Augmented Reality for Expats in 2013

26 March 2013



Wearing a pair of augmented reality glasses and wearing computing devices for fashion may sound like something out of a sci-fi movie but it’s closer than you think! Google have released specific details about their ambitious Google Glass project aiming to have a fully refined version of the augmented reality glasses ready for release by the end of 2013! Now what’s in there for the Expats we might ask?! ExpatFinder first successfully jumped into augmented reality in 2009 when partnering with Twinity, a 3D virtual world where we used avatars as virtual guides to do pre-arrival tours of Berlin. As digital advancements become more sophisticated we can definitely expect to see more from augmented reality. Imagine what Google Glass could offer expats as they move around the world.



  • Onscreen translation support will allow you to communicate better with the locals
  • Easily navigate your way through a new city as you explore, and share your experiences through your own eyes with your friends and family back home.
  • Also think of the advantages it could offer during your move, where you would be able to make a quick survey of your belongings and their condition to create an inventory list to send to movers for quotes. Already there have been innovations to make moving simpler with the release of Moveline, a brilliant mobile app, but with augmented reality, these conveniences could be pushed to new and better limits.




Aurasma is another leading name in the augmented reality (AR) industry as it quickly became the world’s leading AR platform since it first launched in 2011. Using advanced image and pattern recognition technology, the Aurasma app (available on iPhones, iPads and Android devices), brings real world images to life with videos and animations dubbed ‘Auras’. All over the world people are getting into the augmented reality phenomenon with plenty of existing apps ready for download today, whether it is for educational value, practicality or just for fun. For example:


  • Star Walk is an amazing stargazing app, where in real-time you can identify the stars and constellations in the sky.
  • For those that love hiking and the outdoors, Theodolite is an AR app that in real-time overlays information about your position, altitude, and much more. It functions as a compass, GPS, map, camera and two-axis inclinometer.
  • If you need help translating, look up Word Lens, this app will translate printed words using your smartphone’s camera.
  • While in Japan a newspaper, Tokyo Shimbun, has developed an AR app that turns news for adults to articles for children through simplified language and animations to educate children from a young age about important social and political issues.
  • Another popular augmented reality app within Japan is Sekai Camera. The app displays tagged information layered over real world objects in the form of floating icon graphics. Looking through your phone’s camera, you will see deals, photos and information about where you are as well as being a social platform to share photos, comments and memories.


AR technology is no longer a futuristic concept, and with the increasing number of AR apps and the upcoming release of Google Glass, it won’t be long before it is all around us.