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Table of contents
1.
Introduction 
2.
Birth of Virtual Reality  
2.1.
Early Attempts at Virtual Reality 
2.1.1.
Panoramic Painting 
2.2.
1838 - Stereoscopic Photos and viewers 
2.3.
1929- Link Trainer The first Flight Stimulator 
2.4.
The 1950s- Morton Heilig's Sensorama 
2.5.
1960 – The first VR Head Mounted Display
2.6.
1961 Headsight – First motion tracking HMD
2.7.
1966 – Furness' Flight Sim
2.8.
1968 – Sword of Damocles
2.9.
1969 – Artificial Reality
2.10.
1972 – GE Builds a Digital Flight Sim
2.11.
1975 – Krueger's VIDEO PLACE
2.12.
1977 – The MIT Movie Map
2.13.
1979 – The McDonnel-Douglas HMD
2.14.
1982 – Sayre Gloves 
2.15.
1985 – VPL Research is Founded 
2.16.
1986 – Furness Invents the Super Cockpit
2.17.
1987 – Virtual reality the name was born
2.18.
1991 – Virtuality Group Arcade Machines
2.19.
1991 – Medina's VR Mars Rover
2.20.
1992 – The Lawnmower Man
2.21.
1993 – SEGA announced new VR glasses
2.22.
1994 – The Sega VR-1
2.23.
1995 – Nintendo Virtual Boy
2.24.
1997 – Landmark VR PTSD Treatment
2.25.
1999 – The Matrix
2.26.
2007 – Google Brings Us Street View
2.27.
2010 – Street View Goes 3D and the Oculus is Prototyped
2.28.
2012 – The Oculus Kickstarter
2.29.
2014 – Facebook Buys Oculus and Sony Announced their VR Project
2.30.
2016–2017 – All Hell Breaks Loose
2.31.
2018 – Standalone VR Rises, Mobile VR Dies
2.32.
2019 – VR is Shifting Rapidly
3.
Birth of Augmented Reality   
4.
Sensorma 
4.1.
Development 
5.
The Sword of Damocles(Virtual Reality) 
5.1.
Features 
5.2.
Development 
6.
Frequently Asked Questions
6.1.
How Does Virtual Reality Work?
6.2.
Is VR/AR Just a Fad?
6.3.
What are the challenges for AR/VR?
6.4.
Is Virtual Reality Worth The Investment?
7.
Conclusion 
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

The birth of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

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Speaker
Ashwin Goyal
Product Manager @

Introduction 

This article will study the birth of augmented reality and virtual reality and then discuss in detail the Sensorma and the Sword of Damocles. In fact, before studying birth, let's first discuss Augmented and virtual reality.

Augmented Reality: Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that enables users to overlay information, movies, and images on top of reality using smart devices. As a result, this technology enhances the actual world by providing more data. The IKEA Place app, L'Oréal Makeup app, Pokémon Go, and many other AR apps are among the most popular.

Virtual Reality: Virtual reality (VR) is a computer-generated virtual world where a person is immersed in a digital environment. Virtual reality discussions, Volvo test drive reality, The North Face hiking experience in Yosemite National Park, and a plethora of VR games are just a few examples.

Birth of Virtual Reality  

Early Attempts at Virtual Reality 

Panoramic Painting 

If we narrow the scope of virtual reality to generating the illusion that we are present somewhere we are not, the oldest effort at virtual reality is almost certainly the nineteenth-century 360-degree murals (or panorama paintings). These paintings were created to take up the full field of vision of the viewer, making them feel as if they were present at a historical event or scenario.

Source

1838 - Stereoscopic Photos and viewers 

Charles Wheatstone's research in 1838 proved that the brain combines the two-dimensional images from each eye into a single three-dimensional object. Using a stereoscope to view two side-by-side stereoscopic images or photos provided the user with a sensation of depth and immersion. The iconic View-Master stereoscope (patented 1939) was later developed for "virtual tourism." The Stereoscope's design concepts are now utilized in the popular Google Cardboard and low-cost VR helmet-mounted displays for mobile phones. 

1929- Link Trainer The first Flight Stimulator 

Edward Link invented the "Link trainer" (patented 1931), arguably the first commercially available electromechanical flight simulator. Motors connected to the rudder and steering column were used to change the pitch and roll. Turbulence and disturbances were simulated using a small motor-driven device. The US military purchased six of these devices for $3500 because they desperately needed safer ways to train pilots. In 2015, this was barely under $50,000. During WWII, over 500,000 pilots used over 10,000 "blue box" Link Trainers for basic training and skill improvement.

Source 

The 1950s- Morton Heilig's Sensorama 

Morton Heilig, a cinematographer, created the Sensorama (patented 1962), an arcade-style theatre cabinet that stimulated all of the senses, not just sight and sound, in the mid-1950s. The amenities included stereo speakers, a stereoscopic 3D display, fans, fragrance generators, and a vibrating chair. The Sensorama was designed to completely immerse the viewer in the movie. He also made six short films for his innovation, all of which he shot, produced, and edited himself. Motorcycle, Belly Dancer, Dune Buggy, Helicopter, A Date with Sabina, and I'm a Coca-Cola Bottle were the titles of the Sensorama flicks. 

Source: Wiki

1960 – The first VR Head Mounted Display

The Telesphere Mask (patented 1960) was Morton Heilig's next innovation, and it was the first head-mounted display (HMD), however, it was for a non-interactive film medium with no motion tracking. The headgear combined stereo sound with stereoscopic 3D and broad vision.

1961 Headsight – First motion tracking HMD

Two Philco Corporation engineers (Comeau & Bryan) created the Headsight, the earliest ancestor to the HMD as we know it today, in 1961. It had a TV screen for each eye and a magnetic motion tracking device connected to a closed-circuit camera. The Headsight was designed for immersive remote observation of dangerous circumstances by the military, not for virtual reality applications (the phrase didn't exist at the time). A remote camera would follow the user's head motions, allowing them to gaze around organically. Headsight was the first step toward a virtual reality helmet-mounted display, but it lacked computer and picture creation integration.

1966 – Furness' Flight Sim

Thomas Furness, a military engineer, is credited with kicking off the creation of contemporary flight simulator technology. His work in Human Interface Technology, which he is sometimes referred to as "the grandfather of VR," continues to inform VR technology today.

1968 – Sword of Damocles

The first VR / AR helmet-mounted display (Sword of Damocles) was invented in 1968 by Ivan Sutherland and his student Bob Sproull, and it was connected to a computer rather than a camera. It was a colossal, terrifying-looking device dangling from the ceiling, too heavy for any person to wear (hence its name) safely. In addition, the person would have to be secured into the apparatus. The computer visuals were made up of extremely basic wireframe rooms and objects.

source

1969 – Artificial Reality

In 1969, virtual reality computer artist Myron Krueger created a series of "artificial reality" experiences in which he made computer-generated settings that responded to the people in them. GLOW FLOW, METAPLAY, and PSYCHIC SPACE were research efforts that led to the invention of VIDEO PLACE technology. Despite being miles distant, this technology allowed individuals to converse in a dynamic computer-generated world.

1972 – GE Builds a Digital Flight Sim

A "computerized" flight simulator from General Electric features three displays grouped in a 180-degree orientation. The displays encircle the virtual training cockpit, giving learner pilots a complete immersion experience.

1975 – Krueger's VIDEO PLACE

The video place is commonly considered the world's first interactive virtual reality system. It could measure user location using a combination of CG, light projection, cameras, and displays. It was more like an AR projection in current terminology and didn't require any gear.

1977 – The MIT Movie Map

MIT creates the Aspen Movie Map. This device allowed users to take a virtual tour of Aspen, Colorado. It was almost as if it were a forerunner to Google Street View. To provide the idea of traveling around the city, they used footage shot from a moving automobile. This time, there was no HMD in the mix.

1979 – The McDonnel-Douglas HMD

Outside of the lab, the VITAL helmet is most likely the first real example of a VR HMD. Pilots might glance at crude computer-generated graphics using a head tracker.

1982 – Sayre Gloves 

Daniel Sandin and Thomas DeFanti designed "Sayre" gloves, finger-tracking gloves for virtual reality. Optical sensors were utilized to detect finger movement in the gloves attached to a computer system. This was a forerunner to the "data gloves" that would become a key component of early VR.

1985 – VPL Research is Founded 

VPL Research was founded by VR pioneers Jaron Lanier and Thomas Zimmerman. This is the first virtual reality startup to sell both headsets and gloves. Their DataGlove product gave rise to the phrase "data glove."

1986 – Furness Invents the Super Cockpit

Tom Furness was the Air Force's "super cockpit" project director. It was a training simulator for pilots that combined CG visuals and real-time interactivity. Surprisingly, the Super Cockpit included movement monitoring and airplane control integration.

1987 – Virtual reality the name was born

Even after all this progress in virtual reality, there remained no comprehensive phrase to define the discipline. All of that changed in 1987, when Jaron Lanier, the creator of the visual programming lab (VPL), created (or popularized, depending on whom you ask) the phrase "virtual reality." The study area had been given a name. Jaron produced a variety of virtual reality gear through his firm VPL research, including the Dataglove (together with Tom Zimmerman) and the EyePhone helmet-mounted display. They were the first to market Virtual Reality goggles ($9400 for the EyePhone 1; $49,000 for the EyePhone HRX) and gloves ($9000). A significant advancement in the field of virtual reality haptics.

1991 – Virtuality Group Arcade Machines

We started to see virtual reality equipment that the general public could use while owning cutting-edge virtual reality was still out of reach for most people. The Virtuality Group released several arcade games and equipment. Players would use virtual reality goggles and play on gaming computers with real-time immersive stereoscopic 3D images (less than 50ms latency). Some of the machines were also connected to create a multi-player gaming environment.

1991 – Medina's VR Mars Rover

We're used to seeing live feed from Mars rovers these days. This was still a distant fantasy in 1991, and there were numerous issues to be resolved. Antonio Medina, a NASA engineer, creates a virtual reality system that allows you to control a Mars rover while accounting for the time difference. "Computer Simulated Teleoperation" is the name of the system.

1992 – The Lawnmower Man

The Lawnmower Man was the first film to expose virtual reality to a larger audience. It was inspired by Jaron Lanier, the pioneer of virtual reality, and his early laboratory days. Pierce Brosnan as Jaron, a scientist who employed virtual reality treatment on a mentally ill patient. The film used genuine virtual reality technology from VPL research laboratories, and director Brett Leonard admitted to taking inspiration from firms like VPL.

1993 – SEGA announced new VR glasses

In 1993, Sega revealed the Sega VR headgear for the Sega Genesis platform at the Consumer Electronics Show. Head tracking, stereo sound, and LCD panels in the visor were all included in the wrap-around prototype glasses. Sega planned to sell the game for around $200 at the time, roughly $322 in today's money. Despite having developed four games for this product, technological development issues meant that the gadget would always be in the prototype stage. Sega's game was a colossal flop.

1994 – The Sega VR-1

Sega continues its VR push with the debut of the VR-1, an arcade motion simulator that moves in sync with what's happening onscreen. This is similar to the AS-1; only the VR employs a head-mounted display instead of a normal projection screen.

1995 – Nintendo Virtual Boy

The Nintendo Virtual Boy (also known as the VR-32) was a 3D game device marketed as the world's first portable console capable of displaying real 3D images. It was initially sold in Japan and North America for $180, but it was a financial flop despite price decreases. The absence of color in visuals (games were red and black), a lack of software support, and the difficulty of using the system in a comfortable position were all cited reasons for the console's failure. The following year, they stopped producing and selling it.

1997 – Landmark VR PTSD Treatment

Georgia Tech and Emory University have teamed together to employ virtual reality to treat PTSD in military veterans. Today, this is still an important element of PTSD therapy and study. Controlled exposure to traumatic stimuli is critical in the treatment of PTSD symptoms. Therapists now have unequaled control over what their patients see and feel because of virtual reality technology.

1999 – The Matrix

The Matrix, directed by the Wachowski brothers, was released in theaters in 1999. The film shows characters who live in a completely synthetic environment, many of whom are utterly ignorant that they are not in reality. Although several prior films, such as Tron in 1982 and Lawnmower Man in 1992, have experimented with presenting virtual reality, The Matrix had a tremendous cultural influence and introduced the issue of simulated reality into the public.

2007 – Google Brings Us Street View

Google Maps now includes street-level 360-degree photos collected by special automobiles equipped with specialized camera equipment. Immersive Media created its own dodecahedral camera for the project. Thanks to this technology, you may now "stand" in almost any corner of the world and gaze about.

2010 – Street View Goes 3D and the Oculus is Prototyped

Only a few years later, Street View obtains a 3D version, but Palmer Lucky's work is considerably more significant in the history of virtual reality. He's constructed a DIY VR headgear, but a chance encounter with computing expert John Carmack sets him on the path to making his "Oculus Rift" greater than he ever anticipated.

2012 – The Oculus Kickstarter

Palmer Lucky begins a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the Rift, his prototype headgear. The campaign is a clear dividing line between prior commercial failures of consumer VR and the present VR revolution, raising almost 2.5 million dollars.

2014 – Facebook Buys Oculus and Sony Announced their VR Project

The social media behemoth sees promise in Oculus technology and decides to purchase the firm, making Lucky extremely wealthy. This has been a banner year for virtual reality, with the introduction of Google Cardboard, PSVR, and the Samsung Gear VR. Virtual reality has been a highly popular topic recently.

Sony also stated that they are working on a VR add-on for the popular PS4 device this year. Because the PS4 is so much less powerful than today's VR-capable systems, everyone is interested to see how they'll pull it off.

2016–2017 – All Hell Breaks Loose

Everyone is releasing VR goods that are ready for primetime this year. The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are the frontrunners, but the floodgates have fully opened. You can see the results of this boom by visiting our HMD database.

2018 – Standalone VR Rises, Mobile VR Dies

Both the Oculus Go and the Oculus Quest are now available. Two instances of standalone virtual reality that do not require the use of a computer or smartphone to operate. Mobile VR is gradually becoming less expensive, and standalone devices like the Go are relatively reasonable.

2019 – VR is Shifting Rapidly

Standalone VR headsets increasingly include mixed reality systems and advanced technology. The Oculus Quest gets a guarantee of tethering, while smartphone-based VR projects start to fade away.

The cost of VR headsets has plummeted, and computer gear capable of operating these headsets has become almost ubiquitous. There are a slew of sophisticated headsets on the horizon. Varifocal technology, ultra-wide fields of view, hand scanning, and eye-tracking are just a few of the major advancements. Major corporations such as Apple are rumored to be working on mixed reality projects, and it appears that VR and mixed reality will be inextricably linked in the future.

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Birth of Augmented Reality   

Augmented reality has grown into one of the most intriguing technologies of our day, from its employment in NASA spacecraft in the 1990s to the incredible success of Pokemon Go. But where did it all start? When was the first instance of augmented reality made, and who invented it? Continue reading to learn about some of AR's most pivotal events.

Source 

  • The Sword of Damocles, developed by Ivan Sutherland in 1968, was the first helmet-mounted display. It paved the path for today's AR technology.
  • Tom Caudell, a Boeing researcher, created the phrase "augmented reality" in 1990.
  • At the US Air Force Research Laboratory, Louis Rosenberg produced the first completely immersive AR system in 1992.
  • In NASA's X-38 spacecraft, augmented reality was initially employed for navigation in 1998.
  • The first AR game, AR Quake, was released in the year 2000. Players had to wear a backpack with a computer and gyroscopes in addition to a head-mounted display!
  • Augmented reality applications for cellphones first appeared in the early 2000s. AR Tennis, a two-player AR game designed for Nokia phones, was one of the first.
  • BMW was the first company to deploy augmented reality for commercial reasons in 2008, with its AR-enhanced print commercials.
  • In 2009, Esquire released the first AR-enabled magazine, allowing readers to scan the cover and see Robert Downey Jr appear on the page.
  • Blippar released the first cloud-based augmented reality app in 2012.
  • Blippar created the first augmented reality game for Google Glass in 2014, which was shown at the Mobile World Congress.
  • In 2016, Niantic and Nintendo released Pokemon Go, a tremendously successful location-based augmented reality game that catapulted augmented reality into the public
  • In 2017, the number of AR users in the United States surpassed 37 million. By 2020, this number is predicted to reach 67 million!

Sensorma 

One of the first known instances of immersive, multi-sensory (now known as multimodal) technology was the Sensorama. Morton Heilig developed this technique in 1962, and it is regarded as one of the first virtual reality (VR) systems.  

Development 

Heilig, who is now known as a "multimedia" expert, regarded theatre in the 1950s as an activity that could effectively include all of the senses, bringing the audience into the onscreen action. In a 1955 article titled "The Cinema of the Future," he described his concept of multi-sensory theatre as "Experience Theater" (Robinett 1994). He created the Sensorama, a prototype of his idea, in 1962, along with five short films for it to show.

The Sensorma 

Source 

The Sensorama is a mechanical device with a stereoscopic color display, fans, odor emitters, a stereo sound system, and a motional chair.  It produced the illusion of a motorbike ride around New York by having the viewer sit on an imagined motorcycle while experiencing the street via the screen, fan-generated wind, and simulated sounds and scent of the city.  These features are activated at the right moment, such as when exhaust chemicals are released when a cyclist approaches a bus.  Chemicals were used to imitate petrol fumes and the scent of pizza snack restaurants.  While the machine still works today, audiences are unable to engage with it, and it is unable to react to the user's activities.

Howard Rheingold described his experience with the Sensorama in his 1991 book Virtual Reality, utilising a short video piece from the 1950s that chronicled a bicycle trip around Brooklyn, and he was still astonished by what it could achieve more than 40 years later.  The Sensorama was capable of displaying stereoscopic 3-D visuals in a wide-angle perspective, body tilting, stereo sound, and wind and fragrance tracks that could be activated throughout the movie.  Because Heilig was unable to get funding for his ambitions and patents, the Sensorama project was put on hold.

The Sword of Damocles(Virtual Reality) 

Although Morton Heilig had already patented a similar apparatus (known as "Stereoscopic-Television Apparatus for Individual Use" or "Telesphere Mask") in 1960, the Sword of Damocles was the name for the mechanical tracking system and not the head-mounted display, and is widely considered to be the first augmented reality HMD system. Ivan Sutherland, a computer scientist, devised the Sword of Damocles in 1968 with the aid of his pupils Bob Sproull, Quintin Foster, and Danny Cohen. Ivan Sutherland was already well-known for his achievements in computer graphics when he started working on what he called "the ultimate display". Beginning in 1966, Sutherland and his colleagues at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory conducted what are largely considered to be the earliest trials with various types of head-mounted displays.

Features 

The device's user interface and realism were both basic, and the virtual environment's images were plain wireframe rooms. Sutherland's technology used a stereoscopic display to show output from a computer program. The software's viewpoint would be determined by the location of the user's sight, which is why head tracking was required. Due to its weight and the need to detect head motions through linkages, the HMD had to be mounted to a mechanical arm dangling from the lab ceiling. The mechanism's moniker comes from its intimidating aspect. To undertake the tests using The Sword of Damocles, the person had to have his or her head firmly placed within the instrument. The many components that were being tested at the time were not completely interconnected with one another. 

Development 

Sutherland began work on merging the different components into a single HMD system when he arrived at the University of Utah in the late 1960s. The first completely functioning integrated HMD system was operational before the end of the decade. A cube floating in the air in front of the user was the first display application. The system itself was made up of six subsystems: a clipping divider, matrix multiplier, vector generator, headset, head position sensor, and a general-purpose computer – all of which would constitute the first virtual reality machine as we know it today. The users were not entirely blocked off from their surroundings since the device was partly see-through. Because of its translucence, as well as the other capabilities that were still in their infancy, the system is sometimes recognized as a forerunner to augmented reality technology.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Does Virtual Reality Work?

The simplest explanation is that virtual reality "tricks" your brain into believing you are somewhere else. When you walk about in a virtual reality headset, the gadget alters the visual to make it look like you're truly inside a distinct location.

Is VR/AR Just a Fad?

Some argue that VR is just a Trend, but its exponential penetration across sectors and the involvement of firms like Facebook, Samsung, Google, and HTC, who have publicly stated their commitment to VR, are two major indicators that VR is not a fad.

What are the challenges for AR/VR?

AR and VR are still in their early stages of development, with a long road ahead of them before becoming a truly mainstream technology. The following are some of the most commonly mentioned technological and commercial challenges:

  1. Mobile phones have limited computing capacity; thus, connecting a user to a PC or server isn't an option. Either mobile processing power must be increased, or work must be offloaded to the cloud.
  2. Limited mobile bandwidth — While cloud-based processing provides a compelling potential solution to the mobile processing bottleneck, most mobile phone bandwidth is currently too sluggish to provide the required real-time video processing in most situations. As mobile bandwidth increases, this is likely to change.
  3. Creating a business plan - Many AR and VR applications outside of video games are still in the early phases of development and have yet to be validated in the commercial sector.

Is Virtual Reality Worth The Investment?

Yes, VR is a worthwhile investment if you want to stay competitive and exist in the future

Conclusion 

In this article, we briefly discussed the birth of virtual reality and Augmented reality in detail, and then discuss Sensorma and The sword of Damocles.  

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