The evolution of Augmented Reality

In this post I would like to take a look backward and talk about how Augmented Reality began. Nowadays a lot of people know what is Augmented reality but, do they know how it was born?

      Although Virtual Reality is much older than the 1980s or 1970s, older or nearly as old as the entire computer graphics field itself (in fact in 1956, Morton Heilig began designing the first multisensory virtual experiences), it wasn´t until late 1960s when it is considered as the beginnings. In 1968, Ivan Sutherland, an American computer scientist and Internet pioneer,and with the help of his student Bob Sproull, created the first virtual reality and augmented reality head-mounted display system, which was named The Sword of Damocles. This system used an optical see-through head-mounted display that was tracked by one of two different 6DOF trackers: a mechanical tracker and an ultrasonic tracker. Due to the limited processing power of computers at that time, only very simple wireframe drawings could be displayed in real time. So we can state that the field we now know as virtual reality (promoter of Augmented Reality), a highly multidisciplinary field of computing, emerged from research on three-dimensional interactive graphics and vehicle simulation in the 1960s and 1970s.

      The term “augmented reality” was coined in 1992 to refer to overlaying computer-presented material on top of the real world. Tom Caudell and David Mizell discussed the advantages of Augmented Reality versus Virtual Reality such as requiring less processing power since less pixels had to be rendered.

      From earliest 1990s to present, there have been a lot of new advances and significant improvements in the augmented reality field, not only for desktop solutions but also for mobile devices. Here we will show a short list that shows some of these advances:

-   In 1993, Loomis et al. developed a prototype of an outdoor navigation system for visually impaired.

-   In 1994, Paul Milgram and Fumio Kishino wrote their seminal paper “Taxonomy of Mixed Reality Visual Displays” in which they defined the Reality-Virtuality Continuum. P. Milgram and F. Kishino, “Taxonomy of Mixed Reality Visual Displays”, IEICE Transactions on Information and Systems, 1994, pp. 1321-1329.

-  In 1995, Jun Rekimoto and Katashi Nagao created the NaviCam, a system that had a camera mounted on the mobile screen that was used for optical tracking. The system displayed some information according to the input that received from the camera image. In this projects color-coded markers were used.

-   2D markers appeared in 1996. Jun Rekimoto introduced these markers based system which allowed camera tracking with 6DOF. Rekimoto, J. (1996). Augmented Reality Using the 2D Matrix Code. In Proceedings of the Workshop on Interactive Systems and Software (WISS’96).

-    In 1997, Ronald T. Azuma’s “A Survey of Augmented Reality” examined the varied uses of augmented reality such as medical, manufacturing, research, mechanical operation and entertainment. Since then any Augmented Reality system has to be identified by three main characteristics:

      1. it combines real and virtual world
      2. it is interactive in real time
      3. it is registered in 3D.

-   In 1999, Hirokazu Kato and Mark Billinghurst presented ARToolKit, a pose tracking library with six degrees of freedom, using square fiducials and a template-based approach for recognition. Since it is an open source library (under the GPL License) it has been, and still is, a very popular Augmented Reality library in the AR community.

-   In late 1999, the first mobile with GPS integrated was released, the Benefon Esc! NT2002 

-   From 2000 and 2004 a lot projects including GPS devices, wireless or LAN PCs communication or even camera processing were developed for research. Amongst these projects we can include RWWW Browser, which can be considered as the first AR Browser.

-   From early 2004, Augmented Reality has experienced the evolution of a lot of promising computer vision algorithms which allow  users, with the integration of powerful 3D render engines, to experience better this Augmented World. For example, markerless image tracking or PTAM techniques are some of these advances. Furthermore, the capabilities of new devices in last years have contributed to the spreading of Augmented Reality, not only in research but also for development and commercial purposes. The progression of AR and MAR has been amazing but it is not the goal of this entry, in which I just wanted to talk a little about the pioneers in the field.

I would like to thank the author of this summarize about the most important milestones in Augmented Reality. The link to this source can be found below.


Do not forget to check out our AR Browser and Image Matching SDKs.

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Posted on: 5 Comments

5 Responses

  1. Mackenzie says:

    You forgot this:

    2012 – Grinbath combines Eye Tracking with AR to create EG.

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  4. shubham says:

    Pokemon Go is just the beginning of rise of Augmented Reality…..

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