Nokia looks at the history of augmented reality

Augmented reality is both fun and a useful way for software to interact with what's presently visible in the real world. It's advanced technology that really brings hardware to life. A perfect example of use is Nokia's own City Lens app that enables users to look up POI (points of interest) while walking down any given street. All locations are displayed on-screen as the camera is panned across. But where has augmented span from?

Writer Frank L. Baum came up with the idea for augmented reality in 1901, in the story The Master Key. In the book, a kid gets hold of a pair of advanced shades that enabled him to detect whether people he sees are good, evil, wise, foolish, kind or cruel. There's probably going to be (if not already) a Windows Phone app for that, but it's where augmented reality all began.

The blog post over on Nokia Conversations continues down the timeline to 1992 where augmented reality became... well... reality. The US army trialled an AR system in combat vehicles that channelled simulation data between live and virtual players. While focused on weaponry, it was also suggested how the technology may be used in civilian life - be it architectural, manufacturing, training, etc.

Moving on to 2000,ARQuake was announced. The mobile augmented reality game, a spin-off of Quake, was a first-person shooter that used GPS, a unique controller, and a special sensor would enable the player to take a laptop and go onto a run around a real environment pumping virtual bullets into monsters, which were being loaded into the game and overlaying real surroundings. It was an insight into what AR could bring.

It's hitting 2013 and augmented reality is now fully featured in Windows Phones. Nokia is pushing the technology in its services that are offered to smartphone owners. The Nokia City Lens app, as mentioned above, invites users to look at surroundings with places of interest in mind. Whether it be entertainment, cafes, or multimedia Windows Phone would be able to bring the environment to life.

One has to wander what Frank L. Baum would think of smartphones running augmented reality.

Source: Nokia Conversations

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.