Early Augmented Reality

There’s lots of chatter about Augmented Reality these days.

Here’s a Sports Illustrated article from 10 years ago, talking about an AR innovation from 25 years ago – the birth of the yellow first-down line in football broadcasts, first seen in 1998.

That was probably the first Augmented Reality thing most people saw and enjoyed, and it took a 48-foot truck full of equipment to make it work.

Fox had introduced FoxTrax, the glowing hockey puck, in their NHL broadcasts two years earlier in 1996, but everybody hated that and it didn’t last. The idea of sensors in the puck is still around though.

The first-down-line on a football broadcast seems so normal now, it’s almost jarring to go to a live football game and NOT see it. Or to wonder on a broadcast “How come the guy didn’t run a bit further? Why did he step out of bounds there? Didn’t he see the line?”

Interestingly, the same guy, Stan Honey, appears in both of those stories.

Imagine where we’ll be 25 years from now.

First Down Yellow Line

Fox's Glowing Puck


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