The History and Evolution of Augmented Reality: From Early Beginnings to Modern Applications

Augmented reality (AR) technology has come a long way since its inception, with many applications now using this cutting-edge technology. In this article, we’ll take a look at the history of AR and see how it has evolved over time.

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality refers to the ability to superimpose digital images or data onto real-world objects or scenes. This technology has been around for decades, but it wasn’t until the development of smartphones that it became accessible to a wider audience.

Early Beginnings

One of the earliest examples of AR can be traced back to 1968 when Ivan Sutherland developed "Skywriter," an early form of AR software that allowed users to draw on the sky using a light pen. This technology laid the foundation for future AR applications.

In 1992, the term "augmented reality" was first used by Tom Ivey and John W. Pedersen in their paper "Virtual Reality: A Review and Research Agenda." This marked the beginning of a new era for AR technology.

The Rise of Augmented Reality

As smartphones became more powerful, developers started to experiment with AR applications. One of the first popular AR apps was Snapchat’s filters, which allowed users to superimpose digital images onto their photos and videos.

In 2015, Apple released ARKit, a set of tools that allowed developers to create AR experiences for iOS devices. This marked a major turning point in the development of AR technology, as it made it easier than ever before for developers to create AR apps.

Since then, many other companies have entered the AR market, including Google with its ARCore platform and Microsoft with its HoloLens headset. These platforms have opened up new possibilities for AR applications in fields such as gaming, education, and medicine.

The Future of Augmented Reality

As AR technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more innovative applications in the future. Some potential uses for AR include:

  • Enhanced shopping experiences, where customers can try on clothes or furniture virtually before making a purchase
  • Improved training and education, where students can learn by interacting with virtual objects
  • Medical treatments, where AR technology can help doctors visualize patient anatomy and plan surgeries more accurately


Augmented reality has come a long way since its early beginnings, and it’s clear that this technology has huge potential for the future. With ongoing research and development, we can expect to see even more innovative AR applications in fields such as gaming, education, and medicine.