10 facts you didn’t know about AR

In AR (Augmented Reality) you use your smartphone or tablet to add a layer of digital content to the real world. Sounds interesting, but for most people AR is a vague concept they know little about. However, I’m pretty sure that one way or another, you’ve probably already experienced it. So what can I teach you about AR? In this article I will discuss 10 of my favorite AR facts that you didn’t know (yet). 

1. AR dates back to 1968

Back in 1968, John Sutherland, a computer scientist at Harvard, created the very first headset that could display some sort of digital reality, which he called ‘The Sword of Damocles’. Little did he know that he opened the pathway to the virtual and augmented technology that would be developed in the future. 

2. The term Augmented Reality was coined in 1990

AR is short for Augmented Reality. Even though the origins date back to 1968, the term Augmented Reality was coined in 1990 by Thomas Caudell. Caudell was an American researcher for Boeing, specifically working on the improvement of the manufacturing process.

Nowadays, Boeing uses AR in different forms, mainly to boost productivity in its manufactoring process.

3. VR and AR are not twins

Although they both create a digital experience, VR and AR are two very different technologies. With the use of an epic headset, VR generates a virtual world in which you are completely immersed. On the other hand, AR adds a layer of digital content to the real world. For a more detailed explanation, check out this article: VR, AR and MR: What do they mean?

4. There are two ways to run AR: marker- or location based

Marker-based AR refers to a tag or object that you can scan and it generates the Augmented Reality experience. This is probably easier to understand if you watch the video below. This is an example of a campaign in which Shazam and Bombay Sapphire teamed up. The bottleneck label is used as activation point and guides customers to a unique AR experience.

Location-based AR works the following way: The geographic location of your device is what triggers the AR experience. Pokemon Go is a great example. It tracks your location and shows where exactly you can find Pokemons. Have a look at the video.

5. Pokemon GO is, by far, the most famous of recent AR games. 

Let’s continue on the Pokemon GO track. Who hasn’t played it? In July 2016, the game reached a peak of forty-five million daily users! That’s a huge amount. However, the number of daily users already declined the next month to thirty million (which is basically nothing…😉). 

Another fun fact regarding Pokemon GO: Niantic created the game and even though it’s a free app, the company earned 3.1 billion US dollars since the launch.

6. AR can cure phobia

Most people believe AR is all about games and entertainment. That’s not really the case. Different sectors, such as the medical or educational sector, are using AR. Even more so, AR is becoming a famous form of therapy. Doctors use it to cure phobia, by practicing Exposure Based Therapy.

7. AR is used in tv broadcasting

If you have ever watched a soccer match on television, you have already seen AR in action. When the referee makes a call for offside, they often show you a slow-motion video of the situation and add the virtual lines. That virtual line is a perfect example of AR. 

However, it’s not just sports broadcasting in which AR clearly comes to life. Have a look at the video below and you’ll realize you see AR more often than you think!

8. NASA uses AR

Back in 1999, NASA used AR for the first time to support and navigate the X-38 (a crew return vehicle). Astronaut Scott Kelly used a special AR dashboard to report back to mission control. 

Throughout the following years, NASA continued to use AR in its missions. In 2015 Scott Kelly spent a year in space, during which he tested Microsoft’s HoloLens. Kelly explained that it completely augmented his vision, as “a person on the ground could be drawing things in your field of view, and pointing to things, and I could be doing the same thing.” You can read more about Kelly’s experience in this article.

9. AR will change the future of surgery

Philips and Microsoft, two big players in the field of technology, teamed up and are changing the future of surgery. Philips is a strong leader in advanced equipment for operating rooms. Microsoft developed the Hololens 2, which is basically a headset that creates virtual content by projecting holograms into the real world. 

I can imagine this sounds confusing. Have a look at the video below. It explains how the two companies join forces to assist surgeons in the operating room. You’ll be amazed what this technology can do.

10. By 2022, 3.5 billion people will use mobile AR applications

Digi-Capital estimates that its user base will grow enormously. The number of mobile AR users is expected to increase to 3.5 billion in the next two years. In other words, 44% of the world population will use AR by 2022. 

When you see these numbers, there’s no doubt that the growing influence of AR will shape our future. 

So, now you’re completely up to date when it comes to AR! What facts surprised you? Maybe you know any other fun facts? Share them with us in the comments or Contact us directly.

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