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Augmented reality has been popping up everywhere, and we can't get enough of it. During my daily scan across the blogosphere, these 5 augmented reality applications caught my eye and deserve a spot in the weekly "5 From the Mine" blog post. Ranging from consumer retail to the medical field, these  applications show that  augmented reality isn't just a gimmick, but a way to enhance environments we're already in with compelling virtual interactions.

AR Lungs is an application that shows the deterioration and discoloration of a smoker's lungs based on how many cigarettes they smoke a day and how long they've been smoking. SapientNitro, an interactive marketing agency, is the company responsible for the creation of the application. In order to operate this application, users need to print the AR tag from Sapient's website, access the app online, and then step in front of the webcam while holding the tag up to their lungs. SapientNitro states the AR Lungs application, "underlines SapientNitro's commitment to use AR in practical ways to benefit society and consumers."

AR Lungs

 

Zappar, augmented reality applications experts, brought t-shirt design to a new level when they teamed up with Hybrid Apparel to create an interactive augmented reality shirt. All you need to do is install the app on an iOS or Android device and point the rear facing camera towards the shirt to destroy a monster robot using lasers. Check out the "Mars Attacks" t-shirt in action below and check out more Zappar videos here.

 

Scientists from the School of Electronic Engineering at the University of London have developed an augmented reality "mirror" that processes a 3D model of the user's face. The application changes features on the user's face to make them larger or smaller. The scientists see this "mirror" application being implemented as a visual aid for plastic surgery to see what a patient will look like post-op. Check out the app in action below.

 

Another practical use of augmented reality is in home decor. Watch as the walls move and transform to the human touch.

 

Finally, the one that we love the most (IdentityMine specializes in retail applications) is the Hybrid Fitting System from Toshiba TEC that was showcased at the Retail Expo in Tokyo. This clothing retail app uses a gesture-based system, much like the Kinect, that allows consumers to swipe through different products and outfits.  Recommendations, prices, and descriptions are displayed on the same projection that displays the outfits on the customer.

Hybrid Fitting System

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