The Past, Present and Future of Augmented Reality

# AugmentedReality, #AR, #TECHVED, #TimelineOfAR

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Jay Anthony

21 August 20218 min read

Insight 1

The world has exponentially developed in terms of technology. The current era is officially termed as the digital era. A lot of things that were once a mere concept are now embracing reality and changing the face of the world.

One such thing is Augmented Reality.

From a science-fiction concept to science-based reality, Augmented Reality has come a long way. Until the recent times, the cost of AR was so substantial that people could only dream of working on projects that involved the use of it. Although now the dream has evolved into reality and AR is available even on a mobile handset. This has created a wide range of options for UX designers.

Now, what is Augmented Reality? Augmented Reality in simpler terms is an enhancement of the real, physical world with the help of computer-generated graphics.

Let’s understand a few things about the past of Augmented Reality.

The Past

To some extent, Augmented Reality was first achieved in 1957 by a cinematographer, Morton Heilig. The concept was called Sensorama. It delivered visuals, sounds, vibration, and even smell to the viewer. It wasn’t computer-controlled but it was initially the first attempt to add more additional factors to an experience.

In 1975, an American computer artist named Myron Krueger developed Videoplace which was the first “virtual reality” that allowed users to manipulate and interact with virtual objects and to do so in real-time.

However, these weren’t “virtual reality” or “augmented reality” because the term “Augmented Reality” was coined in 1990 by Thomas P Caudell and the phrase “Virtual Reality” was coined in 1989 by John Lainer.

It’s ideal to say that the first-ever AR with proper functionality was the one developed by USAF Armstrong’s Research Lab in 1992 by Louis Rosenberg. It was called Virtual Fixtures. It was a highly complex robotic system that was designed to compensate for the lack of high-speed in processing power of 3D graphics in the early 90s. It helped enable the overlay of sensory information to improve human productivity in a workspace.

There were many more breakthroughs in Augmented Reality. Here are a few more: 

- ARQuake by Bruce Thomas in 2000 was an outdoor mobile AR game.

- Adobe Flash developed a design tool called ARToolkit in 2009

- An open bet version of Google Class(a project with mixed successes) was announced by Google in ‘03

- Microsoft announced HoloLens in 2015 which was an augmented reality headset in 2015. They also announce AR support in the same year.

The Present

Augmented Reality has developed prominently today. It can be achieved through a variety of technological innovations. These innovations can be implemented on their own and even in conjunction with each other to create AR.

The inclusive are:

- General Hardware Components: Processor, display, sensors and input devices. Nowadays on an initial scale, a mobile phone consists of a processor, accelerometers, a display, GPS, camera, microphone, etc. which are all the required hardware for it to be an AR device.

- Displays: A monitor is perfectly capable enough to display AR data. Although, there are other hardware systems such as optical projection systems, eyeglasses, head-mounted displays, contact lenses, heads up display (HUD), virtual retinal displays, EyeTap(captures the ray of light from the environment and substitutes them with computer-generated ones), Spatial Augmented Reality(SAR - which utilises ordinary projection techniques as a substitute for a display of any kind), and handheld displays.

- Sensors and input devices: Gyroscopes, GPS, compasses, accelerometers, RFID, touch  recognition, speech recognition, wireless sensors, eye tracking and peripherals.

- Software: The majority of development of AR will be developing the software further to take advantage of the full hardware capabilities. There is already an ARML(Augmented Reality Markup Language) which is generally used to standardize XML grammar for virtual reality. There are several SDKs(Software Development Kits) that offer simple environments for AR development.

There are applications available for and/or being researched for AR in almost every industrial sector. Some of the sectors are: 

- Archaeology

- Art and Architecture

- Commerce

- Construction, Industrial Design

- Education and Translation

- Emergency Management and Disaster Recovery

- Medical and Search and Rescue

- Games

- Sport

- Entertainment

- Tourism

- Military

- Navigation

The Future

The growth AR is showing and the potential it so clearly depicts, tells us prominently that Augmented Reality is the future. Even in terms of design, the majority of designers agree the AR is indeed the future. Consider mobile phones for a minute. They have become such an important part of our lives. This factor would allow AR to be integrated into our lives without it being intrusive. 

AR most certainly provides opportunities to enhance the user experience beyond measures. UX designers should consider the questions of how traditional experiences can be enhanced and improved further with AR.

The future most definitely belongs to AR as it shows promising improvements in work efficiency and customer experience.

Conclusion

Augmented Reality has gone from a dream to reality in over a century. A number of AR applications are in development today. However, the concept can actually take off when UX designers think about the how, where and why of integrating AR in our day-to-day life in order to improve efficiency, productivity or the quality of experiences. The potential AR has is limitless which leads to the question - How will it be unlocked?

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Concluding message

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A well-designed digital business can easily explain the process of online buying and selling for users with disabilities and can add more value to the business.

Therefore, add some mint into the users’ cup of tea and provide an accessible zest to your digital assets by making it more compliant.

Feel free to get in touch with TECHVED Consulting!

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WRITTEN BY

Jay Anthony

Marketing Head | TECHVED Consulting India Pvt. Ltd.

He led efforts to develop a fully integrated marketing communications plan and growing team. He is responsible for successful corporate re-brand and update of all branded assets.

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