1901 — First recorded reference to AR was made by the author of The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum. He describes a gift called the ‘Character Marker’ in the novel The Master Key.
1952 — Cinematographer, Morton Heilig, starts creating the world’s first virtual reality (VR) machine which was called the Sensorama Machine.
1962 — Morton Heilig, patents the Sensorama Machine.
1968 — Ivan Sutherland creates first head-mounted display system and its given the nickname ‘The Sword of Damocles’ due to its weight.
1974 — Computer Artist and Researcher, Myron Krueger, builds Videoplace an ‘artificial reality’ lab that surrounds users in an interactive environment
1982 — Software Engineer, Dan Reitan and his team create RADAR the first interactive AR system shown on TV, creating video images for weather stations.
1990 — Boeing Researcher, Tom Caudell, coins the term ‘augmented reality’ to describe the merging of virtual graphics onto a physical display
1992 — Louis Rosenberg develops one of the earliest and the first fully immersive AR systems for the AR Force. It was called Virtual Fixtures.
1993 — KARMA, a system which used knowledge-based AR, is introduced by AR expert, Steve Feiner and a team of Columbia University students. It was used to provide instructions for repair and maintenance procedures. Fitzmaurice creates the first example of handheld AR.
1994 — The first AR theatre production is produced by Julie Martin and is called ‘Dancing in Cyberspace’.
1996 — CyberCode was created, the first AR system using 2D markers. CyberCode would become the model for future marker-based AR systems.
1997 — Canon Inc. and the Japanese government jointly fund the largest industrial research facility for mixed reality research. It is called the Mixed Reality Systems Laboratory. Columbia University develops the first outdoor AR system — The Touring Machine.
1998 — NFL debuts AR during a live game, created by Sportvision. AR is used to cast a virtual yellow first down marker.
1999 — Nasa uses AR. NASA’s x-38 was flown utilising a special AR dashboard for navigation purposes. Steve Mann aka ‘The father of wearable computing’ creates EyeTap. A device that worked as both a camera and a computer display.
2000 — The ARToolKit, the world’s first open-source software library, is created by Hirokazu Kato. The world’s first outdoor AR game, ARQuake, is launched.
2001 — The Mixed Reality Systems Laboratory closes
2003 — Wagner and Schmalstieg present the first handheld AR system on a ‘personal digital assistant’. This leads the way for AR on smart devices
Augmented reality has the power to change and impact so many areas of our lives. It has come a long way since the ‘The Sword of Damocles’ and the possibility of what is to come, seems pretty endless.