Oh, the world of dreaming: what if…, if only… the virtually endless possibilities of the human imagination have been growing in our minds since the very beginning of our existence and define us very much as a specie. Actually, our ability to think abstractly and not just language is what make us so special among the rest of beings. Apes perform outstandingly naming their surrounding reality but can never grasp the concept or idea of another world. But we can, and we’ve doing it non-stop since cave-people decided to cheer up their reality by painting their home walls.
Mankind got tired soon of painting limited possibilities and several centuries before Christ in China as well as in Greece polymath geniuses were already playing with camera obscura, the origin of photography. They would build wooden boxes with just a small hole on one side. Light from the outside passed through the hole and an upside-down image was projected onto a surface that could be paper if you wanted a perfect reproduction.
This was the first time we started deforming reality by technical means and it was a mind-blowing success overnight. In China they were valued as treasures and the word camera means room in Latin because the first cameras ever were actual rooms. People loved watching virtual reality.
And they also killed for HD as we do today. Camera obscuras are great at displaying image details, like a sort of Reinassance’s retina screen, and in the 17th century they improved greatly with the add-on of lenses and mirrors. Those were the times of Vermeer and other Dutch Masters, who loved accuracy and detail for their paintings.
Then again, it was cool just for a while. Circa 1790, an English-man would mix his passion for art and his family’s business to give birth to photography and amaze us, but only until film-making arose in France once century later. Keep up with us because we’ll talk about interesting film history soon.
Once we had reality trapped in moving pictures, the great think-tank began and within the 20th century it changed deeper than from the whole former ones. Around the 60’s, the first attempts to create virtual worlds started to be successful though not profitable. In 1962, the Sensorama was a multisensorial reality project able to reproduce endless worlds to viewers (let’s say feelers) in a complete new way. It already featured stereo sound and 3D images but also aromas for your nose.
Amazing device this Sonorama, but too soon in time. Neither us nor technology was ready. It’s the George Lucas dilemma. When he first started imagining Star Wars virtual reality he was restrained by the lack of technology when it was time to reproduce his ideas and fantasy. That’s why he first made film IV: A New Hope (1977), waiting for virtual tech to develop powerful enough as to express and share his inner world.
You see, we have always loved virtual reality and we will always will. Nowadays, technology is so awesome and improves so quickly that you got to keep up if you don’t want to miss any wow. There’s a lot to come but it’s already so complete that for the first time we’ve grown tired of deforming our surrounding reality and have gone meta by reshaping already virtual worlds. That’s what augmented reality cinema apps are about.
Forget heavy wooden rooms and asking the Emperor for permission to see the locked room of treasures, on your everyday smartphone you can cheer up your world just by downloading some cool augmented reality apps. AR brings tons of new experiences when travelling, such pointing your smartphone to some movie location to see an AR scene of the film shot there, plus very useful information for our every day. Go hit the stores, the best AR apps are for free!