There were more than 34,000 motor vehicle deaths in the United States in 2012. It’s a staggering number, but also one that could be curbed with AR apps like iOnRoad. Using your smartphone’s camera, the simple apps strives to help prevent collisions while providing robust navigation once situated on your car windshield or dash. The app automatically starts when your vehicle begins moving and saves your parking location once stopped, while additionally alerting you when you’re speeding, warning you when you’re crossing a solid marking line, and taking snapshots of drives that dangerously cut you off while switching lanes. Moreover, the app offers statistics covering gas consumption, routes, safety, velocity, and acceleration, providing users with a general overview of their driving habits. Plus, who doesn’t like an integrated music player and quick access to their favorite contacts?
The developers of AR Invaders have little trouble flaunting their “International Mobile Gaming Award” for the Best Real World Game, or their app’s recent inclusion as part of the iTunes Store’s New & Noteworthy section (and rightly so). The freemium app pits players in an intergalactic battle against invading alien spacecraft as part of Earth’s Resistance Forces, ushering them to shoot down incoming ships visible within their iPhone or iPad’s display. The gameplay remains the same whether fighting in 180 or 360-degree mode, with each of the game’s nine impending invasions steadily increasing in difficulty as the game goes on — i.e. the UFO size decreases as the count and speed increases. Players will unlock additional weapons as they trudge through the game’s main campaign, either solo or together via Bluetooth, while shooting down enemy combatants in real-world environments viewable through their camera lens. It may not be Dead Space, but it’s no Space Invaders either.
Sometimes obliviousness is a terrific thing, but that’s rarely the case when it comes to safety. With SpotCrime, users can gather a wealth of real-time crime information and alerts for nearly any location in the United States, United Kingdom, and selected parts of Canada. SpotCrime pinpoints your location via your smartphone’s GPS, pulling crime data from police departments, sheriff agencies, news media, and other sources. Crimes range from robberies and shootings to arrests and assaults, and the app pinpoints each occurrence with its respective icon on a map. Moreover, users can set up automated alerts and search for crimes surrounding a specific address or view them as a list accompanied with links to additional information. The app may not prevent crimes, but it will provide you with a comprehensive overview of the more dangerous avenues and times to be out and about in your neighborhood or park block. As the official SpotCrime description says, “don’t let anyone take your mojo.”
Printed brochures may have once been the go-to form of information for all things local, but apps like the AR-equipped Tagwhat will surely give them for their money if they haven’t already. The convenient mobile app taps into your smartphone’s camera and GPS sensor, pulling up-to-the-minute details regarding deals and events from nearby businesses and providing interesting facts and information about nearly any nearby landmark viewable within your camera lens. The aforementioned features are great, but it’s the app integrated social components that render it a standout in the field. Tagwhat provides one-click access to businesses’ Facebook page, Twitter stream, and Foursquare check-in, and the app additionally allows users discuss places they’ve visited via public notes, comments, and uploaded images that appear alongside various, pinned locations to which users can navigate. The interface remains so-so, but knowing the old Victorian down the street from you was used in 1978 sitcom Mork & Mindy is always a plus.
Given smartphones are more tailored for adults than adolescents, the staggering dearth of AR content for children isn’t exactly surprising. Thankfully, ColAR Mix works to bring your child’s 2D color books to life with animated images that spring directly from the Crayola-lined pages upon your kitchen table. Although the app requires printed color pages, users can download one of several free coloring packs on the ColAR Mix website, each of which encompasses everything from fire-breathing dragons and cuddly teddy bears to towering dinosaurs and wild stallions. Once drawn, users merely need to ensure the entirety of the page is viewable within their smartphone camera’s peripheral, thus allowing the image to come to life with the drawn details and accompanying music. Users can watch the animations from any angle once started, pause the content, or even zoom in and out as if viewing a real-life object — and despite being geared toward children — there’s no denying it’s a bit of fun for all ages.
What do you think of our selection of the best augmented reality apps on either Android or iOS platforms? Have a few favorites of your own? Let us know in the comments below.