Augmented Reality, and Virtual Reality were conceptualized in the early 1900s with “Precursor” technology. Precursor was an early technology that blurred the lines between the physical world and the virtual world. This later stemmed to Augmented Reality, technology that adds virtual elements to one’s real world environment, and Virtual Reality, which is technology that immerses users into a false reality. The first Precursor came in the 1930s with The Link Trainer, the first commercial flight simulator used by the US Military. This was then followed by the View-Master which debuted in the 1940s. The View-Master is a binocular-style reel viewer where users click through 3D images. The View-Master has progressed since the 1940s and is still on the market today as a Virtual Reality headset.
The 1950s and ’60s brought the first actual Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality devices. The Sensorama was the first AR device; it featured an arcade-style theater that stimulated all senses. This was then followed by the first VR head-mounted device known as The Telesphere Mask. Over the next few decades, VR and AR technologies progressed and improved to implement hand and head tracking, dual screens, hand controllers, and more to add to the user’s experience. Today, there are many different Virtual and Augmented Reality devices on the market, such as the Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, and the Microsoft Hololens that use these technologies as well as additional added features. Some of these devices require a smartphone to use, while others are standalone devices. The VR and AR markets are continuing to grow and improve regularly and are offered at a wide range in cost, allowing it to be accessible by nearly anyone.
Below is the infographic by Communications @ Syracuse: