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What Are the Different Types of Augmented Reality for Smartphones?

Angela Farrer
Angela Farrer

The different types of augmented reality (AR) for smartphones include applications for travel, education, entertainment, and social networking. Augmented reality technology can also be added to mobile web browsers for enhanced search results. Many people use augmented reality for smartphones to find geographic directions, learn extra information about their surroundings, and to look up data such as pricing about a product. These types of mediated reality are generally designed for both convenience and a digitally-enhanced experience of daily life.

Augmented reality allows users to see and hear sensory input, such as graphics, sound recordings, and pictures directly tied to a certain location. While some software applications may have different focuses and subject matter, connecting to augmented reality for smartphones is relatively simple. Users with access to a wireless network are usually able to see different information about buildings or other address locations around them. This type of augmented reality for smartphones can often be helpful for getting maps and directions in unfamiliar towns or cities.

A smartphone.
A smartphone.

Other kinds of augmented reality for smartphones have educational possibilities. Astronomy enthusiasts often use AR technology on a smartphone to view charts of constellations simply by holding their phones up to the night sky. This kind of artificial information can potentially give smartphone users access to a wide range of data when they are away from a standard desktop or laptop computer. While some AR applications need a wireless Internet connection to work correctly, many also have the option of saving the needed data for offline use.

Gaming is another area of possibility when it comes to augmented reality for smartphones. A few types of shooter games superimpose targets on the players' surroundings, and the object is to hit them with a virtual weapon by pressing an assigned smartphone button. Although this general concept of an augmented reality game is not brand new, it allows gamers to play in the environments they choose without the need for virtual reality helmets, glasses, or other types of equipment.

Fans of social networking can also use augmented reality for smartphones to keep their favorite site profiles updated while they are on the go. Many location-based AR applications have social media features that allow users can find and recommend various businesses by pointing their smartphones at a certain building and viewing informative graphics about it. These graphics can also include reviews, notes, maps, or snapshots that other members have posted about the same location.

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Discussion Comments


@SZapper - I don't see anything wrong with augmented reality video games for smart phones. Most people understand the difference between what they're seeing on their smartphone screen and what's actually there. Superimposing a video game on your surrounds shouldn't make it that much different than playing a game on a video screen.

I have an augmented reality application that shows the night sky with information about the stars and constellations. I think something like this could be a great learning tool for a student taking an astronomy class. It's fun, but you also learn something too.


@strawCake - That's really cool. I don't have a map application like that, but I think I'm going to try and download one. It seems like it would be especially useful when traveling to a new city, or even just exploring your own city. Sometimes things aren't labeled that clearly!

I actually don't really like the idea of augmented reality games for smartphones though. I feel like video games mess with people's heads so much as it is, we don't need to blur the lines between reality and fantasy anymore than they already are.


I have an augmented reality map application on my smartphone, and I've found it to be pretty useful. The way it works is that you open the application, and it activates your camera. Then you point your phone in whatever direction, and it will give you information about what you're pointing your phone at.

So if you point it at a building, it might list all the restaurants and shops that are in the building, with links for reviews. It will also point you to things that are in several directions and tell you how many miles away they are.

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      By: amorphis
      A smartphone.