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CBS has announced that Super Bowl LIII between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams will feature unprecedented use of augmented reality. Four cameras — including the popular Skycam — offer live augmented reality graphics will be used during the game, along with 10 cameras featuring trackable first-down-line technology. The NFL has used every armchair quarterback’s favorite form of AR, the yellow first down line, since 1998. Viewers of the CBS broadcast of the Super Bowl are promised an AR experience during commentary and even during game play

The early beginnings of AR

As you enjoy the big game and its AR enhancements, be thankful that technology has progressed since 1968, when computer scientist Ivan Sutherland and his student Bob Sproull introduced the “Sword of Damocles,” the first head-mounted virtual and augmented reality display. Designed to display wireframes that changed perspective as the user’s head moved, the device got its moniker from a Roman myth, in which a sword hangs over the protagonist’s head to teach him responsibility. The dire image tells you all you really need to know about the ease of using this creation; let’s just say that if you needed the Sword of Damocles to watch the Super Bowl, you might have trouble eating chips and dip. The contraption was so weighty it had to be suspended from the ceiling. Unlike its predecessors, the Sword of Damocles was connected to a computer rather than a camera, making it a giant leap forward.

Sutherland was no stranger to technological touchdowns: His 1963 doctoral thesis project was the program Sketchpad, the first interactive computer graphics program, which led to the development of computer-aided design software.

Photo: Elnur / Shutterstock

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Kate Johanns

Posted by Kate Johanns

Kate Johanns is a communications professional and freelance writer with more than 13 years of experience in publishing and marketing.

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