooky game filled with all kinds of creepy scenery and jump scares!  This game can serve as the perfect introduction to the FNaF lore, as it not only contains all of the original games newly formatted for VR but also contains a series of original minigames created just for this experience. For those unfamiliar with the world of FNaF, the games have you play as a night guard at a Freddy’s pizzeria. Your shift runs from midnight to 6am, but there are killer animatronics coming after you! The scary part of this game is that you have a stationary position and cannot run. The only way for you to defend yourself is through looking at the security cameras to track the locations of the animatronics, your flashlight that’s attached to the cameras in each room, and the heavy-duty security doors that close off your office. But it’s not as simple as that, as you have limited battery power, and if you run out too early, its game over! This game is perfect for people who love horror, who love getting jump scared, or love the FNaF games.

Narrative: Traveling While Black

Traveling While Black: Official Teaser Trailer - YouTube

Traveling While Black is a 20 minute, immersive, cinematic VR experience that requires no action from the viewer. It immerses the viewer in the history of restriction of movement for Black Americans and the creation of safe spaces in our community. VR has often been described as an “empathy machine,” and this documentary is an eye-opening example of this terminology. This experience isn’t pleasant nor is it meant to be, but it is incredibly informative and thought-provoking. This experience is perfect for those interested in learning a little bit of history or for those who don’t want an interactive VR experience.

Rhythm: Beat Saber

Beat Saber' OST 4 Music Pack Releases for Free Today, Track List Here –  Road to VR

If you are looking for a game to help improve your hand-eye coordination or just love to dance to funky songs, beat saber is the perfect game for you! This game has a large focus on rhythm and allows an immersive experience that will leave you feeling like a music slicing ninja. The goal in each level is to slash the beats (represented by colored cubes depending on the level) as they rush towards you with the correct colored saber (either in your left or right hand). Your goal is to slice all the beats to the rhythm of the music while avoiding obstacles such as walls and bombs. The more accurate you are, the more points you will get! You can play a single player mode or can connect with friends who have the same oculus device. If you don’t have any friends to play with, you can connect with anonymous beat saber players for a fun multiplayer challenge!

Simulation: Job Simulator

Job Simulator Oculus Quest Review - Rapid Reviews UK

Can’t get enough of work and want to do more in a quirky VR world? Then Job Simulator is the game for you! Set in a world in which humans no longer do jobs for themselves, you get to learn what it was like to “have a job.” When immersing yourself into this game, you will get to simulate a variety of different jobs including but not limited to: gourmet chef, office worker, and convenience store clerk. According to the Oculus Store, some key jobbing features include: Throwing a stapler at your boss! Learning to ‘job’ in four not-so historically accurate representations of work-life before society was automated by robots! Using your hands to stack, manipulate, throw, and smash physics objects in an inexplicably satisfying way! Aggressively chugging coffee and eating questionable food from the trash! Gaining valuable life experience by firing new employees, serving slushy treats, brewing English tea, and ripping apart car engines! Working the never-ending night shift with Infinite Overtime mode! This game serves as a fun introduction to the VR gaming world for those who want a light-hearted, fun experience.


These games represent some of the many different categories of VR games that exist. If you didn’t see anything you like in this list or want to find some more cool experiences to try, go check out our VR Experiences Catalogue! This list will be ever-expanding as we try out many more new experiences, and as more are created. Some of these experiences will be available for you to try at Studio X, whether you want to check out a headset for a couple of days or want to come into the space for a couple of hours.

Ayiana Crabtree
Ayiana Crabtree

Karp Library Fellow, XR Research

5 Books about XR Technology and Beyond: Get Yourself Thinking About the Future of Technology!

artsy book with a lightbulb in front of it.
Future of XR: Technology and Application
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This article serves to provide you with a list of various books that have a strong focus on XR technologies and futuristic concepts as well as a little bit of the history of these technologies. Some terms to know as you go:

XR – Extended Reality
The umbrella term used to describe all real and virtual combined environments and human-machine interactions generated by computer technology. This includes AR, VR, and MR

VR – Virtual Reality
An immersive experience, also known as a computer simulated reality. It uses a VR headset to generate sounds and images that can either replicate the real world or create an imaginary one

AR – Alternative Reality
A live view, whether direct or indirect, of a real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer generated sensory output. AR uses your existing reality and adds to it by using a device such as a phone

One of the most popular books from this list, Ready Player One has been made into a movie that helped XR technologies to go mainstream. XR has huge potential to transform the everything from science to psychology to art to digital literature and beyond. I recently purchased my own VR headset and have been escaping into incredible fictional worlds! But did you know that the first evidence of XR technology dates back to the 1800s?

A Brief History of XR Technology

History of VR - Timeline of Events and Tech Development
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  • The history of XR starts back in the 1800s. Scientist, Sir Charles Wheatstone outlined a new concept called “stereopsis” in which the brain combines one image from each eye into a single 3D image. This led to the first stereoscopes, a device that took a pair of images and turned them into a 3D image with the illusion of depth.
  • In the early 1900s,  American Science Fiction writer, Stanley G. Weinbaum published the book Pygmalion’s Spectacles in which the main character explores a fictional world using a pair of goggles, making this the first prediction of VR as we know it today.
  • The first AR headset was created in 1968 by Ivan Sutherland called the Sword of Damocles that displayed computer-generated graphics that enhanced the user’s perception of the world.
  • From the 1980s to 2000s, VPL Research Inc became the first company to sell VR goggles and gloves. Their founder, Jaron Lanier, coined the term “virtual reality” in 1987.
  • In 2010, Palmer Luckey created the prototype for the Oculus Rift headset at the age of 18. By 2014, Facebook had acquired the Oculus VR company.
  • 2014 became a busy year for XR, with Sony and Samsung both announcing the creation of their own VR headsets, and Google releasing its low-cost cardboard viewer for smartphone users. In addition to this, Google released Google Glass, an AR device.
  • In 2016, Microsoft released HoloLens headsets, which made AR more interactive. AR was brought into the mainstream media by the release of Pokémon GO.
  • In 2017, a lot of retailers began using AR technologies to help customers imagine products in their homes using apps like IKEA Place.
  • As of 2020, about 30% of gamers own a VR headset.

For more on the history, visit this website: https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2021/05/17/the-fascinating-history-and-evolution-of-extended-reality-xr–covering-ar-vr-and-mr/

5 Books to Immerse Yourself in Extended Reality and Beyond

The Six by Mark Alpert

Topics: VR, Nanotechnology, AI, Uploading the human conscious to a machine

This YA Sci-Fi novel takes a look at how technology could be implemented for both medical and military purposes. The main character, Adam Armstrong suffers from muscular dystrophy and has lost motor control of everything but his head, neck, and right arm. He’s passionate about VR technology and codes his own programs. VR games are his only escape from his wheelchair, as he no longer attends high school due to his high intelligence levels.

One day while he is testing out one of his VR programs, he gets a visit from a hacker, who he later finds out is an artificial intelligence named Sigma, created by his dad in the laboratory. Sigma threatens to kill Adam, and soon he is taken from his home in New York to a remote settlement in Chicago. There, he learns of a government program called the Pioneer Project, which they hope will be able to take down this murderous AI, that is now taking over various military bases and satellites and threatening to kill large amounts of the human population in order to gain full control.

Adam soon joins the Pioneer Program along with 5 other teens who have less than 6 months to live to have their minds transferred into weaponized robots through the use of nanotechnology. The Six teens must learn to manipulate their new mechanical forms and work together to train for combat… before Sigma destroys humanity.

Unplugged by Donna Freitas

Topics: Virtual Reality, Dystopia

This YA Sci-Fi novel dives right into VR with its main concept being “imagine if people lived their entire lives in VR.” The main character, Skye is a sixteen-year-old girl who lives in the Virtual “App World.” She was plugged into this reality when she was just 5 years old, as her mother and older sister wanted to give her a better life. In the App World, people go about day-to-day life as if they were living in reality, with some interesting upgrades to life. With the addition of apps that one could download into the very code of their existence, people have the ability to change their appearance, play highly immersive games, and even converse with others by merely thinking in their direction.

Skye, having been transferred in at the young age of 5, was given a foster family of others who were uploaded. Because of her lack of family, though, she is considered a “single,” aka someone who was uploaded without their real-life family. Despite not being with her family, she is looking forward to being “unplugged” at the age of seventeen, as is tradition with all “singles,” so they can see their families.

Skye knows nothing about her family as there is no communication allowed with the outside once someone is plugged in. What she does know, however, is that her mother and sister are likely “Keepers,” those who exist outside of the App World and are responsible for taking care of the bodies of those who are plugged in. Just as she is approaching her seventeenth birthday, however, the government of the App World mysteriously makes an announcement closing off the ability to be unplugged… forever. Skye is now desperate to find a way to visit her mother and sister, and in doing so, unveils a much darker plot at hand.

Take Me With You by Tara Altebrando

Topics: AI, Suspense

This YA novel focuses solely on the potential threats that self-thinking AI could pose to the future of humanity. Four teens with nothing in common all receive the same message at the end of the school day: Report to the music room directly after school. The matter is urgent. When they arrive, no one is in the room except for them, and a small black cube. The device suddenly lights up and gives them instructions. Do not tell anyone about the device. Do not leave the device unattended. Take me with you… Or else.

The reader is then launched into a thrilling mystery told through a POV that shifts between the four students Eden, Marwan, Eli, and Ilanka. Each student has their own compelling life story that adds to the thrills of the narrative. Eden has a crush that doesn’t like her back and a mother with secrets. Marwan is determined to pursue soccer, but his traditional father wants him to take over the family restaurant. Eli is frequently in trouble and has a grandfather who is on his deathbed. Ilanka lives a lavishly rich life but soon discovers that her father may be hiding something.

The teens’ lives soon become more intertwined than they would have ever imagined, and soon the device becomes hostile, not just towards them, but to the people around them. Who or what created the device? Where did it come from? What is its purpose? With its ability to listen in on their every conversation, sabotage their texts, and control any manner of electronics, the teens realize that they must play along to not suffer any consequences. The device wants one thing: to belong. The teens must figure out how to meet the devices’ wishes before things are too late.

Warcross by Marie Lu

Topics: VR

This YA Sci-Fi novel shows what life might be like if people could escape their reality for a little while in a fully immersive VR game. For the millions who log into Warcross every day, however, it becomes more than a game, it becomes a way of life. The main character, Emika Chen, is a teenage hacker working as a bounty hunter to track down players who bet on the game illegally. With the competitive bounty hunting profession not making her enough money, she makes a desperate attempt and hacks into the opening game of the International Warcross Championships.

The risky move leaves her feeling like she will be arrested. Instead, she gets a call from the mysterious Hideo Tanaka, the young billionaire creator of the game. Just to her luck, he needs someone to spy on the tournament due to a security issue that had gone unresolved.

One minute she thinks she’ll be arrested, the next she’s being whisked off to Tokyo and tossed directly into the game and a world of fame she’s never known before. After a bit of investigating, however, she begins to uncover a sinister plot that if true, would have serious complications for the entirety of Warcross. Is she right in her suspicions, and is she willing to risk everything to prove herself correct?

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Topics: VR, Action

This Sci-Fi novel immerses the reader into a world where there’s a fusion of 80s pop culture and a heavy presence of the impact of VR on humanity. The OASIS is a digital utopia that everyone escapes to, including our protagonist, Wade Watts. He doesn’t just escape to the OASIS but even goes to school there. One day, something happens out of the blue. The creator of the OASIS, James Halliday dies. As he has no relatives, he instead leaves behind a mysterious video message that initiates the hunt for an egg that once found, will transfer all of his life savings and the ownership of OASIS to the winner.

Wade had already dedicated his life to studying Halliday, his role model, and feels that he could gain a place among the top “Gunters” (Egg Hunters). He watches endless videos and studies Halliday’s archives until one day he happens to stumble across the first clue. Soon, he is being tracked down by the IOI (Innovative Online Industries) who seek to gain ownership of the OASIS for profit, something that Halliday never did.

Wade soon learns that plenty of people are willing to kill for clues, as the ultimate prize would secure the winner’s life forever, both in and out of the OASIS. Before he knows it, he is swept into a mad race, and if he is to survive, he has to win.

Ayiana Crabtree
Ayiana Crabtree

Karp Library Fellow, XR Research

Studio X Equipment Usage Guide

Oculus Quest 2 VR headset with controllers.

This document provides information on how to use the various equipment that you can borrow from Studio X

Meta (Oculus) Quest 2

Meta Quest 3

Meta Quest Pro

Valve Index

Microsoft HoloLens


The “General Documentation” link under Documentation brings you to their website, which has an extensive database of informational guides that are easy to navigate

CleanBox UV Disinfecting Box


Insta360 One X2


  • The “General Help” link under Tutorials takes you to their webpage, on which you can find all sorts of instructional videos sorted by category.
  • Beyond Insta360 Studio, you can also use video editing tools such as Adobe Premiere Pro or DaVinci Resolve for editing 360 footage. See this page for some resources.

Lume Pad

Zoom H3-VR Audio Recorder


There are a lot more videos on their YouTube page under the search term “H3-VR”

3D scanner