The start of it all? Telephones.

Mobile media and technology have improved significantly overtime from the start of the Egyptians inventing the papyrus to present day in which people are trying to create Augmented realties (Farman 11). Augmented reality (AR) is an enhanced version of reality and the world you see created through technology that is in real time and interactive to users. Throughout history, inventions and improvements have been generated to provide us with the resources now to be able to create AR. Tony Liao and Lee Humphrey’s feel as if “tracking, user interaction, calibration, registration, and display techniques” (Liao/Humphreys 2) lead to the start of AR. I agree with this; however, I feel they are missing an essential part of technology that generated the pathway to creating an augmented reality.

The start of the drive towards a virtual reality was the invention of the telephone in 1876 (Ling & Donner 34). What originated as a device only to be used when connected to an electricity source, turned into one of the most common inventions seen today – a cell phone. As of now, currently seven billion people in the world have cell phone subscriptions, causing it to be the most used form of mobile technology. This device has caused the number of the original invention –landlines – to decrease significantly overtime to the point where they are far less common. This mobile device is so common that AR is being implemented in them. This video that we watched in class shows the progress of a cell phone featuring AR.

Layar  is a mobile application that allows users to connect the real world with digital content. This app provides users with the chance to see digital experiences on everyday content. For example, you can see live videos on magazines or even get a direct link to a product that you want to purchase. This app also allows users to create their own content to place on certain locations (Lioa and Humphreys page 3). Since augmented reality is a new concept, allowing people to have their own freedom to create content will help people adapt to this idea because they will make it beneficial to their needs/desires.

mobile media AR

Although the telephone is the main technology invention that lead to augmented reality, apps like Layar could not have been created if it was not for the advancement of the cell phone. During the 1990’s and early 2000’s new advances were made to cell phones in order to expand their capabilities (Goggin 38). In the 90s communication became available not only through voice, but also through images and text. In the early 2000’s access to Internet, and location services were available. These advances are now extremely common uses for not only cell phones, but also other mobile devices (Farman 19). Without small improvements made to any technologies – bigger ideas cannot be created. Right now, augmented reality is the bigger picture and without minor advances to the cell phone, the idea of AR would not be possible.

In 2009, for the first time ever people used their mobile devices more for data use as opposed to voice communication (Farman 17). Although this was not an invention, I feel as if this was a huge milestone for augmented reality. Cell phones were created for voice communication but because of smartphones, they became useful for so much more. Inventors of augmented reality most likely saw the success of smartphone use and decided to implement it on mobile technology to reach a wider audience. Right now, AR technology is relying on smartphones use (i.e. Layar and Google Glass).

In the article “Layer-ed places” Liao and Humphreys claim that one of the features of AR is to assist people with information about their surroundings (Liao/Humphreys 3). A user of the app Layar can take a picture of an object or a historical place and information will pop up on the screen. Without those small improvements made to the cell phone, that feature for Layar would not be possible. For example, if I were to travel to London and I wanted to find out more about Big Ben. I could use the app and take a picture of it and immediately receive information on my phone about it. In order for this application to be able to do that, it must be able to take a picture, recognize the image, access the Internet, and acknowledge my location using the GPS.

Another example of augmented reality using the features created in the 90s/early 2000s is Google Glass. Google Glass has the capability to show functions from your cell phone right in front of your eyes. You can search anything online using this technology; however, in order to do so you need Internet or Wi-Fi that is connected to your cell phone.

Liao and Humphrey feel as if Augmented reality is a positive attribute to mobile media . AR is able to heighten the connection between technology, people, and the world surrounding them (Liao/Humphreys 15). They also feel as if it will be a slow and gradual adaption towards audiences but will be successful. I completely agree with what the authors are saying. I find augmented reality to be very beneficial especially when it comes to expanding knowledge about a particular item or place. I think because almost everyone has a cell phone, they will begin to gradually adapt to using AR features (i.e. Layar).


Farman, Jason. (2012). “Historicizing Mobile Media: Locating Transformations of Embodied Space,” in N. Arceneaux & A. Kavoori (Eds), The Mobile Media Reader. New York: Peter Lang. P. 11, 17, 19.

Goggin, Gerard. (2006). Cell Phone Culture: Mobile technology in everyday life. London: Routledge. Chapter 2, 34-39

Google Glass (2013, Apr 30). Google Glass How-to: Getting Started. Retrieved from:

Home | Augmented Reality | Interactive Print | Layar. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2015, from

Liao, T., & Humphrey’s, L. (n.d.). Layar-ed Places: Using mobile augmented reality to tactically reengage, reproduce, and reappropriate public space. 2, 3, 12-15 Retrieved January 30, 2015, from

Ling, Rich and Donner, Jonathan. (2009). Mobile Communication. Malden, MA: Polity Press. Chapter 2, p. 34

Malens (2009, Jun 15). Layar, Worlds first mobile augmented reality browser. Retrieved from


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