How augmented reality apps keeping people busy and distracted in time of Covid

Published: June 28, 2020 6:30 AM

For starters, AR is accessible on one’s smartphone. The technology basically overlays virtual objects in the real-world scene in real time, giving users a way to experience interactive content and making them feel as if they are present right at the scene.

Men using artificial intelligence on smart phone with augmented reality application for recognizing food

By Shriya Roy

With people across the world confined to their homes for the majority of time, finding alternative ways to do things has been in vogue. From online classes and meetings to virtual tours, the digital world has been quite a saviour during this time. And given the situation, there’s never been a better time to try out augmented reality, or AR, technology to make everyday things a little more plausible.

For starters, AR is accessible on one’s smartphone. The technology basically overlays virtual objects in the real-world scene in real time, giving users a way to experience interactive content and making them feel as if they are present right at the scene. AR apps for smartphones, therefore, have been tailored to enhance the immersive experience. AR is all about superimposing computer-generated images in the real world, thus creating a view that augments the real world. From interactive map overlays and virtual labs and classes to interactive dance classes, AR apps make a lot of things possible.

If you are someone who is bummed with the restrictions in travel and movement, there’s an AR app to help you out. BBC’s Civilizations AR app brings to users a fascinating view of cultures and civilisations. The free app uses augmented reality to turn your living room into a museum. The app also brings forth historical artefacts from museums that can be viewed in 3D. Users can learn about the origins of the artefacts and the history behind them. This is an app for anyone interested in history or those who want to know the likely future of museums.

If you are at home and want to make use of your time by learning dance, Dance Reality app can be of help. A virtual dance instructor named ‘Bee’ will appear in your room and teach some basic dance moves. But that’s not it. The app changes according to the dance you want to learn. If you want to learn salsa, two dancers ‘Andy Albani’ and ‘Bee’ will be virtually present in the room. From hip-hop to zumba, users can learn many dance forms.

The pandemic has forced schools to close and kids have been taking online classes on Zoom. While theory lectures are still easier to manage on a video conference, practical classes aren’t. JigSpace AR app solves this problem. The app not only makes the concepts easy through 3D objects and figures, but also keeps students engaged through interactive elements. Users just have to select a category—science, history and so on—within the app and focus the phone camera on a flat surface. Say, you want to know how a battery works. The app will showcase a 3D model of a battery along with a step-by-step guide. Users can also rotate the figure and zoom to view it better.

Adding to the practical knowledge is yet another AR app. If you are someone who misses dissecting a frog in the biology lab, Froggipedia will come to your rescue. Froggipedia helps users explore and experience the lifecycle of a frog. It gives users the ability to take a frog apart or see a transparent view of a living frog. You can use your fingers to dissect the amphibian and get a closer look at its organs and systems. The app is, however, available only on iOS as of now.

Catching up on your artistic skills while quarantining is also possible now. SketchAR is essentially an AR tracing app, wherein a user has to plot a couple of circles on a piece of paper and choose a sketch. The app will project the image on to the paper, allowing the user to trace and sketch around it. Another app called Mondly aids users to learn a new language with the help of an AR instructor. Users just have to tap the AR button and place the phone on a flat surface like the floor. The virtual 3D AR teacher will then begin the lessons.

Apart from these, there are multiple gaming-based AR apps that have come in handy to keep people busy and distracted in these times. Pokémon Go uses GPS to mark a user’s location and move their in-game avatar. The smartphone camera is used to show Pokémon in the real world. Then there is Ingress, which was tech giant Google’s first entry into the AR industry. To add to the list is Knightfall: AR, Zombies Go, Ghost Snap, among others.
With restrictions in place and set to continue in the near future, the line between the real and virtual world may get blurred sometimes. In such a situation, augmented reality can bind the two and open up a new host of possibilities that might have earlier seemed impossible.

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