Augmented reality in your pocket

ikea app augmented reality furniture

Virtual reality was going to take over the world. But strapping on a headset to look at games or 360-degree videos hasn't been the hit many had hoped. In 2018, a lot of that same technology could finally go mainstream using a gadget you already own: your smartphone.

Augmented reality overlays digital images onto the real word, as seen through your phone's camera. Smartphones are including powerful AR technology in their devices so anyone with a fast enough device can try it out. For example, with Apple's ARKit, iOS apps can map out a room and use realistic, changing lighting to make their objects better blend in with a scene.

We're still waiting for the big break-out app, but AR could continue to change shopping and selfies in the next year. No bulky face-computer needed.

First published January 22, 2018: 1:11 PM ET