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June 2018

Augmented reality history is a longer story than one might expect.  Magical AR glasses existed in novel form as early as 1901 and AR technology was conveying the weather long before global warming was a topic of conversation.  To read more about these early developments, check out Part 1 of this particular series, covering the history of augmented reality from the beginning.  Part 2, on the other hand, involves AR as most of us know it – social, mobile, making waves.  But what are the defining moments that got us to now?  Stay tuned. We're about to find out. 

Many think of augmented reality as recent technology, but there have been iterations of it since the early 1900s. From the sword of Manocles (more on this later) to an app that features users vomiting rainbows, this story is not linear.  But it is pretty interesting.  So come along as we unpack the fits and starts that make up the history of augmented reality.  Let's go.

In the Beginning, There was AR-ish

Once upon a time in 1901, L. Frank Baum, beloved author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, referenced something AR-like in his novel, The Master Key. He used the term “Character Marker” to describe a set of special glasses.  These glasses could project a key onto the foreheads of others.  The wearer could tell from a single letter whether someone was good (G), evil (E), wise (W), foolish (F), kind (K), or cruel (C). “Thus you may determine by a single look the true natures of all those you encounter.”

When it comes to augmented reality advertising, there are currently two routes to consumers: in-app and web AR. Both have benefits and limitations, though they may not be immediately clear to marketers looking to maximize their advertising efforts. To better understand these distribution channels, let’s take a look under the hood of AR as a whole, from both a technological and user experience perspective. By the end of this post, we’ll know, unequivocally, the answer to one of 2018's great mysteries...

Native vs Web AR – Which is Better?

From the top, augmented reality involves placing 2D and 3D content into a user’s environment in real time. Mobile AR, made possible via the high-fidelity camera built into later model smartphones, is the focus of this particular post. Down the road, we’ll all come to expect hands-free AR experiences as part of our daily lives, but for now, the reach of AR is through the lens of the smartphone.