Skip to main content

Augmented Reality: Reflections at Thirty Years

Part of the Lecture Notes in Networks and Systems book series (LNNS,volume 358)


Three decades ago in a small lab at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, the first functional augmented reality (AR) system was formally tested on groups of human subjects, each of them experiencing for the first time, virtual objects that were seamlessly merged into their perception of the real world. The system, known as the Virtual Fixtures platform, produced virtual overlays that felt physically real and were spatially registered with such precision, they could be used to significantly boost human performance in dexterous real-world tasks. Now three decades later, the principal investigator of that early effort reflects on the initial lessons learned, the unexpected delays in achieving widespread adoption of AR, and future prospects for the field as it goes mainstream.


  • Augmented Reality
  • Virtual reality
  • Mixed reality
  • XR
  • VR
  • AR

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-89906-6_1
  • Chapter length: 11 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
USD   219.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-89906-6
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   279.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Fig. 1.
Fig. 2.
Fig. 3.
Fig. 4.
Fig. 5.


  1. Rosenberg, L.: The Use of Virtual Fixtures as Perceptual Overlays to Enhance Operator Performance. United States Air Force Technical Report ADA292450, p. 52 (1992). Approved for Public Release.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Burke, E., Cook, T.: AR will Pervade Our Entire Lives. Silicon Republic (2020)

    Google Scholar 

  3. Gurman, M.: Apple's Secretive AR and VR Headset Plans Altered by Internal Differences. Bloomberg News (2020)

    Google Scholar 

  4. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Market by Technology and Geography - Forecast and Analysis 2021–2025, pp. 1–120. TechNavio (2021)

    Google Scholar 

  5. Maida, J., Bowen, C., Montpool, A., Pace, J.: Dynamic registration correction in augmented-reality systems. Space Life Sci. NASA (2013). archived 18 May 2013

    Google Scholar 

  6. Kramer, J., Leifer, L.: The talking glove: An expressive and receptive ‘Verbal’ communication aid for the deaf, deaf-blind, and non-vocal. In: Technical Report, Stanford University, Dept. of Electrical Engineering, Stanford, CA (1989)

    Google Scholar 

  7. Chapin, W., Kramer, J., Haas, C., Leifer, L., Macken, E.: TeleSign: a sign language telecommunication system. In: Proceedings of Johns Hopkins National Search for Computing Applications to Assist Persons with Disabilities, Laurel, MD, USA, pp. 2–4 (1992)

    Google Scholar 

  8. Chapin, W., Foster, S.: Virtual environment display for a 3D audio room simulation. In: Proceedings SPIE 1669, Stereoscopic Displays and Applications III (1992).

  9. McDowall, I.E., Bolas, M.T., Pieper, S.D., Fisher, S.S., Humphries, J.: Implementation and integration of a counterbalanced CRT-based stereoscopic display for interactive viewpoint control in virtual-environment applications. In: Proceedings SPIE 1256, Stereoscopic Displays and Applications, (1 September 1990) (1990).

  10. Bolas, M.: Human factors in the design of an immersive display. IEEE Comput. Graphics Appl. 14(1), 55–59 (1994).

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  11. MacKenzie, I.S.: Fitts’s law as a research and design tool in human–computer interaction. Hum. Comp. Interact. 7, 91–139 (1992)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  12. Rosenberg, L.: Virtual fixtures. In: Proceedings of IEEE Virtual Reality Annual International Symposium, Seattle, WA, USA, pp. 76–82 (1993)

    Google Scholar 

  13. Rosenberg, L.: Virtual fixtures as tools to enhance operator performance in telepresence environments. In: Proceedings SPIE 2057, Telemanipulator Technology and Space Telerobotics (1993).

  14. Rosenberg, L., Adelstein, B.: Perceptual decomposition of virtual haptic surfaces. In: Proceedings of 1993 IEEE Research Properties in Virtual Reality Symposium, San Jose, CA, USA, pp. 46–53 (1993).

  15. Rosenberg, L.: “Virtual fixtures,” Ph.D. Thesis, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University (1994)

    Google Scholar 

  16. “Force feedback joystick,” NASA technology transfer program. (1997)

  17. Rosenberg, L.: Design of a virtual rigid surface: haptic/audio registration. In: Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 1994). Association for Computing Machinery, NY, NY, USA, 257–258 (1994).

  18. Gartner Says 100 Million Consumers Will Shop in Augmented Reality Online and In-Store by 2020. (2019)


Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Louis B. Rosenberg .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2022 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this paper

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this paper

Rosenberg, L.B. (2022). Augmented Reality: Reflections at Thirty Years. In: Arai, K. (eds) Proceedings of the Future Technologies Conference (FTC) 2021, Volume 1. FTC 2021. Lecture Notes in Networks and Systems, vol 358. Springer, Cham.

Download citation