The global AR market is expected to grow to $94.4 billion by 2023.
Scientist Charles Wheatstone discovers the principle of stereoscopic vision – that the brain processes two different images from each eye to create what we understand as three-dimensional sight. His research lead to the creation of the stereoscope, considered the first tool that enabled a ‘virtual reality.’
Introduced at the World’s Fair, the View-Master was a commercial stereoscope used for ‘virtual tourism.’ Users could view 3-D, full-color photographs of popular travel destinations on the special reels used in the device.
Headsight, developed by engineers at Philco, was a helmet-like invention capable of tracking a user’s head movements in real time. Positional tracking is a key feature of AR design and implementation today.
Morton Heilig builds a prototype of the Sensorama: a photo-booth sized machine that creates a multi-sensory theater experience for the user. The Sensorama – essentially an early iteration of 4D film –
used a stereoscopic color display, fans, odor emitters, stereo-sound, and a motional chair to immerse its audience of one.
Ivan Sutherland develops The Sword of Damocles, the first head-mounted virtual display system. Because of its weight, the invention was suspended by a mechanical arm above the user. When worn, the device utilized head tracking technology and a stereoscopic display to overlay the user’s field of vision with simple computer-generated graphics.
Videoplace, an artificial reality lab, is established by Myron Kreuger. It allowed two individuals in separate rooms to interact with one another in an artificial setting. Cameras captured a user’s motions, which was then displayed as a monochrome silhouette via projectors to the other user. What was especially revolutionary was the lack of motion-tracking goggles or gloves, previously essential pieces to pioneering AR & VR systems.
Tom Caudell develops the term ‘augmented reality’ while creating diagram instructions as a researcher at Boeing. Only 3 years prior, the phrase ‘virtual reality’ had been coined by Jaron Lanier, a computer scientist, writer, and founder of VPL Research, one of the first companies to sell VR products.
Nintendo ships the Virtual Boy, the first home console system capable of displaying 3D stereoscopic graphics. Larger-scale VR cabinet games were already quite popular when the Virtual Boy hit storefronts.
The NASA x-38 spacecraft is flown with the Hybrid Synthetic Vision system, which overlaid map data on video. This provided improved navigation capabilities for the pilots, even in moments of limited visibility.
ARToolKit is launched by Hirokazu Kato. This software uses video tracking to overlay virtual objects on a camera feed – and was crucial the growth of AR in the 2000s. In 2009, ARTooKit brought augmented reality into web browsers via an open-source platform and continues to be an important resource to developers.
Smartphones are used to detect AR markers – four years before Apple was set to release the first-generation iPhone. Currently, most modern AR applications rely on the processing power of smartphones to deliver their enhanced experiences.
BMW Mini debuts the first commercial application of augmented reality. Several examples follow in the years to come, including Esquire magazine in 2009; National Geographic in 2011; and Coca-Cola in 2013. Though previously not considered scalable, the investment needed to deploy AR today is considerably lower than these initial groundbreaking efforts.
Google debuts Google Glass, marking the start of consumer-friendly and wearable AR devices. Magic Leap announces a $50 million investment in augmented reality – the largest up until this point.
Investments in virtual and augmented reality reach $1.1 billion. Pokemon GO is released by Nintendo; Snapchat releases the Spectacles; Microsoft releases the HoloLens.
InnovatAR is born. Unlike predecessors, InnovatAR products don’t require any app downloads or custom hardware, thereby bringing AR to the masses through user-friendly, engaging experiences