Augmented reality (AR) is an engaging way of combining live video with computer-generated data and visualisations. It is an area that has grabbed my attention lately, and it’s going to be a big deal.

Amazing things will happen in this space in the years to come, but what about today? Are there live applications out there already? Sure there are, although it is early days and many of these examples are alpha demos. Nevertheless, they truly shine a light on the possibilities with augmented reality. 

I have collated a bunch of videos that highlight the opportunities with augmented reality. You will be able to use AR to create real-world applications that fulfil human needs in a way that still feels ever so slightly sci-fi. You can try out a number of these AR demos from your desktop if you have a printer and webcam. 

I have to say that the possibilities for world-class mobile applications are really exciting, but the upside for brand marketers is also vast, as AR can improve on-pack promotions, point of sale, print and billboard advertising, and so on. And if you think this is all tomorrow’s world, it isn’t. Take a look at the Glasses Direct interactive video mirror, for an example of how augmented reality can play a role in helping improve your conversion rates today.

So sit back and tune into augmented reality. And have a think about what you might be able to do in this space…

Augmented ID, by Swedish mobile firm TAT 

This is a conceptual app that links face recognition software to social networking profiles. Ok, it’s a bit scary, but it’s a lot cool…

Augmented Reality Business Card

Sometimes a business card simply won’t convey enough information. Enter Skive Creative’s James Alliban. Watch his video to see his rich business card in action, and read his blog to try it out for yourself:

Layar: The Augmented Reality Browser

Developed by mobile visionaries at SPRXmobile, this is an AR browser that layers real time information over your camera display. So point your phone’s viewfinder down a street to find out information on all kinds of things, from real estate, to bars and restaurants, to historical / tourist information. We interviewed Layar co-founder Claire Boonstra earlier this week if you want the background on this app.

Layar is now available for smartphone owners in The Netherlands, which is yet another reason to move there.

Nearest New York Subway

Made by acrossair, who did something similar for the Tube, this does what it says on the tin, as this video explains all in less than a minute:

IBM’s Wimbledon app

This app was created to help Wimbledon fans figure out how to navigate around the tennis courts, to find bars, toilets, courts, etc. Included real time data feeds to help visitors avoid queues. As such, it is obviously brilliant…

SREngine for iPhone

This prototype app determines information about your surroundings via image recognition. It’s pretty far out, to say the least…

GE’s Augmented Reality demo

If you have a webcam and a printer you can try this one now. Watch this video to find out more, and then give it a whirl. It’s a crazy, scaleable 3D solar farm that you can PUT IN YOUR HANDS. Check it out…

Papervision3D Wormhole

Here’s another one you can try out. This is a demo that will turn a shape into a wormhole. It works in a 3D environment. Reminds me of Donnie Darko. Check out the video and give it a whirl…

Augmented Reality in Marketing and Sales

Yes! There are a bunch of neat applications for AR in helping to shift more product! The days of flipcharts and crappy brochures may soon be long gone. Here’s a showreel of a range of difference ways in which AR has been introduced into a sales and marketing environment:

Augmented Reality Rapid Prototyping

A walkthrough of a conceptual AR app for an offline dating app by Nathan Partington. Funnily enough this is the exact application Patricio Robles and I discussed launching last night. Nathan… get in touch!

Mmmmm, augmented reality… what’s not to like?