The immersive technology industry is ever growing as both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) continue to become more widely used and adopted. Now a new infographic from HistoryDegree brings together a number of different sources to showcase not only the future of the technology but also the history of both VR and AR. By 2022, 3.5 billion AR devices are expected to be in use around the world with 1/3 of global consumers expected to be using VR by 2020, making this growing industry a massive one.
The infographic is a lengthy one that starts by exploring the history of technology that led up to the current state of the industry. This is as far back as 1838 with the Steroscope which was invented by Charles Wheatstone and allowed users to view 3D images by viewing two separate images for each eye. This is followed by the Kinetoscope in 1891 and then the Link Trainer Flight Simulator in 1929. It was in the late 20th century that a number of breakthroughs started to happen that would shape the future of the technology.
The first ever head-mounted display (HMD) was the Telesphere Mask in 1960, developed by Morton Heilig. This used stereoscopic technology, 3D imagery, widescreen vision, and stereo sound to create its experiences. In 1986 came the Air Force Super Cockpit Program which was designed and directed by Thomas Furness and used a HMD to project computer-generated 3D maps and images to simulate an aircraft and help train pilots. VR arcade machines would come along in 1991 with the Virtuality Group Arcade Machines developer by Dr. Jonathan D Waldern and W Industries, with other notable products being the Nintendo Virtual Boy in 1995 which, though sadly a failure, was a key milestone for the industry.
Since the year 2000 until now though, VR and AR has expanded and grown at a rapid speed with the market now featuring many different headsets and solutions for both consumer and enterprise markets. With HMDs ranging from as little as $15 (USD) for Google Cardboard to $3,000 for a Microsoft HoloLens development kit, there is more choice then ever before. The infographic ends with a quick look at the future of the industry and what VR and AR might be used for moving forward. This includes education, public safety, business, healthcare, and navigation to name a few. The closing statement on points out that the history of the industry is still being written as innovations are continues leading to breakthroughs in this ever-changing industry.