AR timeline since 1950

Augmented reality is one of the immersive technologies we handle at Charpstar. AR does not replace the real world, it complements it by adding elements with which users can interact. It seems interesting to us to study its evolution and development potential.

Augmented reality appeared, like virtual reality, thanks to the Sensorama of and the Sword of Damocles by Ivan Sutherland in 1968. This technology allowed the user to see computer-generated images that gave the impression of being in another reality. This system is generally closer to virtual reality but is a beginning in the evolution towards augmented reality.

The next evolution took place in 1974 with the creation of Myron Krueger’s Videopace. This prototype mixed projection system and video cameras, creating an interactive environment. The Videoplace was created for an artistic purpose, to explore the space of interaction between the human and the computer.

The greatest technological advances of the 20th century have occurred in the last decades. The term augmented reality appeared following Boeing’s search for Tom Caudell in 1990. The objective this time was to accompany workers to the workshops and replace the display panels containing instructions specific to each aircraft. The device was an apparatus that could display aircraft assembly diagrams. During the decade augmented reality was used for entertainment through the theatre for Julie Martin in “Dancing in Cyberspace or during NFL games on Sportvision. The uses of augmented reality diversify rapidly after its creation. NASA also uses technology for its research during the same period.

The year 2000 marks a turning point in the development of virtual reality, with the creation of Hirokazu Kato’s ARToolKit. This tool is an open-source library for the realization of augmented reality applications. ARToolKit worked as follows, the augmented reality experiment tracking library requires a square physical marker and video tracking features to calculate the camera position and orientation. Thus the 3D models are superimposed on the real world on the physical marker. Multiple possibilities are then open to AR, which makes its first appearance in the business through advertising for BMW Mini in 2008. The following year the FLARToolKit is launched, this tool allows developers to develop augmented reality for web browsers. This software also known as Flare3D is a three-dimensional interactive graphic development framework, it has been used to create games such as Dimensional Drift, or FarmVille 2 celebrated on Facebook.

Companies such as Snapchat have participated in the development and democratization of augmented reality, and the little ghost created in 2011 has made augmented reality a key feature of the application’s functionality. Snapchat first launched the filters, which are widely used for Selfies. Then the Bitmojis appeared, this character who represents you, can be placed and evolve in different situations in augmented reality. Then there was the Snapchat Lens, the studio to create your own filters whether you are a professional in the field or a particular designer. But Snapchat does not stop there recently appeared the mini-games in augmented reality. Spectacle glasses are also a turning point in the development of application and technology. These beautifully designed sunglasses allow you to experience augmented reality all day long without taking your phone out. As you will have understood, Snapchat’s strategy is based on the potential of augmented reality. If you would like to know more about the integration of immersive technologies at Snapchat, I invite you to read this article.

While Snapchat has contributed to the democratization of augmented reality, another application that has made this technology strongly accessible to the general public is Pokémon Go, which has been very successful since its launch in 2016. The game allows you to immerse yourself in the role of Sacha, the cartoon’s hero, and to capture and fight other Pokémon and trainers. This experience has generated more than 800 million downloads.

In 2017, Apple launched the ARKit, which makes it possible to create augmented reality experiences. Technology is becoming more and more democratic, both professionally and publicly. ARKit is then available to developers and users in advertising, gaming, commerce, industry and health.

In 2019, Facebook launched its Spark AR augmented reality creation platform, this application does not stop at the filter for photographs but as a sales tool that can for example allow you to try in augmented reality sunglasses that you have seen on a photo. The same year Google also announced the integration on Maps of augmented reality through AR Visual Positioning System, globally this will allow to see through the phone arrows in augmented reality indicating the direction to follow. The launch of Google’s ARCore, a software development kit, for Android so it is possible to develop augmented reality applications, especially for Android systems. Augmented reality also appears in Google search results, you may soon see a full-size animal thanks to augmented reality, a kind of test that could soon arrive in Google’s shopping area.

From application or web product developments to medicine, art, tourism or the military, augmented reality has multiple uses and a very high potential to produce a qualitative immersive experience for users. Augmented auditory reality is also emerging with Bose. Perhaps this will lead to a complete immersive experience that will multiply our senses.We cannot say precisely what the future of augmented reality is, but we can say that it has one.

If you have found this article interesting the timeline of virtual reality may also be of interest to you and our AR solutions.

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