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Augmented Reality Developers


You might think that augmented reality is a new invention, but the first use of AR-like technology can be traced to 1969 when Ivan Sutherland, a computer scientist and Harvard University professor, along with his student Bob Sproull, invented “The Sword of Damocles.” This head-mounted display system hung from the ceiling, and the viewer saw computer-fed graphics overlaid over real scenes. During the next two decades, researchers continued to develop technology that could augment real-life scenes that a person was viewing. The phrase “augmented reality” was coined by Boeing researcher Tom Caudell in 1990. In 1992, Virtual Fixtures, the first fully immersive AR system, was developed at the Armstrong Labs at the U.S. Air Force’s Brooks Air Force Base. The Interaction Design Foundation describes Virtual Fixtures as “an incredibly complex robotic system which was designed to compensate for the lack of high-speed, 3–D graphics processing power in the early 90s. It enabled the overlay of sensory information on a workspace to improve human productivity.” Other noteworthy developments in AR include the development of an outdoor mobile AR game called ARQuake in 2000 and the creation of a design tool named ARToolkit that was included with Adobe Flash in 2009.

Advances in technology allowed AR researchers to develop a wide range of products in the 2010s, including Microsoft’s AR headset HoloLens (2010), Google’s AR smart wearable technology Glass (2012), Snapchat’s AR 3–D enhanced Lenses (2015), and the AR mobile game Pokémon Go (2016). Today, augmented reality technology is used in many industries and fields, including gaming, health care, the military, and engineering. The number of AR devices worldwide is expected to increase by 140 percent from 2018 to 2022, according to the market research firm IDC.  

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