"I remember when things really took off in the early noughties. That was almost fifty years ago now. A simpler time, although we didn't see it that way back then. We saw it for what it would eventually become, a world of pervasive technology. It began with the smart phones. You probably heard about them the same way I heard about the original blackberry, a kind of weird precursor of things to come. Too expensive for widespread adoption, but too ambitious an idea to ever truly die. This same situation repeated itself with virtual reality and in some ways, with augmented reality.
First came the blackberry of VR devices. The Rift, the Vive, we all thought they'd be the next great thing in the beginning. But like the blackberry they eventually fell by the wayside to make room for the real contenders. Gero and feint and whatever that other one is called came out in the decades to follow. Augmented reality was only beginning to become to norm, which was a strange progression of things since it was less expensive to develop for. It's rise was much more gradual than virtual reality sudden disruption of the world we knew. The things we created from these devices were the stuff of pure innnovation, genius and imagination. We DREAMED of the world we live in today, how could we not when we had an entire genre of media ,Sci-Fi, dedicated to it? If I could go back in time and get a headstart on the Bigshot augmented reality shooter game series I would. I'd be up there with the likes of Gabe Newell and Notch.
I also could have gotten a headstart in virtual reality's appliances software. We had no idea back then that videogames wouldn't be the main focus of virtual reality however. In hindsight, the ability for a buildings architect to see the entire building in autocad before it was created, to be able to walk around the finished product before any huge investment, was obvious. You stretch this innovation to surgery, allowing surgeons to see inside their patients anatomy, to education, and any room is a schol, or to blackjack, and you're suddenly in Vegas. Communication really brought out the true potential of virtual reality.
The real goldrush was in augmented reality though. We already had smartphones powerful enough to run what would be considered prototypes today. Back then the most incredible applications came from universities interested in creating proof of concepts. Until Pokemon Go of course. I'm sure your history class mentions it? It was the first huge augmented reality title. Everyone played with it for about a month until they got tired of the lack of the developers slow progress and quit. I say slow, but they couldn't have known how enormously successful and popular it would become. Pokemon Go's success served as a wake-up call that augmented reality was going to be huge. Sure Pokemon itself was popular anyway, but it sparked peoples imagination. They wanted what we have today. Of course we didn't have the languages that we have today, but it wasn't impossible to get an augmented reality app up and running. There was ARToolkit for free. Vuforia and a dozen others were available as welll, for a price.
If only we could go back, to when we were younger. If only we could go back to when this technology revolution truly began and be a part of something that would take over the world. If only we knew how we already had everything we needed to start.