Hardware Passthrough New or Old?

Hey guys when I was talking to my computer science professor about the hardware pass through and he said that you could do this for some time and I thought this was a brand new thing? Could somebody explain?

IIRC it's been a thing in server and workstation hardware for a decently long time but recently it's become accessible to the average consumer as well.

It's getting out of fashion actually for about a year or so. We first started doing passthrough of GPU's for Windows gaming about 4 years ago. In the enterprise realm, passthrough of NIC's and specific hardware devices like storage etc has been going on for years, must be ten years or so. Look on Intel Ark when the first CPU's with VT-d came to the scene, I think it must have been the Core Duo maybe. Opteron has had IOMMU for a long time though.
Nowadays everyone is going back to the original enterprise use because everything is vurtualized, even the linux system you're using as daily driver is a virtual instance on a linux hypervisor these days, just because lol. And since there are now many games available on Linux, either in a steam container or on Android, there isn't much need for Windows installs, and thus passthroughs, any more.

when you say linux hypervisor do you mean on the kernel level or local or something remote?

Any open source hypervizor, from OpenStack KVM to and OpenSuSE install to Xenserver basically.