Augmented Reality: how did it all started?

Voyage into Augmented Reality: the origin of the technology

We all live in a real world, we see things, we touch surfaces, we hear sounds and voices but, as we all know our human senses are not able to perceive all the things that surround us. That’s why, during the last decade, science has been making big efforts in order to provide us an inward eye sight on reality allowing to grasp what we can’t feel with our natural tools: contextual info, life-size 3D models placement and creating, immersive gaming experiences based on your actual surroundings and, of course, Augmented Reality.

But, what is Augmented Reality and how did it conquered nowadays’ tech battlefield?

What is AR?

Augmented Reality is defined as a composite, or augmented view of the world created by computer-generated images, in real time.

60 years of Augmented Reality

According to Meshable.com, all started with a brilliant idea of Morton Heilig, the “Father of Virtual reality” that  across ‘50 and ‘60 conducted important studies on this subject. He patented the Sensorama Stimulator, which he called an “experience theater”.

In 1968, a  computer scientist and Harvard associate professor Ivan Sutherland, along with his student Bob Sproull, invented “The Sword of Damocles.”

The first augmented reality head-mounted display system was suspended from a ceiling, and the viewer experienced computer-fed graphics.

The term “augmented reality,” was coined in 1990 by Tom Caudell, a Boeing reseracher.

In 1999, NASA started using a system based on augmented reality to overlap map data  to provide enhanced visual navigation during the flight tests.

But the first who implemented the combination between virtual graphics and real life was Hirokazu Kato. He created ARToolKit(http://www.hitl.washington.edu/artoolkit/), a software library which uses video tracking to overlap computer graphics on a video camera.


AR had an astonishing development. In a 60 years period, this technology went out the range of sci-fi and became a real tool to be used in our daily lives.

Nowadays, Google, Microsoft, Magic Leap and the most important vehicles manifacturing companies are significatively counting on the improvement and the implementation of AR features in the brief and above all in the long terms.