It’s probably almost impossible for me to even attempt to write about anything else other than Pokémon Go right about now. Within the last week it has taken over the Internet, not to mention most of the world. I’ll admit, it’s pretty difficult to avoid at this point regardless of how old you are or how obsessed with catching them all you were as a kid.
While this certainly isn’t the place to talk about what I spend doing at 11pm on Sunday nights, it is a place for me to bring new, trending forms of technology into discussion. Whether you decide to use it or not, Pokemon Go utilizes augmented reality, a new technology to the app world, which is offering a glimpse of what content consumption could look like in the future.
However, augmented reality isn’t exactly the newest technology in the world. In fact, there’s some serious history behind it. Without further ado, here are six things about augmented reality that you probably didn’t know before:
1. Augmented reality was first invented in 1968 by Ivan Sutherland, who developed the first head-mounted display system, using computer-generated graphics to show users simple wireframe drawings. The first iteration of augmented reality was shown on TV during 1998, as the “1st & 10” line during an NFL game.
2. While similar to virtual reality, augmented reality is quite different. Virtual reality is based on the full immersion into a virtual, computer generated world using a pair of glasses or headset. Augmented reality is based on the addition of computer generated images overlaid on various objects within the real world (ie. Pokemon Go).
3. The first set of wearable AR glasses, made by Google Glass, first made headlines in 2014. Companies such as Epson and other startups have developed their own wearable AR glasses, with one company even manufacturing AR contact lenses. Source
4. Augmented reality can actually be used for more than just entertainment. Seabery Augmented Training’s Soldamatic application is a program that can assist in training for medical purposes, bomb disposal, engineering and others, to help professionals practice real life situations in a controlled environment. Source
5. You’ve probably used an augmented reality program before, and just didn’t realize it. With the increased popularity from smart phones, developers have created apps that use the technology for both educational and entertainment purposes. One of the first mobile apps to use augmented reality was the Wikitude AR Travel Guide, released in 2008 for the Android. This app used the phone’s GPS and camera to share on-screen information about various locations in sight. More recently, Apple’s SkyView app allowed you to seek out various constellations and points them out using augmented reality. Source
6. Pokemon GO is the biggest mobile game in U.S. history. As of July 11, it had more than 20 million unique visitors per day in the U.S. alone, with millions more worldwide. Perhaps the most interesting fact of all – Google actually teased Pokemon Go as an April fool’s joke in 2014, combining the technology of Google Maps and Pokemon together in search of the world’s best Pokemon Master. But it was all just a joke, right?
All in all, the future for augmented reality is bright. Pokemon Go has most certainly bridged the gap between real life and technology and the sky is the limit. As a technology fanatic, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for augmented reality in video games and even feature films.