The Beginning of Augmented Reality: A Timeline and Analysis

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that overlays digital information onto the real world. It has been around for decades, but its popularity exploded in recent years due to advancements in mobile devices and software development. In this article, we will take a closer look at the history of AR and how it has evolved over time.

The concept of augmented reality dates back to 1943 when Ivan Sutherland developed Sketchpad, an early computer graphics program that allowed users to create simple 3D models. In 1968, Sutherland created another groundbreaking program called "Sword of Damocles," which projected a virtual sword onto a physical screen in front of the user.

In 1990, researchers at the University of Illinois developed a system called "Virtual Reality Theater" that used head-mounted displays (HMDs) to create an immersive virtual environment. This was the beginning of what we now know as virtual reality (VR).

However, it wasn’t until 2009 when Apple introduced the iPhone 3GS, which had a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, that AR really took off. This allowed developers to create apps that could track the user’s movements in real-time and overlay digital information onto the physical world.

One of the first successful AR apps was "Ingress," developed by Google in 2012. It turned the user’s real-world surroundings into a virtual battleground, where users had to capture "portals" and defend their territory from opposing teams. Ingress quickly gained popularity and inspired other developers to create their own AR apps.

Since then, there have been countless examples of successful AR apps, including "Pokemon Go," which turned the world into a virtual playground for catching fictional creatures. AR has also been used in education, marketing, and healthcare.

Today, the AR industry is worth billions of dollars and is expected to continue growing as technology advances. According to a report by Statista, the global augmented reality market size was valued at USD 20.74 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 98.16 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 30.4% from 2021 to 2025.

In conclusion, augmented reality has come a long way since its inception in the 1960s. With advancements in mobile devices and software development, AR has become a powerful tool for developers to create immersive experiences that blend the real world with digital information. As the industry continues to grow, we can expect even more exciting developments in the future.


  1. What is the difference between augmented reality and virtual reality?
    Augmented reality overlays digital information onto the real world, while virtual reality creates a completely artificial environment for the user to interact with.
  2. How has augmented reality evolved over time?
    AR has evolved from simple computer graphics programs in the 1960s to immersive mobile apps and experiences today. Advancements in technology have allowed for more sophisticated and interactive AR experiences.
  3. What are some examples of successful augmented reality apps?
    Some examples include "Pokemon Go," "Ingress," and "IKEA Place." These apps use AR to create engaging and interactive experiences for users.
  4. How is the augmented reality industry growing?
    The global AR market size was valued at USD 20.74 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 98.16 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 30.4% from 2021 to 2025. This indicates that the industry is growing rapidly and expected to continue doing so in the future.