Back to 1901, L. Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, came up with the idea of “Character Marker” consisting of a pair of spectacles to mark people’s characters on their forehead in his novel The Master Key, which was regarded as the very first vision of Augmented Reality. Almost 80 years after the novel, the first Head-up Display device was invented by Steve Mann, the first version of Eyetap, which combined the scene in front of users and the computer-mediated imagery that projected onto the glasses (USA Today, 2001). As the technology developed during the following years, the term “Augmented Reality” was coined by a former Boeing researcher Thomas P. Caudell in 1990 (Lee, 2012).

Unlike the Virtual Reality which puts users into a virtual world and completely insulates them from the surrounding environment, the Augmented Reality is a visually-mediated reality, aiming to “both augment and mediate my surroundings” (Mann, 2012).

The Augmented Reality technology was employed by the U.S. Air Force in the first place with the development of Virtual Fixture by Louis Rosenberg in 1992 at the U.S. Air Force Armstrong Labs, which are “computer-generated percepts overlaid on top of the reflection of a remote workspace” to enhance human performance with better presence (Rosenberg, 1992).

Virtual Fixtures, as conceptualized in 1992 system
Virtual fixtures were used by Rosenberg (1992) to enhance operator performance in the telerobotic control of Fitt’s Law pegboard task.

However, as a relatively new concept and an emerging technology from last century, Augmented Reality has become prevalent in various domains because of its higher level of engagement and interaction than traditional forms of communication, to be it print press, broadcast or the two-dimension internet media.

Nowadays, the AR technology has been widely used beyond military areas into every aspect of people’s daily life, from video games and social media to telecasting, from navigation and tourism to education. AR games, such as Pokémon Go and Neon, encourage game players to interact with the surrounding environment and people instead of isolating the players from others, which may refresh people’s perception of traditional video games, reconstruct the video game industry and most importantly, facilitate the interaction and communication between people.

Real World Multiplayer AR Game Neon from Niantic
Real World Multiplayer AR Game Neon from Niantic

AR technology has been serving the television industry for a long time, especially in certain types of programs requiring complex visualization techniques such as weather casting. Moreover, the AR technology can change the stage settings of the broadcast by providing AR overlays, which is widely used in the television industry.