New users start here: 9 augmented reality apps to try

Pokemon Go on Apple iPhones
Getty Images

CNBC has been focusing on frontier technologies this week from artificial intelligence to virtual reality.

But one technology – augmented reality (AR) – has taken off in a big way thanks to the popularity of smartphone game "Pokemon Go".

AR is when digital images are superimposed over the real world via your smartphone. For example in "Pokemon Go", creatures pop up on your screen while the background is whatever your device's camera is pointing at.

With AR getting a lot of buzz, CNBC runs through the apps which you can use to try out the technology.

'Pokemon Go'

A user playing "Pokemon GO" on a London street.
Olivia Harris | Getty Images

Price: Free

OS: Android, iOS

"Pokemon Go" requires players to walk around a real-world map and capture fictional monsters – the Pokemon in the title.

Certain Pokemon appear in particular areas and at different times of day. It encourages players to go out and explore places to find new creatures. When a player encounters a Pokemon, they can try to catch it. The Pokemon is superimposed over the real world in augmented reality.

Blippar

Blippar

Price: Free

OS: Android, iOS

Blippar can recognize objects that a user points their smartphone at. Once it has recognized the object, information about it pops up on a user's smartphone.

"Discovery using your camera is a behavior where almost the universe gives you something you didn't know you were looking for," Blippar's Chief Executive Ambarish Mitra, told CNBC earlier this week.

Google Translate

Google

Price: Free

OS: Android, iOS

The Google Translate app translates a piece of writing text into another language just by holding your phone camera over it.

So, for example, if you're at a restaurant with a menu you don't understand, the app will translate the words in real-time.

Next Glass

Next Glass

Price: Free

OS: Android, iOS

Find yourself always picking bad beer? The Next Glass app could help.

Users can hold their camera up to a beer bottle, and the app will present information about it, and a score based on your preferences.

Then when you scan a new beer, the app will give you calorie information and a rating about the likelihood of you enjoying the drink.

Ink Hunter

Ink Hunter

Price: Free

OS: Android, iOS

Ever wanted a tattoo but not sure how it'd look? There's an augmented reality app for that.

Users can design their own tattoo and then hold the camera over the area of their body that they were thinking of getting inked.

Yelp

Yelp

Price: Free

OS: Android, iOS

Yelp was one of the first to bring out an augmented reality app after releasing a feature called "Monocle" in 2009.

The app puts augmented reality markers on top of a real world map with user reviews.

Layar

Layar

Price: Free

OS: Android, iOS

Layar allows a publisher to put interactive content on anything from magazines to postcards. They can create a specially designed image that comes alive when a user holds their camera over it.

It's a way for brands to advertise and engage with users. For example, if you saw an advert for a new fragrance, the Layar app would scan it then could present you with a link overlaying the image, that will send you to the e-commerce site to buy it.


'Ingress'

Google

Price: Free

OS: Android, iOS

Before it made "Pokemon Go", Niantic created "Ingress".

It's a so-called massive multiplayer science fiction game that is based on location. Players can battle each other with the aim of capturing places on the map called "portals".

Crayola Color Alive

Crayola

Price: Free

OS: Android, iOS

Crayola Color Alive is the augmented reality app for kids.

Children can draw on Crayola's interactive coloring books. Once they have colored in the drawing, kids can hold the phone's camera over their creation and watch it come to life.

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