Infographic: The history of augmented and virtual reality

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It wasn’t really until the mid-20th century that augmented and virtual reality capabilities took off.

Virtual reality and augmented reality technologies seem to stand as a testament to the power of modern computing power. The hype around recent advancements may be new, but the ideas behind augmented and virtual reality are anything but. Did you know that one of the first, simple iterations of VR was developed even before the American Civil War? Or that Thomas Edison himself had a hand in the creation of these technologies far ahead of its time?

In the early years of entertainment tech development, creativity was king. Relying on methods of optical illusions, viewers were able to experience other worlds, both real and imaginative, but on very simple terms. Still, the science behind manipulating the eye and vision perception laid the groundwork for the following years of technology.

It wasn’t really until the mid-20th century that AR/VR capabilities took off. Developments of devices for use in the US government and army sprang up; the 1961 Headsight is a good example of this influence. Developed by Philco Corporation engineers, this was the first ever motion-tracking HMD and was designed to allow remote viewing of dangerous situations for the US military. Later in 1977, VR took a turn to include more than just what we can see and hear, but also what we can feel. The Sayre Glove, created by University of Illinois scientists was the first wired glove, turning finger movement into electrical signals and was a precursor to devices like the Power Glove.

The history of VR goes back further than the release of the Oculus Rift, and understanding where we came from is the first step to predicting where we will go in the future. This infographic details the amazing history and development of augmented and virtual reality technologies, how they have influenced our modern tech, and where we can expect the future of AR/VR to take us.

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