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Defense was the first application sector for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), as far back as the 1950s. Based on such early developments, the first consumer AR/VR boom expanded in the early 1990s and contracted considerably throughout that decade, a poster child of a technology ahead of its time and also ahead of its markets. However, due to the lack of available consumer display technologies and related sensors, novel optical display concepts were introduced throughout the 90s that are still considered as state of the art, such as the “Private Eye” smart glass from Reflection Technology (1989) and the “Virtual Boy” from Nintendo (1995)—both based on scanning displays rather than flat-panel displays. Although such display technologies were well ahead of their time, the lack of consumer-grade IMU sensors, low-power 3D-rendering GPUs, and wireless data transfer technologies contributed to the end of this first VR boom. The other reason was the lack of digital content, or rather the lack of a clear vision of adapted AR/VR content for enterprise or consumer spaces.
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