You are James Bond and you are spying on a street. You are wearing a smart glasses that could provide you information about whatever you look from the glasses, let’s say, enemy’s position or a bomb inside a pot. Also, you want to know “What is that building?” and your glasses will superimpose an icon, a graphic, or a list of information about the building – which appears to be an underwear company.
Well, you don’t have to wait to be James Bond to experience such an Augmented Reality. Nowadays, there are so many company which works in Augmented Reality to bring such experiences to a game, map, books, or even just for fun. I’ve seen a big LCD Screen in Harajuku and Kawasaki, when you were captured by the camera, the LCD will display your picture of wearing a hat, a baby cloth, a collar, even monkey face!
But what is Augmented Reality? For simple, it captures your image, processing it, and superimposes anything from text, pictures, sounds, and even videos to your image. So, basically, you’ll need a camera to capture the image, a projector/screen to show you the image, a device that can measure your location and transmit/receive information, and of course a software to process your information. This is best shown in iPhone Apps such as Layar or Washington Metro. As you browse your world with your camera (I didn’t say that it has to be still image, did I?), the GPS and compass will determine your position and direction, the apps will receive information about what do you see on your camera and then superimposes the information to your camera screen. And the information is not just about “What is this”, it could be “How would it like when it finished” for an unfinished building, the restaurant’s rating, an image from past in a historical place, and even a person’s information on Facebook or Twitter!
Not just that, you can utilize Augmented Reality in games. Total Immersion Company, for example, sells a baseball card that could be take to reality, as you see the card from your web cam, the baseball player will be alive and let you play with him. Even your story books will play the story on 3D images as you open page by page. Your T-shirt will playing video for life and my favorite Harry Potter experience has been come true, as I wear a special google to read a newspaper and suddenly the picture on the newspaper moved!
It has so many applications and people kept saying that it has bright future. But this technology is still limited, for example, the GPS accuracy is only 9 m, and those iPhone apps I explained to you before cannot process the information of a site that is blocked by another site, so it’ll be probably a total blunder if you have to search the entire city just to found McDonalds that’s actually 100 m in front of you blocked by a flower shop. And you have to consider you personal information from your Facebook or Twitter, of course, you don’t want you secret-lover-on-Facebook found you for real, do you?
What about Indonesia? Can we adapt and fully utilize this technology? I don’t know how much Augmented Reality is now playing in Indonesia, but I could tell you one thing; You can start from now, creating an unique – differentiated application of Indonesia, since only Indonesian know Indonesia the best, especially the values. Will people browsed for Google map know that there are a lot of birds bomb along Ganesha street? Or Tukang Gorengan which you believe that he didn’t use any harmful substances? Or unofficial parking spot? Well, we still rule those unique-value-informations and I think it’s not too late for us to start it now J