PAR Works MARS app: Augmented reality guide for those who’ve given up on life

For many people, shopping, learning a new gadget, or exploring a new town can all be overwhelming things. Sometimes there are too many varieties of shampoos in a drugstore, or you don’t know which buttons navigate what on a new remote. You also don’t want to bother with manuals or flagging down shop owners for advice.

If the above instances sound like you, congratulations, you’ve given up on life. Just kidding (kind of). We know sometimes there are just too many options in the world, so PAR Works’ MARS app aims to help parse information overload with its latest augmented reality app. The free app simply takes a photo of anything you wish to identify, parse, or learn more about and can detect more information about it. For example, if you took a photo of someone’s shoes, it may recognize the brand and style – linking you to Amazon reviews, more color options, or Zappos for direct purchase. You can also take a photo of an aisle of grocery and locate where the items on your shopping list are specifically placed, or sort the results by price, review, or brand.

Par Works MARS app

The data can be manually embedded by anyone, from retailers inserting information about their products to individuals adding instructions to how to preheat an oven. The app detects data in 3D from any angle of a photo; all it needs is Internet connection to recognize and sync photos to more info. If no data can be found, the user is prompted to take different angles of the product and add information about it so it can be stored in the database for future use.

“Let’s say, if you wanted to take a photo of your new car, or if you were Honda and you wanted to deliver a virtual manual to the users, you could have a Honda app where all somebody has to do is take a picture of their dashboard and they can see all of the buttons outlined in the photograph,” PAR Works co-founder and chief software architect Jules White explains. “Users can interact with the photos to find out what each button does before they use them.”

But the features extend before tutorials and information finder. With augmented reality, MARS can also plot out future developments, such as a construction site and the rendering of the finished product. Local businesses can embed coupons on their storefront for visitors who snap a photo of their shop. Basically, the app – a finalist for SXSW 2013 Interactive Award – makes life easier so you can spend less time figuring things out and more time enjoying them. Just don’t get too dependent on it before your phone’s battery runs out.

PAR Works’ MARS app is available for free on iOS and Android.

Get our Top Stories delivered to your inbox: