What the heck is augmented reality? Well, it's somewhere in the middle between virtual reality and boring old normal reality.

Your phone shows you the real world, using the camera, but lays robots, Pokemon, information, dinosaurs, dog ears, and ghosts on top.

What you get is reality that's just a bit more interesting than reality.

Things like the Microsoft Hololens are promising to make AR a big thing, but until then - here are seven iOS apps that can do cool augmented stuff right here, right now.

AR Showcase

AR Showcase

More like a tech demo than anything, but it actually does show how impressive AR can be in the right hands.

For this one, you'll need to get access to some "image targets", which can be found right here. Print them out or load at them onto an iPad before opening the app on a phone.

Now, point the camera at these images to make stuff come to life. In one, a dragon busts out of the screen. In another, a shoe appears. In a third, you can paint over real life.

This tech could be used to show you what a real product would look like in your house, before you buy it on the web. Or what it would be like to have a strange snot monster walking around your desk.

Clandestine: Anomaly

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This isn't related to the Anomaly Warzone games, but it does have some similarities. It's sci-fi in nature, after all, and a tower defence game at heart.

The tower defence sections actually take place on a Google Map of your nearby area. You'll play as commander, overlooking the battle.

However, if you walk to the right spot in real life you can turn the game into an augmented reality shootout. Which sounds cool.

But I'm too lazy to go anywhere so I haven't tried it. I assume it's cool. Probably.



Snapchat actually offers one of the most impressive uses of augmented reality. And you'll find them in filters.

These let you turn yourself into a dog or a raccoon or a strawberry. They swap your face with a friend, give you goofy glasses, or just make you look super hot.

It does this by finding your face (using your eyes, mouth, and loads of computational magic). It then turns it into a 3D model and applies the effects.

The most incredible thing is it can do this in real-time, which just goes to show how immensely powerful mobile phone processors are these days.

Night Terrors

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I don't play horror games at the best of times. You're not going to catch me playing one where the monsters are in my bloody bedroom. No sir.

Luckily, we've got internet hard man James Gilmour to show it to you in the video above. Watch him explore his flat, in the dark, past midnight.

It's genuinely spooky and just watching James's vid makes my heart rate rise so I'll probably skip the game itself if it's all the same to you.

Pokemon GO

Pokemon GO

Ah yes, Pokemon GO. The app that turned mid-90s dreams into mid-10s reality. Now you can really find a Geodude in your bedroom or a Growlithe in your back garden.

The game's mostly about location, but once you encounter a Pokemon you'll see the AR magic happen.

The real world will appear on screen, and a colourful critter will be romping about - ready to be captured.

It's cool, and kicked off a summer of people posting photos of Pokemon appearing in stadiums, strip clubs, funeral homes, and... well. Other places.

Just don't search for Pokemon GO porn, is all I'm saying.

SuperHero AR

Super Hero

Like with co-op, alcohol, and Shrek, any game can be improved with the addition of virtual reality.

So this simple shooting gallery game, where you nail floating robots as they buzz about your heard, isn't much cop. But having it in your living room makes it more fun.

It's based on The Avengers too so you get to take them out with Hawkeye's bow, Tony's laser palms, Black Widow's gun, or Hulk's... uhm. Hold on. Let me check.

Okay I downloaded the Hulk pack and he does a big clap to make a gust of wind go out and wreck the robots. Good one Hulk. Clever thinking.

Okay bye.

Star Walk

Star walk

Star Walk is one of those apps that makes your phone feel like a little magical box of secrets, rather than a consumer device made by Chinese children.

I mean of legal working age Chinese adults. Please don't sue us.

The app lets you point your phone at the sky and find out what that weird dot is. Is it a planet? A star? A point in a constellation? The moon?

You probably should have known that was the moon. It's pretty big.

You can also point the app towards the ground to show the stars who thought they could hide in the other hemisphere. You can't hide from me, space, I have an iPhone!!