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Many people have the perception that Augmented Reality (AR) is one specific phenomenon. However, if you look a little closer it quickly becomes clear that there are multiple variations – five augmented reality types in fact. All of which are being used by very different types of businesses in numerous ways.

And it’s not just those in the entertainment or gaming worlds that are uncovering genuine benefits from this innovative technology. So, let’s take a look at the Five Fun Flavors of Augmented Reality Types.

Marker-Based Augmented Reality

As the name suggests, this form of AR uses a specific ‘point’ or target – such as a poster, label, or QR code – to showcase content. Which in turn must be ‘activated’ by a mobile app and camera.

Marker-based AR is increasingly popular with Fast Moving Consumer Goods brands, who use it on their packaging. But it can just as easily be used on any print marketing materials. As it’s fun, engaging, and user-led, this type of AR is also making waves in education.

marker-based AR example

For example, an ed-tech company called Curiscope has created a marker-based AR t-shirt (the Virtuali-Tee), which demonstrates the inner workings of the human body when activated. Similarly, Quiver brings kids’ coloring book creations to life using a mobile app and 3D imagery – it’s a great example of how different on- and offline media can work together in harmony.

Location-Based Augmented Reality

Also known as ‘markerless’ and ‘geo-location’ based AR, this technology is probably the best known of the augmented reality types. If not the most used; thanks to games like Pokemon Go and Harry Potter Wizards Unite. However, while the technology again uses a mobile device and requires users to download a specific app, essentially it works very differently.

GPS, Not Only for Finding Your Way

Instead of using physical markers as an activation point, location-based AR uses a device’s GPS recognition system. Therefore, permitting to display in-app content at specific coordinates. So, it’s no surprise then that this form of AR is ideal for travel and tourism businesses; as it’s possible to overlay situational information about a given area.

location-based AR example

For example, City Guide Tour, offers a series of AR apps designed to help those visiting new places get more from their visit. The additional layer not only provides sightseeing information. Also, it’s an ideal way to help visitors find nearby cafes, restaurants, and other services – in unfamiliar surroundings.

Superimposition Augmented Reality

This augmented reality type essentially allows users to view a physical object with an additional digital layer. As per its name, this technology superimposes – either partially or completely – visual media onto a different surface, offering an alternate view.

A common use case is in medicine, where doctors can overlay x-rays taken of a patient’s anatomy directly onto their body. In this way, it’s easier to make more accurate assessments of how to, for example, set a broken bone or analyze what effect treatment will have.

Furthermore, this augmented reality type is commonly used in training and tasks assistance. As it can give great guidance on the stop. It is also found a lot in commerce for it’s try-before-you-buy agility.

Outlining Augmented Reality

Similar to superimposition AR, outlining augmented reality shows us a real life scenario. But displays auxiliary information to enhance or improve the experience – by tracking an object and constantly reorienting it in real-time.

A common use of outlining AR is to heighten awareness in a potentially hazardous situation – such as highlighting road markings when driving a car in low light or foggy conditions.

As more vehicles incorporate new tech features to prioritize safety – like dashboard cameras and displays – used correctly, outlining AR could not only enhance driver awareness, it could help pave the way for autonomous vehicles.

Projection-Based Augmented Reality

Looking for some real sci-fi style effects? This form of AR is the most advanced out there. It’s essentially what we’d otherwise categorized as a ‘hologram’. Even though it requires an actual physical object to literally project an additional layer onto.

Although it mimics the way in which superimposition AR works, no screen or mobile device needed by the user in order to experience the enhanced object view.


The use cases here are limitless. A product design company might want to road test a new look for an existing item, without changing the overall physical design. Using projection-based AR they can try out a number of different colors and visuals – by overlaying them in a way that looks (and feels) real.

There’s a Type for Everyone

Needless to say, whatever sector your company operates in, however your sales and marketing efforts work, if you’re considering new ways to engage, enchant, delight, and demonstrate what your business does, there’s bound to be one of the 5 augmented reality types that’s the right solution for you.

Hopefully, this brief insight sets out your options and helps stimulate awareness of exactly what’s possible from this popular, burgeoning technology.

Still not clear on how you can use augmented reality to boost your brand’s marketing?

Contact my team today!

2 Responses to 5 Augmented Reality Types

  1. Great content! Super high-quality! Keep it up! 🙂

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