Thanks to the media hype and attention for augmented and virtual reality, it can be easy to believe that these innovations are the result of modern technologies. The truth is, however, that AR/VR tech has been long in development; well over a century in fact.

In the early years of the 19th century, inventors began building off of what modern science and medicine understood about the human eye. In 1838, a culmination of this understanding proved fruitful with the first ever stereoscope invented by Charles Wheatstone. Relying on a simple design, a pair of images, and a little imagination, viewers were able to witness a seemingly distant 3D image. But this was just the beginning. It wasn’t until the mid 20th century though that the technology really took off. Global fascination with futuristic tech and aesthetics spurred scientists on to develop ideas that were truly ahead of their time, often left to wait for technologies to catch up to their visions.

The tech behind virtual and augmented reality may be older than you think, and without those developments, VR as we know it today may not exist. Take a look at this infographic for more on the history of AR/VR, its humble beginnings, and how its past iterations inspire developments today.

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