The Top Augmented Reality Apps for the iPad

Combining a camera with digital processing to overlay graphics or information on the image, Augmented Reality sounds like something out of a science fiction movie. Unfortunately, Augmented Reality is a technology ahead of its time, so we are only seeing it in its infancy. At the very least, the iPad gives us a sneak peek at things to come, and while we aren't yet at the point where we can use our hands to search a database like Tom Cruise in Minority Report, we can at least trap ghosts in our living room.

Star Chart

One of the first augmented reality apps for the iPad, but easily the best, Star Chart gives you an encyclopedia of space that can be accessed simply by pointing your iPad up at the night sky. You can find out about constellations, get the name of a star or planet by simply tapping it on the screen and even explore Mars.


Who needs to wad up a piece of a paper and position a trash can in order to play a little office basketball? ARBasketball requires a marker play, which is a piece of a paper your print out (for free) in order to mark the position of the basket. Once you've done this, you can use your iPad to play a little improve basketball or perhaps challenge a friend to a virtual game of HORSE.

Ghostbusters Paranormal Blast

Ghostbusters Paranormal Blast

Have you ever thought your house might be haunted? Now you can do something about it. Ghostbusters Paranormal Blast is one of the top augmented reality games to hit the iPad, letting you choose missions from a Google Maps-like interface and then tackling the mission in augmented reality, which lets you search out and capture ghosts in your living room, bedroom and even in the shower.


Proving augmented reality isn't just for fun and games, Spyglass gives you a virtual compass that can be overlaid on a satellite map, which gives you a much better idea of where you are at. The augmented reality feature lets you tag and track locations and even track the position of the sun, moon, and stars.

Spider-Man AR Book HD

Spider-Man AR Book HD

Have you ever wanted to become part of Peter Parker's story? The Spider-Man AR Book puts you in the action, allowing you to put on your own Spider-Man mask, collect virtual spiders and experience Spidey Sense first hand. Designed with children in mind, the app has a variety of stories and mini-games to keep a budding superhero entertained.

Real Strike

Real Strike gives you a simulated gun, so you can run around as if you were inside of a first-person shooter. The arsenal includes 25 different weapons and the game comes with a flashlight mode and a thermal mode, so you can take out targets in the dark. Not to be confused with a real game, this app is a simulator, so don't expect to mow down some bad guys. One neat feature is the ability to record video of the action.