NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has built a 3-D iOS app using augmented reality that animates its robotic spacecraft.

The Spacecraft 3D app uses the Apple device’s camera to overlay information on the device’s main screen, guiding users to print an augmented reality target onto a sheet of paper. Users can point their device at the paper and select a spacecraft which will project onto the paper.

Kevin Hussey, manager of visualization technology at JPL. explains: “Let’s say you want to get an idea what our Curiosity Mars rover is all about. Like Hollywood directors sizing up their next shot, you move your camera-equipped iPad or iPhone in and out, up and down and the spacecraft perspective moves with you. It is a great way to study the 3-D nature of NASA spacecraft.”
Users can take augmented-reality pictures of the Grail spacecraft and add photos of themselves to the image.