It's already happening: a new layer of reality can be seen everywhere around us – from Pokemon Go, the smartphone game, with its mysterious creatures roaming the streets of our cities, to medical software, where surgeons can actually peer inside the human body. Learn how augmented reality apps can be used by police officers, artists, writers and college students. Discover new AR gadgets - from special LED displays to powerful and lightweight holographic headsets. Listen to our special series "Parallel Universe: How Augmented Reality Is Changing People's Lives."
In 2015 Google introduced Google Glass, adding an extra visual layer to people's reality. The project was terminated shortly after, following heated debates over privacy issues. However, it didn't stop other companies from developing their own augmented reality gadgets.
While augmented reality is becoming a very popular tool for video game developers, its capabilities go well beyond digital entertainment. Doctors use AR to study the human body and police are testing AR-enabled body cameras for crime scene investigation.
In 2016 the augmented reality game Pokemon Go became a global phenomenon and an extremely profitable mobile app. However, the game's developer Niantic wasn't first in creating an alternate digital layer of reality, which captured the imagination of gaming fans worldwide.
Augmented reality is now being used in dozens of applications – in space exploration, medicine, video games and archaeology. But even though it relies heavily on today's technology, AR, which adds extra visual layers to reality, was first mentioned way before the invention of TVs, computers and smartphones.