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
Image Link

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
Image Link

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
Image Link

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
Image Link

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
Image Link

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
Image Link

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

Augmented Reality Chemical Plant

Coffee mugs on a glass table in Wegmans Hall are transformed into an AR classroom exercise that simulates a sprawling, real-life chemical plant.

Andrew White, assistant professor in the chemical engineering department, and April Luehmann, associate professor and director of secondary science education at the Warner School of Education, are collaborating on research that explores how AR can enhance the way students learn about engineeringStudio X will provide a much-needed space where educators can develop new approaches to increase student learning and engagement.

Coffee mugs on a glass table in Wegmans Hall are transformed into an AR classroom exercise that simulates a sprawling, real-life chemical plant.

Read the full article via the University of Rochester’s Newscenter.