The history (and future) of augmented reality

To many augmented reality (AR) is a recent phenomenon which came into the public consciousness through the Pokémon Go game launched on mobile in 2016 (see a previous Arm blog from when this gaming craze reached its peak!). However, the truth is that AR is actually 50 years old this year, with the first AR concepts being built in the 60s and 70s. In this blog, I will take you through the plotted and varied history of AR, while attempting to show the current landscape of the technology and where it is heading in the future.

The beginnings of AR

The first head mounted display system for AR was created by Ivan Sutherland in 1968 – nearly 50 years to the day. Here’s a very short video below showing it in action. As you can see, it wasn’t the most user-friendly – in fact it looks very uncomfortable to wear – but it was an interesting first development in AR and VR.