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Augmented reality apps create a hybrid between the real world and virtual reality. These apps work by taking pictures of the real world and superimposing computer generated images onto them. Programmers can create these programs to serve a variety of purposes for computers, smart phones, and tablet devices.
Augmented reality apps take pictures of the real world around a user through his or her device's camera. Programmers can design these apps to either generate a set image in a set part of the photograph, or to use a combination of GPS data and an analysis of the image itself to generate particular images in specific locations. This functionality is useful in fields ranging from product marketing to making games with the gamer's surroundings as a backdrop.
Marketers can use augmented reality apps to create innovative advertising campaigns. Such applications can make characters from movies or particular products appear on the street or furniture in the device's field of vision. Programmers can also use augmented reality apps in guerilla marketing campaigns. The apps typically start off imposing sparse and cryptic images on the world around the device, and the user will not be entirely sure of what is being advertised. The goal of the ambiguous imagery is to spark the user's curiosity in what is being advertised, and the app will begin displaying more definitive imagery of the product as its release date approaches.
Entertainment and sporting venues can use augmented reality apps to enhance a visitor's experience. For example, such programs can display information about an amusement park ride when the user points his or her mobile device at it, or tell a golfer the distance to a particular hole from his or her present location. Businesses using these apps can also incorporate marketing information into these informational apps, such as displaying concession stands or restaurants that are close to the user. Similar applications can also display information about city streets, such as information and reviews about any business at which the user points his or her mobile device.
Programmers can also use augmented reality apps to create games that take place around the gamer. These can take a number of forms, such as tank battles that take place in a parking lot, air combat games in the sky immediately over the user, or first-person shooters in which the bad guys hide behind objects in the room. Augmented reality games can also simulate sports equipment, like a hockey goal or basketball net, in which the user tries to score points. Users playing these augmented reality games can simply turn their phones to see what is happening, in the game, in a particular location or to engage in virtual play.