We were told there’d be 3D GIFS


Augmented Reality, Reviewed

With the release of Apple’s ARKit, the bonds of this reality have been loosened and augmented realities are on the rise. What is an augmented reality, you ask? Augmented reality technology, or “AR,” uses real-world places and objects to map a digital layer that lives on your device. The digital layer can then be outfitted with objects and viewed through a camera lens.

The first big news in AR came with the release of Pokemon GO in 2016. Though this app did create an alternate digital world over our own, its AR features didn’t utilize 3D mapping to its potential. Currently, we’re seeing many more apps released with much more advanced AR features thanks to new software. This is still only the infancy of this innovative tech and many of the current applications are novelties. Regardless, here are some of our favorites...


Mirage is billed as an AR social network: one part Snapchat, one part AR, and one part treasure hunt. It was not built using ARKit, but it does a pretty good job. One must first take a photo of the area they would like to add a “mirage” to, then they are given a selection of objects to add to that location. These mirages last for 24 hours and are tied to the location recorded by your phone’s location services. During the time they are active, other users will be able to see your AR art when they point their phones at your mirage. If it gets an upvote, it might prolong its life span.


IKEA Place

Measuring wall space and furniture dimensions is so 2016, if you’re shopping for IKEA furniture, that is. The Swedish retailer debuted an AR-based layout app in September and we’ve been enjoying our holographic bookshelves since. The app lets you map your room using your phone’s camera, then place pieces from IKEA’s catalog in the digital space. The Internet at large has been placing plenty of digital IKEA furniture on busy street corners, but, in our experience it works just as well for its intended purpose. Here are some shots of our office filled with stools...



If you haven’t wasted time searching Giphy for the perfect GIF, you should consider doing that before trying out any of these AR apps. If you have, you may appreciate the GIPHY World app. This app allows you to bring 2D GIFs into a 3D digital space through your phone’s camera. There are plenty of silly little doodads to choose from, but we were a little disappointed that none of the GIFs were rendered in 3D.

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Want to know what your living area would look like as a floor plan without having to draw? Magicplan harnesses the power of AR to do just that. All you have to do is place digital markers in each corner of the room you’d like to plot. Add doors, additional rooms, and, in the paid version, even create a 3-dimensional model with furniture. Magicplan is ideal for interior designers and hobbyists alike, and the interface is relatively easy to use. It only took us a few minutes to create a floor plan of our office.

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augmentation on the rise

AR apps are great, but right now they’re still working towards what we want them to be. Smoother interfaces, better ways of manipulating digital objects, and easier ways to navigate different augmented realities would be good near-term improvements. In the long-term, we might all be wearing implants that make augmented realities increasingly indistinguishable from what we experience with our eyes and more integral to our society. For now, hands-on learning with apps like these can help push the creative potentials of AR and hopefully bring you some laughs along the way.