Augmented and Virtual Reality Page (D200)

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Written by Alicia Lam, Joyce Chan, Mavis Yao, [Bailey Wong] & Raisa Crisologo

Simon Fraser University | Beedie School of Business


Augmented & Virtual Reality: Introduction

AR & VR Definitions

What Is Augmented Reality?

Definition Virtual and Augmented Reality Virtual reality and augmented reality falls into the continuum of a virtual experience and the real experience or our reality [1]. Virtual reality in essence, is “an event or entity that is real in effect but not in fact” as defined by Michael Heam [2].

There are many different ways to define virtual reality and augmented reality and can be differentiated in different dimensions such as the level of immersion in a digital environment, the degree to which of their five senses are artificially created, as well as the level of interaction that one can get within that virtual environment. However, both these terms refer to a change of reality either through projecting a sort of artificial environment onto or using reality or completely immersing the person in a virtual environment. One major difference however, is the terms of degree and level of immersion within the artificial environment.

Virtual reality, as defined by the virtual society [3] is “a three-dimensional, computer generated environment which can be explored and interacted with by a person”. This concept comes from the idea the two terms “virtual” to mean an artificial environment and “reality” which one can perceive primarily through our five senses: touch, sight, sound, smell, and taste. This means that a person immersed in virtual reality means that they exist a digital world, such that everything they perceive with their senses are generated by a computer. Augmented reality on the other hand is used to define a virtual environment that is projected onto reality or uses the existing reality to create the digital environment, “augmenting” the virtual and the digital world - hence, the term augmented reality. This could be as simple as using your phone to see digital images on top of reality, such as the viral Pokémon Go [4] mobile game.

Despite their differences, these two technologies are being used for similar purpose and for converging reasons such as to create enjoyable experiences for its users, or for more life-changing purpose such as in the medical field to help surgeons and treat psychological conditions. Both these forms aim to enrich a user’s experience, but differ in how they deliver these experiences [3].

Mainstream Definition of VR and AR

Given the broad definition of VR and AR, there are many different types of technology happening in the business world that can be classified as either VR or AR. Currently, the terms “virtual reality” and “augmented reality” are used to describe technology that resembles, but is not quite a virtual nor an augmented reality based on the above definition. Technological gadgets such as Microsoft’s HoloLens is described to be VR technology because of its ability to immerse the wearer in a virtual world. However, because it blends the real world with overlays from a digital world, it works more as an AR technology. Furthermore, these technologies serves as a bridge to the world of AR and VR and are a great to start for those people that are simply trying it out for the first time [5].

The Differences Between AR & VR

AR & VR How It Works

The technology of AR and VR.

To the extent to which a virtual environment can be considered or augmented differs in terms of how much of what a person perceives is created by a computer. Virtual reality, by definition, would require a complete immersion in an artificial environment such that what they see, feel, hear - and in some cases, smell and taste - are digital. There are various technology that can simulate a digital environment such as headsets, gloves, and additional peripherals to create this artificial environment. For an experience to be considered virtual reality, the environment should be able to react timely and appropriately such that there will be a reaction that corresponds to a person’s particular movement, enabling them to perceive the artificial environment as a real environment [1].

VR technology, at the basic level, “uses an array of sensors to precisely tracks the movement of your head” [2]. In the case of augmented reality, technology is used to create and project virtual or digital images based on what is seen in reality. In short, VR technology follows and tracks the eye and head movements of the user to project and create a virtual environment that they can interact with, while AR technology projects a virtual overlay, allowing it to blend into the real-world.

AR & VR Timeline

[3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Date Development Image
1838 Virtual Reality: Stereoscopic Photos & Viewers.

Charles Wheatstone’s research demonstrated that the brain processes the different two-dimensional images from each eye into a single object of three dimensions. Viewing two side by side stereoscopic images or photos through a stereoscope gave the user a sense of depth and immersion. The later development of the popular View-Master stereoscope (patented 1939), was used for “virtual tourism”. The design principles of the Stereoscope is used today for the popular Google Cardboard and low budget VR head mounted displays for mobile phones.

Charles Wheatstone's Stereoscope [8]
1929 Virtual Reality: Link Trainer, The First Flight Simulator.

Edward Link created the “Link trainer” (patented 1931) probably the first example of a commercial flight simulator, which was entirely electromechanical. It was controlled by motors that linked to the rudder and steering column to modify the pitch and roll. A small motor-driven device mimicked turbulence and disturbances. Such was the need for safer ways to train pilots that the US military bought six of these devices for $3500. In 2015 money, this was just shy of $50,000. During World War II over, 10,000 “blue box” Link Trainers were used by over 500,000 pilots for initial training and improving their skills.

Edward Link's Link Trainer [9]
1935 Virtual Reality: Stanley G. Weinbaum's Pygmalion's Spectacles.

A story by science fiction writer Stanley G. Weinbaum (Pygmalion’s Spectacles) presented the idea of a pair of goggles that let the wearer experience a fictional world through holographics, smell, taste and touch. In hindsight, the experience Weinbaum describes for those wearing the goggles are uncannily like the modern and emerging experience of virtual reality, making him a true visionary of the field.

Stanley G. Weinbaum's Pygmalion's Spectacles [10]
1960 Virtual Reality: The First VR Head Mounted Display.

Morton Heilig patented the Telesphere Mask. It was first head-mounted display (HMD) product in the market. Although the product was a non-interactive film medium and did not have motion tracking, the headset provided stereoscopic 3D and wide vision with stereo sound, a first in the VR market and a revolutionary product that has become the basis for many current products.

Telesphere Mask [11]
1961 Virtual Reality: The First Motion Tracking HMD.

Comeau and Bryan, two Philco Corporation engineers developed the Headsight, the first precursor to the HMD developments seen today. The product had two video screens for each eye, and a magnetic motion tracking system linking to a closed circuit camera. Although the HMD was not purposely developed for VR applicaitons, it allowed immersive remote viewing of a variety of situations for military training usages.

Headsight System [12]
1962 Virtual Reality: TMorton Heilig's Sensorama.

Morton Heilig's Sensorama was the first VR machine. The product was able to simulate all human senses by using stereo speakers, a stereoscopic 3D display, fans, smell generators and a vibrating chair to fully immerse the user into the film.

Morton Heilig's Sensorama [13]
1965 Virtual Reality: Ivan Sutherlan's Ultimate Display.

Ivan Sutherland’s paper describing the “Ultimate Display” concept has become an important ideology of concepts that incorporates the current virtual world. Sutherland’s paper included the theory that technology will advance to a stage in which one would not be able to tell the difference between actual and virtual reality. His concepts included:

  • Computer hardware that integrates the virtual and real time.
  • Virtual world viewed through a HMD, with realistic 3D sound and feedback.
  • Virtual and real world interactions between users.

Ivan Sutherland [14]
1968 Virtual & Augmented Reality: Sutherland & Sproull's Sword of Damocles.

Ivan Sutherland and Bob Sproull produced the first virtual and augmented reality HMD, called the Sword of Damocles. The product was extremely large and heavy, such that it gave any user great discomfort when using the device. To lighten the product, it was suspended from the ceiling.

Sutherland & Sproull's Sword of Damocles [15]
1969 Virtual & Augmented Reality: Myron Krueger's "Artificial Reality.

Myron Krueger developed a series of computer-generated environments that responded with the players, which he termed “artificial reality”. Krueger’s projects, GLOWFLOW, METAPLAY, and PSYCHIC SPACE, created a movement into the virtual reality world in the entertainment industry and the creation of VIDEOPLACE technology. His innovation allowed people to communicate with each other in a virtual environment, regardless of the real space between them and without the use of gloves or goggles.

Krueger's VIDEOPLACE [16]
1980 Augmented Reality: Steve Mann's EyeTap

Steve Mann develops the first wearable computer, the EyeTrap with text and graphical overlays on still photographs.

Steve Mann's EyeTap [17]
1987 Virtual Reality: The Birth of Virtual Reality

The founder of the Visual Programming Lab (VPL), Jaron Lanier, coined the name "virtual reality". VPL developed a wide range of VR gear such as the Dataglove, and the EyePhone HMD. Lanier's company was the first to sell Virtual Reality goggles (EyePhone 1 $9400; EyePhone HRX $49,000) and gloves ($9000).

Lanier's Eyephone [18]
1990 Augmented Reality: The Birth of Augmented Reality

Boeing researcher, Tom Caudelll, coins the term "augmented reality".

Tom Caudell [19]
1992 [20] Augmented Reality: Louis Rosenberg's Virtual Fixtures

Virtual Fixtures was one of the first known AR systems, developed by Louis Rosenberg at the U.S. Air Force Armstrong Labs.

Louis Rosenberg's Virtual Fixtures [21]
1993 Virtual Reality: SEGA's VR Glasses

At the Consumer Electronics Show, Sega announced the Sega VR headset for the Sega Genesis console. The product included head tracking, stereo sound and LCD screens in the visor. The device was to be sold at $200, but technical development issues plagued the device's release. Consumers complained of nausea, eye strains, migraines and the price point. Due to the difficulties of satisfying consumers Sega's VR glasses and its (four_ fully developed games for the product, it has not been able to release the Glasses, and it became a major flop for the company.

SEGA's VR Glasses [22]
1994 Augmented Reality: Julie Martin's Dancing In Cyberspace

Julie Martin produced the first augmented reality theater production: “Dancing in Cyberspace”, featuring acrobats who danced within and around virtual objects on their physical stage. The play showed dancers and acrobats with virtual objects in real time being projected onto the physical space and stage.

no picture found
1995 Virtual Reality: Nintendo’s Virtual Boy

The Nintendo’s Virtual Boy was the first portable console that could display true 3D graphics. It was sold for $180, first released in Japan and North America, but became a commercial failure. The product lacked coloured graphics - games were in red and black – and there was a lack of software support. Furthermore, the console was uncomfortably designed. Thus, the Virtual Boy’s production and sales was discontinued a year later.

Nintendo’s Virtual Boy [23]

Virtual Reality: The Matrix

The film The Matrix by the Wachowski siblings is released. The Matrix had a large cultural impact on the ideas of a simulated reality, and brought the possibilities of VR into the mainstream. tThe characters are living in a fully simulated world, with many completely unaware that they do not live in the real world.

Augmented Reality: BARS & NASA X-38 Spacecraft

Battlefield Augmented Reality System (BARS), begin development by Naval researchers. The product became an original model of wearable technology for soldiers.

NASA’s X-38 spacecraft is flown using an AR system to overlay map data and create an enhanced navigation system during flight tests. The system was called Hybrid Synthetic Vision.

The Matrix [24]
NASA’s X-38 spacecraft [25]
2000 Augmented Reality: Hirokazu Kato's ARToolKit & Bruce Thomas' ARQuake

Hirokazu Kato created the ARToolKit, an open-source software library that allowed users to utilize video tracking technologies and overlay computer graphics on a video camera. The software is significant to this day as it is still widely used as an addition to many augmented reality experiences.

Bruce Thomas ARQuake was an outdoor augmented reality game developed by Bruce Thomas. A HMD, mobile computer, head tracker, and GPS system were required to control the game and battle virtual monsters.

Hirokazu Kato [26]
Bruce Thomas' ARQuake [27]
2009 Augmented Reality: First AR In Print

AR is used for the first time in print media. Esquire Magazine allowed readers to scan the magazine cover to make Robert Downey Jr. and various other celebrities within the issue talk, tell jokes, change clothing and move.

Esquire's Augmented Reality Issue: A Tour
2010 Virtual Reality: Google's 3D Street View

Google introduced a stereoscopic Street view in 3D.

Google's 3D Street View [1]
2012 Virtual Reality: Oculus Kit On Kickstarter

Oculus uses Kickstarter to finance Oculus developer kit.

Oculus Kit On Kickstarter [2]
2013 Augmented Reality: VW's MARTA App & Google Glass

Volkswagen releases the MARTA app - Mobile Augmented Reality Technical Assistance. The application gives the user a virtual step-by-step repair assistance.

Google released an open beta project: The Google Glass. Users will use the internet via Bluetooth technology connected to the user’s cellphone services. The product will respond to vocal demands, frame touches or head movements.

Google Glass
2014 Augmented Reality: Google Glass Begins Shipping

Google announces the shipment of their Google Glass devices.

Virtual Reality: Virtuix's Treadmill, PS4 & Google's Cardboard

Virtuix raised $3 million to fund the development of a VR treadmill, thus, allowing gamers to use their own body movements to move characters through a game without walking into objects in the room.

Sony announced Project Morpheus, a VR headset for PlayStation 4 (PS4).

Google released the “Cardboard”, a DIY stereoscopic viewer for smartphones, created by David Coz and Damien Henry, Google engineers at the Google Cultural Institute in Paris.[1]

Virtuix's Treadmill

Sony's Project Morpheus

Google Cardboard
2015 Virtual Reality: Used By A Variety of Media Outlets
  • The Washington Post shares a virtual reality experience of the Oval Office at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.
  • BBC creates a 360-degree video immersing users into a Syrian migrant camp in northern France.
  • Fusion launches a virtual reality experience that allows users to swim alongside — and peer inside — a blue whale.
  • “Frontline” debuts “Ebola Outbreak,” a 360-degree video documentary of the disease’s spread in West Africa.
  • CNN live-streams the first 2016 Democratic presidential debate in virtual reality.
  • The New York Times distributes 1.3 million cardboard VR viewers and releases a short spherical video piece called “The Displaced.”

Augmented Reality: Microsoft's HoloLens

Microsoft announces its AR headset, HoloLens and Windows Holographic. The heaset will use sensors and a processing unit to blend high definition “holograms” in real time.

VR & AR Reality: Investments

AR and VR investments total $700M.

Lebanon Refugee Camp (360 video) BBC News

The New York Times' The Displaced

Microsoft HoloLens Demo
2016 Augmented Reality: MS HoloLens & Pokémon Go Create A Rush Towards AR Gaming

Microsoft HoloLens Developer Kit and the Meta 2 Developer Kit (development edition) were released and shipped at the end of March for the USA and Canada. Pre-orders started at $3,000.

Pokémon Go took gamers by storm on July 6th, 2016. The game was made available by the developers at Niantic and released for iOS and Android users. The game has brought augmented reality and the ideas of augmented reality into the mainstream.

VR & AR Reality: Investments

AR and VR investments total $1.1B

Pokémon Go

AR & VR as the 8th Mass Media and Industry Trends

As augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) becomes more advanced, the purpose of this new technology has been redefined to change the way people interact with the general public. At the forefront of understanding Mass Media, Tony Ahonen states how we are now transitioning from the era of mobile-based internet (the 7th mass media), into augmented reality as the 8th mass media. What were the first tools used to communicate to large audiences? They are:
Tony Ahonen's adoption of Augmented Reality Graph [1]
  1. Print Media – from the late 1500’s
  2. Recordings – from the late 19th century
  3. Cinema – from about the 1900’s
  4. Radio – from about 1910’s
  5. Television – from the 1950’s
  6. PC-based internet – from 1990’s
  7. Mobile-based internet – from 2000’s
  8. Augmented Reality – from 2010’s

These tools of communication are important for how businesses interact with the general public as well. From as long as these mass mediums existed, advertisements and marketing efforts have always been present. Currently, businesses are often told to “mobile-optimize” their websites, however this concept wouldn’t have been possible 20 years ago. We now understand how replicating a desktop website on our mobile devices wasn’t effective, as well as the different nuances when advertising between each type of medium. As AR is now available on smartphone mobile devices, Tony Ahonen states that the adoption rate of AR will follow a similar (or even faster) scale, as a large majority of people already have a mobile phone.

Augmented Reality: Current & Future Applications

Augmented Reality: Personal & Business Uses

Augmented Reality in Social Media

WallaMe Image Source [2]

Augmented reality has entered the mainstream market, through the entertainment sector with the likes of Google glass, WallaMe, Oculus Rift and Microsoft’s HoloLens. Google Glass brought to life the idea of viewing Although Google has ceased the production of Google glass, it has created a new space for the personal use of AR technologies with competitors such as Intel, working on building their own version of smart glasses. On the other hand, Digital Graffiti such as WallaMe has become really popular in the past few years particularly in the social media space. WallaMe is a phone app that lets a user write messages on a wall through the app which can only be seen and accessed through the app. It was created in 2015 by a a startup company in London and was featured in the Product Hunt frontpage.

Another great example of the types of augmented reality technology entering the mainstream is Snapchat’s popular filters. Snapchat filters are visual images that is projected on a person’s face to change and create a new image through the phone app. As described by Racette from Medium, these filters are “Lenses overlay animations onto a user’s face, distort real-time video, and react when a user opens their mouth or blinks their eyes”. Its popularity shows that AR can be integrated into people’s everyday lives and is a technology that people will actually use given the right circumstances.

Snapchat Filters Image Source [3]

Augmented Reality in Entertainment One of the most prominent mainstream use of augmented reality would be in the entertainment industry, with Microsoft’s HoloLens leading the way. Microsoft’s HoloLens is augmented reality device headset that projects images in front of the user to create 3D holographic images and videos. It works independently, meaning that a user does not have to connect it to a separate PC, but has the PC built into the headset, which has come a long way from the very first trial version.

This technology is the perfect example of an augmented reality technology because it has sensors that can detect objects within the real world and projects images that uses those objects to make it seem as if the image you see is real. As explained in the Verge article,

“This headset understands the objects in your living room, and it projects holograms into your eyes that don’t jerk around. I played a Conker game and the squirrel literally climbed up a coffee table and ran across pillows. It really felt, at times, like Conker was in the room with me.”

Microsoft’s first HoloLens currently has two versions: a development edition that is meant for developers to use in their work, and a commercial suite edition that is meant for business use. The development edition currently retails for $4,000 while the commercial suite retails for $6,669 [4].

Microsoft HoloLens Prototype Image Source [5]
Microsoft HoloLens Current Model Image Source [5]

Microsoft HoloLens is currently classified as an AR technology. However, with further development, this can be developed into a full VR experience if Microsoft decides to creates the complete gear to create a virtual experience. One of their biggest hits was the Minecraft game [6], which they also own. To showcase this, they had a demo of users playing the game through the use of the HoloLens by inserting a small video camera inside the lens to capture what the users can see.

Another great example is the Magic Leap technology which was founded by a company in Florida. This is an interesting company that created a technology that blends virtual images into the real world seamlessly, such that it becomes indistinguishable from reality. They describe their technology as a “...Dynamic Digitized Lightfield Signal™ imagine being able to generate images indistinguishable from real objects and then being able to place those images seamlessly into the real world” [7]. For an example of what it looks like, see below for a demo of Magic Leap Technology.

Magic Leap Demo

Augmented Reality in Mobile Gaming

Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go is a free, location-based augmented reality game developed by Niantic. The product was released for IOS, Android and Apple Watch devices on July 6th, 2016. The application utilizes the user’s mobile device’s GPS capability to locate, capture, battle and train virtual creatures, known as Pokémon. The Pokémon will appear on the smartphone, as seen through the user’s camera, to appear as if they were in the same real-world location as the player. This new application of AR brought the gaming experience and the development of AR into the mainstream. The app became the top grossing app in the US within 13 hours, increasing Nintendo’s market value by $9 billion in five days.[1] Pokémon Go has generated $35 million in revenue within a month’s timespan.[1] From July to August, it attracted 21 million users, equating to approximately 4 to 5 million downloads per day.[1] Sine the product’s launch it has changed the way smartphone users interact with the world and technology around them. The app has a worldwide appeal, playable in 26 countries, with an average play length throughout the day of 45 minutes. Additionally, 7 out of 10 users that download the game return to play the next day, in comparison to the average 3 of 10 retention rate, Pokémon Go has been extremely successful in marketing itself to its consumers.[1] Pokémon Go has been instrumental to circulating and communicating the importance of augmented reality to corporations, and spanning out to a wide variety of old and new gamers of a wide segmentation in regards to age, sex and income.

Augmented Reality in Clothing & Retail

Augmented reality has presented consumers with a new experience towards shopping for clothing. Augmented reality can embed product visualizations onto eCommerce platforms for consumers to use at home or in-store, revolutionizing the shopping experience.'s AR Dressing Room

The clothing company, Tobi, created the first real world version of an augmented reality dressing room. The product was released on in late 2009, by the developers Zugara RichRevelance. The developers have been a leading creator of innovative personalisation and product recommendation tools for many eCommerce sites such as, and[1] Tobi’s AR dressing room integrated their online webpage and clothing line to allow consumers to search through their product line, select individual products to virtually wear, and immediately rate the products by pressing a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” button seen on the screen with one’s own hand. [2] To try on the clothing one will need to adjust one’s position in accordance to the window seen on the computer screen. Then, one must print a Zugara marker to size the item and once the marker’s size fits with the user’s position the marker can be put down and the user can begin searching for clothing. The webpage had the capability to allow users to send images of themselves wearing the clothing to social media sites such as Facebook, to share with friends. [2]

The Sampler by Converse

The Sampler App by Converse was released in 2014.[3] The mobile app was seen as a pioneering and innovative technology in the footwear industry during the time. With the app’s success other footwear companies have began integrating themselves into the augmented world, such as Vans’ Virtual Footwear experience, which required consumers to step on footprints on a mat to virtually “try on” a 106 Hi, Authentic or Authentic Lo Pro.[3] Similarly, with Tobi’s application, The Sampler allows users to choose specific styles, try them on and share a picture of the product on the user’s foot on social media sites such as Facebook and products can be bought directly from Converse’s mobile webpage.[3]

Topshop’s AR Fitting Room
Topshop’s AR Fitting Room

Between May 5th to May 8th, 2011, Topshop released a trial augmented reality fitting room.[1] The product was installed at the flagman Topshop store in Moscow at the shopping centre European. The fitting room was built by Russian agency, and the AR door utilizes Microsoft Kinect, as the user can see themselves onscreen with a 3D copy of the clothing they wish to ‘try on’. The Kinect technology allows users to control the program by using basic hand gestures such as pushing to select virtual buttons and swiping to change or erase product details directly from where they are standing without touching any screens.[1] The built-in-cameras track the user’s body and inputs it under a 3D model of the item of clothing.[1] During this trial run it was the first in the world to deploy a virtual fitting room that allowed customers to see both the front and back parts of the clothing.[1]

IKEA's AR Catalog App

In 2013, IKEA released their AR Catalog app that was able to integrate the changes and reliability of technology among its consumes to IKEA’s ecommerce.[1] The product allowed consumers to visualize how IKEA furniture would look relative to their user’s current space. The app was applicable to both smartphones and tablets, and used the camera function to capture the images of one’s home to ‘place’ the product in.[2] Consumers were able to see how the fully furnished piece of furniture would look in their space, and allowing consumers to change the color of the product to better aid in the visualization and integration of the IKEA product.[3] The IKEA app will take into account the current surroundings and adjust the product to the product’s size in reality, and thus eliminating the need to measure the space and fitting size.[3] Over the years, many other developers, such as SnapShop, Fingo Furniture and iStaging, have created similar applications that are capable of listing a variety of corporations for the user to select from and with similar capabilities in regards to color and product selections and sizing abilities.[3]

Augmented Reality in Marketing & Print Media Marketing groups have been testing the popularity of augmented reality and its benefits towards garnering more consumers for nearly half a decade as smartphones have become the norm and popularized around the globe. Since the world’s first AR outdoor campaign seen through the Layar app to promote Jake Gyllenhaal’s Prince of Persia film in 2010, which featured one dimensional characters on the player’s smartphones and minimal interactions – mainly the app directing the player, narrating and providing product information, the application was not widely used.[4]

Prince of Persia and the Layar App
Layer for example, was established in 2009 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, has been working with marketing teams to bring augmented reality to the mainstream. In 2010, Layar was named by the World Economic Forum as being a Technology Pioneer for 2011.[1] Layar’s interactive print campaigns are seen through QR tags or locative games, such as fAR-Play; users will scan the page and begin to see the digital contents.[1]

Currently, as part of the Blippar group, Layar has become a global leading in augmented reality and interactive print.[1] Layar has collaborated with many of the world’s top brands including Pepsi Coco-Cola, Procter & Gamble, General Mills, Anheuser-Busch, Elle, Glamour, Honda and BMW to merge the two worlds of print and digital together, thus, creating a new interactive experience to all global consumers.[1]

Jurassic World Book

Jurassic World Book

The Jurassic World Book was released on May 14th, 2015 as a promotional product for the fourth installment of the Jurassic Park series, Jurassic World, released in June 2015.[1] The product was a 32-page augmented reality book that allowed users to have an interactive reading experience. The book featured many dinosaurs from the movie, providing users with facts and statics for the reader. The product was released by iCarlton AR, and the free app is downloadable for Apple and Android devices. The app allows users to connect with other players and allow them to roam their dinosaurs together and take photographs with friends.[2] As users play with the app dinosaurs can control the dinosaurs, make their roar and increase their sizes to the desired size.[2]

Augmented Reality in Navigation & Travel

Since the early 2010's augmented reality has provided a new experience to travel and learning, as users now have a variety of choices in their search for new places to visit, eat and shop, whether it is in a new city, or in their backyards, the following applications describe a new wave of learning and experiencing travel and navigation using augmented reality.

Field Trip App

Field Trip App

The Field Trip app was released in 2012, as part of Niantic Labs project at Google. During the application’s early development stages Google partnered with Zagat, Cool Hunting and many other companies to ensure only relevant information is shown to the user, and to develop sophisticated filters to allow an efficient result display.[1] As the app began to gain traction, new content partners such as the Public Art Archive and Dezeen, the art and architecture magazine began working with the application to allow users to adjust and filer the app to show less or more information depending on one’s interests and time constraints. [1]

As the user opens the app the application will automatically provide suggestions to the user for nearby places to visit. The application will provide the user with suggestions on places to visit, and the most popular and best places to shop and eat. Regarding tourism suggestions, the app includes information about the location, its history and current activities available at the location such as tour dates, available and costs. The application is capable of filtering locations in order to highlight places the user will most likely be interested in visiting. ‘Field Cards’ will allow the user to see and focus on what they are interested in such as art, history, or food in the area.[2] Field Trip can save places the user would like to visit again, capture personal memories and discoveries and share that information through social media sites.[2] Lastly, Field Trip can be used when the user is riding inside a vehicle; the application can automatically begin ‘talking’, and provide suggestions for nearby places to visit. [2]

Yelp AR App'

In the summer of 2009, Yelp released their own application as an exclusive for iPhone 3GS owners.[3] The feature was accessible through an Easter egg, activated by the user when the smartphone device was shaken three times.[3] Afterwards a message will appear acknowledging the application’s activation. A Monocle button will appear on the upper-right corner, which will launch the smartphone’s camera and the screen will begin to show pop-ups of business listings, with star ratings on the screen.

Currently, the Yelp app is available for Apple, Android, Windows and the Amazon Kindle.[4] The application integrated all of its standard features such as directions to nearby restaurants, the ability to view the menus, read and write reviews for the location, add and view photos taken by other users, and make reservations directly through Yelp’s OpenTable feature on the application.[3]

Wikitude Drive App

Wikitude Drive App

The Wikitude Drive app was released in 2010, it became the first pedestrian and car navigation system that had the capability of providing the user with an augmented reality display. Wikitude Drive was created by Mobilizy, an augmented reality app corporate developer. Mobilizy has developed apps for iPhone Android and Nokia in the past.[1] Wikitude Navigation has been called a “revolutionary step forward” in the industry of navigation and guidance world.[2] Wikitude has received awards such as the “Galileo Master 2010” of the European Satellite Navigation Competition, “Global Champion” of the NAVTEQ LBS Challenge and Winner of the “World Summit Award 2010” for their achievements in the AR navigation system sector.[2] The navigation app uses GPS to locate the user and provides audio prompts for directing the user.[2]

The benefits of utilizing augmented reality in navigation and travel is that it provides the user with information without eliminating real world activities. Wikitude’s augmented reality application allows the user to see a map with a list of directions, estimated arrival times and travel lengths without losing sight of what is in front of the vehicle, such as pedestrians, children, animals or street signs when using the application.

Augmented Reality: Future Applications

Sony Memory Playback Contact Lenses [3]

If you have seen the Netflix series [Black Mirror] you have probably been exposed to their vision recording memory implants that allow you to playback key moments in your life. Although not as invasive, both Samsung and Sony have filed patents for AR contact lenses that allow similar capabilities to this. [Samsung’s contacts] can record videos, take photos, and connect with Wi-Fi signals to interact with other smart devices. While [Sony’s contacts] can record whatever you see, and store it within the memory chip embedded into the contact so you can playback your favourite memories.

Texas Instruments DLP Projection Windsheilf [4]

Alongside this new AR equipment, Tesla is also rumored to be [incorporating AR] into their vehicles’ windshields. They have recently hired Andrew Kim, the Lead Designer of Microsoft’s Hololens and Yekeun Jeong who has worked on the Hololens as well. Although the concept of an AR windshield has been present for many years using [projection technology], infusing AR into the windshield will be a new aspect that has never been seen before.

Augmented Reality in Crime Scene Investigations

Crime scene investigation by Dutch Police using Augmented Reality to collect key evidence [5]

Dutch police officers are also testing out the usage of augmented reality to streamline the [crime scene] investigation process. As the first response team for 911 calls attend to their emergency, the footage recorded on an officer’s chest camera is streamed to head quarters for the investigators and forensic specialists to locate sites of key evidence, identify potential toxic chemicals, or even a suspect hiding. Arrows and footnotes are placed within the footage using AR to signal where officers should go to, in order to collect DNA samples, and other forms of evidence used to solve a case. Leading to a faster, easier, and more accurate crime scene investigation process.

New Forms of Marketing

As this technology becomes commercialized for public usage, companies will need to develop a means to market on these new platforms. A few marketing concepts below will discuss this application.
BP Logo Hack prompted by Deepwater Horizon oil spill [6]

Digital Graffiti

A new concept that a company’s public relations team will need to watch out for, is the concept of digital graffiti. Due to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Mark Skwarek a digital vigilante, released an AR app that automatically creates a graphic overlay on the BP logo (at gas stations or other geotagged locations) of a broken pipe spewing out oil. Not all digital graffiti efforts are bad though! Other users have reported forms of digital graffiti art pieces that enhance and add to one’s surroundings. Companies can leverage this concept to control the creation of digital graffiti in order to promote and benefit their brands, before other people decide to create it for them

Tour guides

Layar, Trip advisor, Wikitude, and many other applications already allow you to create a graphic overlay to help with navigation and finding locations for food, transport, and activities using geotagged sensors to prompt a pop up within an app in your mobile phone.
Trip Advisor's navigation using Augmented Reality [7]
Using an avatar as a tour guide, trigged by geotagged locations on the route you are walking [8]

Imagine instead of free walking tours, travel destinations handed you a card containing a map and highlighted route on one side, and an AR tour guide avatar on another side. As you look through your mobile device and walk through the destinations specified on the map, it automatically triggers the geotagged locations to have the avatar explain certain travel destinations and their historical importance. This concept uses technologies that are already available, which is why we foresee that this will be the direction of free walking tours in the future.


Butterflies for catching discounts located in central shopping districts [9]

With applications like [Groupon] and [SocialShopper] being a very popular platform for companies to provide discounts to potential customers, the mobile app [|iButterfly] allows you to catch butterflies located in a central business district to provide discounts for stores nearby. Marketers will now need to find fun ways of advertising and providing discounts to consumers (that do not involve spamming someone’s email inbox). Consumers on the other hand will also need to become more cognizant of what is actually an advertisement as these fun ways for brands to interact with users will make it even more difficult for users to distinguish between games and sponsored content.


You may be aware of the music artist [Hatsune Miku] who is a completely computer generated pop-star that has sold out shows. She is essentially a performing hologram, and others have used this technology to create a graphic overlay that brought the rapper [Tupac back to life]. A Japanese rapper named [Seeda], also used a form of graphic overlay to market the release of his new album. To promote his album, he distributed each track on his album for free, among different geotagged locations around Japan which included a short description of why each location was special to him. Users used the Layar app to locate his songs and by the time the users found all of his tracks, his album became the #1 selling album in the market.

Radical Redemption [10]

[Radical Redemption], a [Hardstyle] artist has also incorporated VR into his DJ sets by allowing users to experience a [back-stage, VIP experience] all from the comfort of their own home. This concept completely changes a concert live streaming experience by allowing users to fully immerse themselves into the show! With all these examples of the music industry adopting AR & VR technologies, marketers will need to be able to understand the power of AR/VR capabilities and use it to leverage their talent pool.

New Forms of Education

Classroom Experience

Classroom application of Augmented Reality to Understand Astronomy [11]
Learning about the Human Body using Augmented Reality [12]

As a child, understanding concepts like astronomy or how the human body functions can be a very daunting task. Using AR to view the entire solar system, and interacting with the planets, stars, and other celestial beings by selecting these entities in your vision can help students better understand how they behave in that environment. Although there are lifelike models that are similar to how a human body works, if students are able to point their smart devices at a human and have the screen reflect which organs or bones are located where in the body, it will completely revolutionize the classroom experience.

Do It Yourself (DIY) & Maintenance

Range Rover's Do It Yourself Car Maintenance [13]
Cooking with Augmented Reality [14]

Products are built to last a few years, and consumers are encouraged to throw it out and purchase new models of what they were previously using. This system our society is accustomed to currently produces a lot of waste due to this unsustainable model of living. In order to reduce our waste production, companies can use AR in order to encourage users to fix their products by providing step-by-step instructions using your mobile device to highlight the areas needed to be fixed. Learning hands on skills such as [cooking can use AR] to provide step by step instructions on how to make a particular meal, while highlighting what ingredients you need to grab, and what motions to knead/ stir/ mix your food at.


Rideon Goggles
RideON Ski Goggles using Augmented Reality to supplement the skiing or snowboarding experience [1]

Extreme sports can also use AR to help users gamify how a sport may be learned. [RideOn’s] VR Goggles does this by allowing snowboarders and skiers the ability to identify members in their party, create AR ski gates, and map out their terrain. By allowing these capabilities, users will feel more comfortable with these extreme sports and be able to improve their sporting skills. There are currently flight simulators that double as exercise machines to help users adjust to extreme situations that they may need to encounter in real-life as well. With experiencing this in game, or in a simulated world, users will be better equipped to deal with the real-life scenarios of when these situations may be encountered.

Field trips/ museums

Usage of Augmented Reality at Museums to have displays explain their history significance or importance [2]
Using Augmented Reality at Archeology Exhibits to have the dinosaur fossils come to life and teach users about themselves [3]

Instead of putting on a headset and following along a path in a museum to hear about each display’s historical significance, imagine walking through a museum and having the displays explain to you themselves, what role they played in history, who their creator is, and why they are important. This interactive way of progressing through display areas where users are meant to learn about each display can completely change the way customers attend art exhibits, [archeology locations ], museums, and even amusement parks!

Virtual Reality: Current & Future Applications

Virtual Reality: Current Applications

Military Education and Training

Currently, VR technology has been used in Military training in America. Including flight simulation, battlefield simulation and Medic training. [4] The flight simulations can put soldiers into different virtual programs, so that they can learn how to react based on the special situations. These situations include emergency cases that require soldiers to be fully prepared for worst case scenario. Flight simulations provide features that are not typically avilable through life training and gives constant feedback as well. [5] Soldiers can be fully immersed in battlefield simulations that can help develop better reactions. Based on different scenarios, soldiers can train their senses to be fully aware of what to expect in the real life without the risk of actual harm. The three dimension environment allows soldiers to move and interact with the environment. [5] The medical portion in military training is also an important part. Soldiers are required to deal with different types of injuries. Medical training can help medics focus on the most important things during a battle,the order of tasks and how to eliminate the confusion and hesitation.

Medical Education and Training

VR surgical training can be used as a learning tool for new medics before performing surgeries in real life. It enables trainees to learn and practice on a virtual patient without the risks of making any mistakes. This is also useful for surgeons who wish to improve their current skill set or refresh old skills in a safe and predictable environment. [6] For now, surgical simulators are often used as a supplementary training experience rather than primary training tools. The surgical simulators can put users inside an operating room and provide different scenarios and difficulties based on the users’ choices. There are lots of benefits of having VR as a training tool. Some studies have indicated that the use of this training has help to reduce suture time and increase surgeon accuracy. These applications can record every step the users make and provide professional feedback. Based on the feedback, users could try different ways to perform the surgeries again. This way, can compare the different outcomes and make decisions based on that. Also, these applications can be used at any time and place. These applications provide a safe, controlled area with stronger educational experiences for the new medics. This is also a good way to help new medics build their confidence.

VR technology can also be used in psychology. Psychiatrists at the university of Louisville use VR in cognitive behavior therapy to treat patients with social anxieties or phobias, such as like flying and public speaking. [7]

Virtual Reality: Personal Use


[8] [9] [10]

Alibaba's Buy+

In November 2016, Alibaba launched full VR shopping experience with Buy+. This application allows customers to browse the items in a virtual mall as if they were in an actual shopping mall. Customers can make real-time purchases while they are using Buy+ through Alipay which is also developed by Alibaba. Once users connect their credit cards with Alipay account, there is no need to take off the headset to finish the payments. They just need to confirm their payments in the application while they are shopping. Buy+ is a new technology Alibaba developed aimed at blending entertainment with e-commerce to make shopping more entertaining for customers. Buy+ can be used on Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.



VR game gives a virtual environment where people can be fully immersed in. For the gaming products, there are 3 high-end headsets: the Oculus Rift, Playstation VR and HTC Vive. Oculus Rift belongs to Facebook. It has its own game store. By using Playstation VR, you can buy games from Sony Playstation game store. Users can use HTC Vive to play the games on Steam. Steam is an big online store for computer games. Currently, Resident Evil 7’s demo had been launched on Steam. This game will have 2 versions. People can choose to play it as a VR game or PC game. For the VR version, people will need to have a VR headset and 2 hand controllers.

VR Gaming Products
Oculus Rift
Playstation VR
HTC Vive
-A headset - "Rift"
-A pair of controllers - "Touch"
-An Oculus Sensor
-A headset
-A pair of controllers
-A headset
-2 base station
-Flexible use in different area
-Low latency
-Most comfortable set
-Compatible with Samsung GALAXY smartphones [2]
Share games from Sony Game Store
-Software partnership with Valve
Best VR experience[5]
$799 $399 $800

Virtual Reality: Future Applications

Personal Trainers

Wii Fit was a big hit when it first came out because as many new technologies are released, it promoted users to become stationary and immobile. Wii Fit allowed users to become more active and move while interacting with technology. As [Conan shows] us with his trip to Youtube studios, personal trainers can be used not only for an interactive boxing experience but also to provide a trainer to help you exercise and plan out a workout regime for you. This disruptive technology will eliminate a portion of real-life personal trainers that may be found on Instagram or at the gym.

Gaming Integration

Games such as [Minecraft] currently allows the Oculus VR headset game play to [connect PC-based gaming systems], in the future we foresee more integration of VR headsets to PC-based games such as Skyrim, Dota, and other online Massively Multiplayer Online-Role Playing Games (MMORPG). Although the Minecraft connection is only available through the windows-based PC version as opposed to the Java-based version, VR will soon incorporate more languages to allow an easier integration and adoption among current technologies. This gaming experience will also be supplemented by VR accessories such as the battlefield guns, [360 degree treadmills], hand sensors, and body suits! Providing a seamless transition from PC games to

Facebook's VR Demo

Social Media Platforms

Ever since Facebook acquired Oculus VR in 2014, they have been making many advancements in the VR space. As you may know, Facebook is infamous for collecting data on their users, but not many people are aware what this data is being collected for. With [Oculus’ Connect 2016] event, Facebook launched their new [VR social media platform] where avatars can host virtual meetings, play chess or sword fight, take a VR selfie using a selfie stick, transport themselves into other virtual worlds using 360 degree videos, and much more!

These avatars use facial recognition data collected from the generous amounts of photos uploaded by Facebook users, in order to create better facial expressions that mimic how humans would display this. Sentiment analysis is also used to decipher how users are feeling via text, which will trigger avatars to have a specific emotional response. As these avatars operate in a VR world, it’s amazing to see how the 360 degree videos that Facebook enables on their social media platform being used to create these new worlds for a VR meeting. There is always room for improvement with these avatars regarding unspoken body language and an avatar's ability to display this, however with the advancements Facebook has made already, the future for this type of social media platform is very optimistic.

Convergence of Technologies

First cell phone compared to one of the first VR head sets [1] [2]

You may remember how the first mobile device created resembled a brick that was so big, it required a briefcase for you to carry around? We believe that many of the current VR headsets are at this stage of development. As more advancements and product iterations in this field are made, the equipment that allows this technology to be possible will eventually become sleeker, more fashionable, and allow users to switch in between and out of AR and VR viewing.

Check out [this list] of companies developing sleeker AR smart glasses!

Augmented and Virtual Reality Job Prospects

As these new technologies are being adopted more frequently by consumers, [Forbes] reported that LinkedIn ([VR] & [AR]) and ([VR] & [AR]) have both seen increases in job postings available in this field. SmartRecruiters' CEO reported that in 2014, they have seen 2 job VR opportunities available per every 1 million postings. By 2016, this number increased to 19 VR jobs per 1 million postings, an 800% increase in postings. Top companies requesting AR and VR jobs are: Facebook, Oculus, Google, Samsung, Apple, Sony, and many more. A few job positions that we have identified, and will also be popular in the future will consist of:

  1. Product Developer / Technical Specialist – This involves augmented / virtual reality engineers and people who understand hardware aspects of product development as well as the back-end data behind it.
  2. UX and UI Developer – people that are familiar with how users will interact and experience your software (front-end applications), will help companies determine the best way to provide their services to users.
  3. 3D Designers/Rendering Professional – Individuals that can create 3D avatars and graphic overlays, as well as those who can transfer 2D imaging to 3D displays will be beneficial for companies who will try to optimize for this new technology
  4. AR & VR Marketing Professionals – due to the commercialization of these technologies, company’s need to be able to better equip their marketing departments to advertise effectively with these new tools of communication
  5. Spatial Sound Designer (Bone Conduction Headphones?) – VR provides a fully immersive experience. Being able to better place sounds will help this experience become more realistic. Eventually, incorporating the other senses such as touch (which is being worked on right now) and smell, will enable users to fully immerse themselves into the VR worlds.
  6. Motion Control Integration – Both with how users use their body to interact with the system as well as the smaller details such as peripheral vision motion detectors for AR & VR glasses.
  7. Motion Sickness/ Adaptability Coaches – We’ve all seen the videos of people falling over or freaking out due to something they’re experiencing in an AR or VR game. With the rise of this technology, will be someone to help users get used to and integrate this technology into their lives

Although job postings currently are revolving around back-end development, as AR and VR technologies become more commercialized by companies, the amount of job opportunities for this will also increase to reflect the demand for these skill sets.

Augmented & Virtual Reality: Future Risks & Implications

Health Concerns

Virtual Reality


The issue of vision impairment caused by virtual reality headsets is still uncertain. Some experts are fearful that the amount of work the eyes need to do in order to make sense of the images can cause them to overwork and over compensate to a point where it damages the eyes. Since the image is projected from two screens, the eyes need to converge, or look closer towards the nose, in order to view the two screens as one. Doing so can cause extreme convergence, which can lead to going crossed-eye.[3] In addition, looking at a screen that is that close to the eye may develop myopia, or nearsightedness. However, others argue that virtual reality headsets are really not that harmful and is better than looking at a phone screen. [4]

Children Using VR
Warning for Children in the Oculus Rift’s Health and Safety manual [5]

The question of whether children should be using virtual reality headset also comes into play when considering health concerns. Sony, HTC and Samsung advise that children under the age of 13 should not use their VR headsets. Children under the age of 13 are still in a critical development phase of their vision. [6] Current research is inconclusive and there is no actual proof that VR is any more harmful than looking at a phone or computer screen closely.

Motion Sickness

Many users reported feeling nausea, headaches and disorientation when using virtual reality headsets. Some users may already be sensitive to motion, such as being on a boat, and therefore will likely feel the same symptoms when using a VR headset. However, motion sickness can still occur when the images lag and do not match the movement of the user. [7]

Augmented Reality

The main concern of augmented reality is distraction. Even though users of augmented reality are not fully immersed as virtual reality users are, it can still cause them to ignore the hazards of navigating around the real world. In addition, augmented reality can cause an individual to “misjudge the speed of oncoming cars and underestimate [their] reaction time”[8]

Ethical Issues

Virtual Reality


This occurs when someone is “no longer affected by extreme acts of behavior such as violence and fails to show empathy or compassion as a result.” [9] This has been noticed in first shooter games, where the experience is extremely immersive. The main argument here is that desensitization can lead to gamers committing crimes outside of the virtual world. There is no currently no scientific proof or link between playing violent virtual reality games and committing crimes in real life.

Virtual Criminality

Users committing crimes in the virtual environment can pose a huge problem. The issue of how to punish the perpetrator is still in question. For Jordan Belamire, a woman that was virtually harassed while playing the virtual reality game QuiVR, being harassed in virtual reality feels just the same as it does in real life.[10] Virtual reality games can be so immersive that the user may not be able to tell apart virtual life from real life. This can have lasting ramifications on the individual who is assaulted. The question of how to punish the ones that commit the crime is complex. According to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, assault and harassment is defined as “unwelcome physical contact, such as touching, patting, pinching or punching”. In order for an individual to be punished for assault or harassment, there has to be physical touch between the victim and perpetrator.

Augmented Reality

With wearable technology such as the Google glass, Snapchat glasses and the possible release of Sony’s patented contact lenses, issues of recording and cheating can come up. It can be difficult to tell who is wearing these products and even more difficult to tell when these products are in use.


  1. Goodwin, R. (2016, Nov 16). The History of Mobile Phones From 1973 To 2008: The Handsets That Made It ALL Happen. Retrieved from Know Your Mobile:
  2. Shilov, A. (2016, Jan 7). Oculus VR Reveals Retail Price of Its Virtual Reality Headset: $599. Retrieved from AnandTech:
  3. Hill, S. (2016, April 23). Is VR too Dangerous for Kids? We asked the Experts. Retrieved Dec 5, 2016, from Digital Trends:
  4. Hill, S. (2016, April 23). Is VR too Dangerous for Kids? We asked the Experts. Retrieved Dec 5, 2016, from Digital Trends:
  5. Oculus. (n.d.). Health and Safety Warnings. Retrieved from Oculus :
  6. Mundy, J. (2016, May 3). Is VR really Dangerous for Kids? Retrieved Dec 5, 2016, from TrustedReviews:
  7. Pappas, S. (2016, April 20). Why Does Virtual Reality Make Some People Sick? Retrieved Dec 5, 2016, from LiveScience:
  8. Lam, R. Sabelman, E. (2015, June 23). The Real-Life Dangers of Augmented Reality. Retrieved Dec 5, 2016 from the Spectrum:
  9. Virtual Reality Society. Retrieved Dec 5, 2016, from
  10. Wong, J. (2016, October 26). Sexual harassment in virtual reality feels all too real – ‘its’s creepy beyond creepy’. Retrieved Dec 5, 2016, from the Guardian:
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