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How Well Do You Know Augmented Reality?

Michelle Ross


Augmented reality is older than your grandparents. It has a “net worth” far surpassing the richest billionaire in the world. And, it’s undergone more makeovers and wardrobe transformations than any performer you can name. Augmented reality is an enigma with a future that has yet to be written. We’ve compiled a short quiz on the history and current events of augmented reality to put your knowledge to the test. How well do you know augmented reality?

1. When was the first recorded reference to augmented reality? (It wasn’t called augmented reality at the time.)

A. 1901: In the novel The Master Key by L. Frank Baum (author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz). A demon gives the protagonist glasses called a “Character Marker” which reveals a letter on other people’s foreheads. G for good, E for evil, W for wise, F for foolish, etc. 

B. 1884: In advertisements for Ringling Brothers World's Greatest Shows. Visitors could look into spectacles to see black crow-like wings branching out of the back of Leila, the Flying Wiley Wild Cat (a normal female tiger).

C. 1962: In internal Disney documents for an amusement attraction at Disneyland, California. Audience members could watch a slapstick comedy of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck operating a tugboat. In addition to enduring foul smells, splashing water, and vibrating seats, the  audience wore plastic glasses and witnessed 4D objects flying through space.

2. In 2018,  Apple’s ARKit and Google's ARCore brought augmented reality to the mobile devices of how many consumers worldwide?

A. Approx. 3 million

B. Over 500 million

C. Approx. 500 thousand

D. Almost 1.2 billion

3. When was augmented reality shown on television for the first time?

A. Starting in 1987, the NFL began to draw a virtual yellow line at the 1st and 10th down.

B. In 1983, the local San Francisco news station (KGO-TV owned by ABC) aired a news clip with a red pen marking a crime scene.

C. A 1981 Milwaukee weather report where radar data was overlaid on a map showing the rain/cloud forecast. 

4. The combined markets for augmented and virtual reality reached $16.8 billion USD by the end of 2019.

A. True 

B. False

5. Who coined the term “Augmented Reality” to describe overlaying virtual objects over reality?

A. NASA engineer Jim Saunders when he designed an eyewear that showed the schematics for a circuit board for technicians to use in lieu of training. 

B. Software engineer Claude Renard when he designed a helmet for a video game that turned ordinary rooms into fantastical landscapes (albeit with elementary computer graphics).

C. Boeing researcher Tom Caudell when he created a headset device that displayed a diagram for threading wires so technicians no longer had to glance back and forth to instruction manuals. 

6. Which is widely considered the first AR/VR headset?

A. “Lucy,” a reference to “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” created by a team of computer scientists at Stanford in 1978. The large headset showed an augmented view of the ground and objects in the sky for aircraft pilots during training.

B. “The Sword of Damocles” created by Ivan Sutherland in 1968. The glasses were encased in heavy machinery fastened to a wall with a mechanical arm and displayed simple wireframe rooms.

C. “Star 1200” from the company Vuzix founded by government contractor Paul Travers in 1991. The device showed targeting systems like bulls-eye to help snipers aim.

7. Snapchat brought augmented reality to the phones of millions of users with its features Geofilters and Lenses. Which of these answers about Snapchat is false? 

A. Co-founder Evan Spiegel came up with the idea of disappearing photos due to a long-distance relationship with his college girlfriend in 2010.

B. Snapchat was originally called Picaboo and was launched with little hype in 2011.

C. At the end of 2019, over 210 million people used Snapchat everyday.

D. Those who use Snapchat spend approximately 26 minutes a day on the app.

8. Augmented reality experiences are far more affordable and accessible for consumers using mobile devices versus wearables. In 2019, the average cost of a smartphone was $475 in North America, a device most working-age consumers consider a necessity to function in the digital age. As of first quarter 2020, Microsoft’s wearable HoloLens can be purchased for how much USD?

A. $4,999

B. $2,750

C. $499

D. $3,500

9. Which of these advertisement campaigns using augmented reality never happened?

A. In order to promote its fifth season, The Walking Dead placed an ad inside a bus stop shelter that live-streamed the street behind the glass but superimposed zombies coming to attack those waiting under the shelter.

B. Yoplait’s Trix Yogurt turned their lids into scannable barcodes that animated the Trix rabbit and created yogurt splatter on real surroundings as seen via cellphone. 

C. Absolut Vodka turned their neck tag into a code for people to scan and witness the tag transform into a video showing a 3D tour of its hometown (the swedish village Åhus) and how the vodka was made. 

D. Lacoste let users pretend to try out different shoes by holding their phone over their feet after scanning a special Lacoste icon.

10.  Which of these movies does not show characters using (fictional) augmented reality?

A. Minority Report

B. True Lies

C. Robocop

D. Predator

11. Pokémon Go, a mobile gaming device, introduced augmented reality to millions of people, but did not do which of the following?

A. Forced people to get off their couch or floor and into the real world to exercise.

B. By increasing foot-traffic, brought new consumers to locally-owned businesses.

C. Allowed people with disabilities to play competitively in an interactive mobile game where other games had not provided these opportunities before.

D. Increased pedestrian- and traffic-related accidents/fatalities from people holding their phone and not paying attention to their surroundings.

12.  What is the correct order of events concerning the below wearables?

I. Magic Leap launched their product Magic Leap One in the U.S.

II. Snap Spectacles by Snapchat (now Snap Inc.) became available for purchase online

III. Microsoft HoloLens AR headset ready to ship

IV. Steve Mann created the concept EyeTap

V. Amazon debuted their wearables Echo Frames bringing Alexa to your eyes

VI. Google launched prototype of Google Glass 


A. I, V, III, IV, VI, II

B. IV, III, I, II, VI, V

C. IV, VI, III, II, I, V

D. III, IV, VI, I, V, II

13.  Authentic augmented reality was brought to the entertainment industry for the first time when?

A. In 1994, a theater production written and produced by Julie Martin had acrobats dance around and between projected virtual objects on the stage.

B. In 2005, Esquire made their pages pop with animation for a feature on Will Smith promoting I, Robot. One just had to hold the magazine up to a computer’s webcam. 

C. In 1999, Icelandic singer Björk and The Brodsky Quartet performed at the Union Chapel in London where effects to compliment the music video on screen were projected into the air.

14. One of 14 people in the entire world are augmented reality users.

A. True

B. False

15. Ario, a workforce empowerment platform that utilizes augmented reality, does which of the following?

A. Allows you to video call and share information on the mobile device using augmented reality from an icon library.

B. Allows you to create spatial documentation interacting with the real world that will increase your team’s situational awareness.

C. Allows scalability and adaptability of product to meet your business needs and provide a seamless, friendly, and flexible user experience. 

D. All of the above.

Answer Key:

  1. A 1901: In the novel The Master Key by L. Frank Baum (author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz). A demon gives the protagonist glasses called a “Character Marker” which reveals a letter on other people’s foreheads. G for good, E for evil, W for wise, F for foolish, etc.  Source
The Master Key by L. Frank Baum

2. B  Over 500 million Source

3. C A 1981 Milwaukee weather report where radar data was overlaid on a map showing the rain/cloud forecast.  Source

4. A True Source

5. C Boeing researcher Tom Caudell when he created a headset device that displayed a diagram for threading wires so technicians no longer had to glance back and forth to instruction manuals.  Source

Tom Caudell

6. B "The Sword of Damocles” created by Ivan Sutherland in 1968. The glasses were encased in heavy machinery fastened to a wall with a mechanical arm and displayed simple wireframe rooms.  Source

Ivan Sutherland

7. A Co-founder Evan Spiegel came up with the idea of disappearing photos due to a long-distance relationship with his college girlfriend in 2010. Source & Source

Snapchat AR lens

8. D $3,500 Source & Source

HoloLens 2

9. B Yoplait’s Trix Yogurt turned their lids into scannable barcodes that animated the Trix rabbit and created yogurt splatter on real surroundings as seen via cellphone.  Source & Source

10. B True Lies Source

AR in Minority Report

11. Allowed people with disabilities to play competitively in an interactive mobile game where other games had not provided these opportunities before. Source

Pokémon Go

12. C  IV, VI, III, II, I, V(Sources from all the above)

Steve Mann created the concept EyeTap (1999)

Google launched prototype of Google Glass (2014)

Microsoft HoloLens AR headset ready to ship (2016)

Snap Spectacles by Snapchat (now Snap Inc.) became available for purchase online (2017)

Magic Leap launched their product Magic Leap One in the U.S. (2018)

Amazon debuted their wearables Echo Frames bringing Alexa to your eyes (2019)

13. A In 1994, a theater production written and produced by Julie Martin had acrobats dance around and between projected virtual objects on the stage. Source

14. B  False Source One out of seven people are AR users

15. D All of the above. Source

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