Hot dogs are an essential part of North American culture. Nothing goes together with baseball quite like a sausage shoved in between two pieces of bread joined by your favourite assortment of toppings. Most people love a good hot dog but have you ever questioned the history of this amazing food? The story of the hot dog is long and linked to many famous individuals. In order to learn about the hot dog, we must first delve into the secrets of the sausage.

A fan holding two hotdogs in the stands of a baseball game

The story of the sausage is almost as old as civilization itself. The earliest of sausages can be traced back to the ancient Sumarians, around 4000 BC. They were made by roasting the intestines of an animal and then stuffing it into the stomach. The sausage making technique then evolved to shoving various meats into the intestines of the animal to reduce waste. Modern sausage casings are typically artificial as opposed to being made of intestines. This brings us to the modern hot dog.

Classic hot dog was popularized in Frankfurt, Germany as a "frankfurter" (meaning: To be one with Frank). They were given to the people on the coronation of the new king. In the 1800s, one Frankfurtian named Feuchtwanger immigrated to the American midwest, where he opened his business of selling the sensational sausages. Initially he sold the hot dogs and gave customers gloves, as hot dog buns had not been invented at the time. This would soon change. Feuchtwanger's wife noticed the loss of money from people taking gloves. She suggested serving the sausages on roll, and thus the modern hot dog was born.

Hot dogs today are a popular treat at events of all sorts. You can find them anywhere from huge stadiums to your backyard. It has become a staple of the North American diet due to it's delicious nature and the ease of preparation. It can be paired with a variety of toppings, from ketchup to chili to even perogies. It was only a matter of time until the tech community realized how important the hot dog truly was to North American culture…

In a seemingly different world (the world of the 1960s), an American computer scientist named Ivan Sutherland (widely known as the ‘father of computer graphics’) was developing the first display system that would show users rudimentary wireframe drawings when the system was mounted on their heads. This device was given the somewhat terrifying name of ‘The Sword of Damocles’. This first foray into the world of virtual and augmented reality was attached to the ceiling of the lab via a mechanical arm.

Not everyone was a fan of the cumbersome nature of Sutherland’s device and sought to create a less invasive and more immersive experience. In 1974, an American computer artist name Myron Krueger created an artificial reality laboratory that he named ‘The Videoplace’. A complex system of video cameras and projectors allowed the users to be placed in an interactive environment that incorporated their silhouettes. This laboratory is on permanent display at the University of Connecticut in the State Museum of Natural History.

In 1990, Tom Caudell, a researcher at Boeing was asked to make the process of navigating the wiring instructions for the planes more efficient and simple by doing away with expensive diagrams and marking devices. Caudell developed a wearable system that projected the necessary diagrams for each worker and coined the term ‘Augmented Reality’.

Following the trend of air-based AR projects, Louis Rosenberg developed Virtual Fixtures for the Air Force. This allowed the military to manipulate machinery guided virtually to perform tasks from a separate space. This led Rosenberg to develop his now publicly traded company ‘Immersion Corporation’.

Throughout the 90s and early 2000s, various advancements in the field would be made. The 1st & Ten line computer system is broadcast by Sportvision in the late 90s and creates the first virtual yellow line demarcating the first down line during a live NFL game. NASA and the Navy began utilizing Augmented Reality technology to train and make systems more efficient. Hirokazu Kato created the ARToolKit as an open-source software library that tossed the innovative technology into the hands of the public.

In 2013, Volkswagen rolled out it’s Mobile Augmented Reality Technical Assistance, or MARTA, app. This allowed service technicians to have an image displayed on a tablet in place of the vehicle and shows them how to repair the vehicle in a step by step fashion.

A screenshot of Volkswagen's Mobile Augmented Reality Technical Assistance application. The app is called MARTA for short and helps mechanics who are working on vehicles.

Following Volkswagen’s mobile implementation, suddenly many tech companies and developers were utilizing the technology in different ways.

These two long, technical, impressive, world changing histories would collide on June 23rd, 2017. Social media heavyweight (and our good friends) Snapchat would introduce their ever-smiling, seemingly nameless icon of augmented reality (and mobile Lens mascot) to the world.

The Dancing Hot Dog could be generated by using the front-facing camera through the Snapchat app and pressing down to bring up the lenses that are available. Users experienced a groovy little (or big, depending on where you placed it) source of sustenance that showed skills comparable to the Jabbawockeez (the winners of America’s Best Dance Crew).

This loose-limbed lens became a massive meme in a very brief time and was popping up all over the internet in a variety of hilarious fashions. Not always available these days, seemingly to rest it’s feet, this hip hot dog paved the way for many of the augmented reality Lenses we see in the Snapchat app these days.

Snapchat's most popular World Lens - the dancing hotdog

We are very excited about the development of Snapchat’s AR World Lenses and would love to help bring your augmented reality ideas to life. To learn more, simply take a look at our parent company EveryStudio's AR website!

Kelsey Laviolette & Kevin Ramberran

Sources: presentations/hci-history/tsld096.htm #120552e1509d