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Incheon Asiad to Utilize `Augmented Reality` Services

Posted December. 31, 2009 09:08,   


In the 1984 Hollywood movie “The Terminator,” a cyborg assassin chases a target that runs far away. When its eyes look at the back of the person, the pupils display various data, including distance to the target and the height and facial appearance of the person.

The introduction of the iPhone in Korea has drawn attention to “augmented reality,” or AR. The smartphone is a tool that uses AR by serving as a palm computer.

The smartphone allows around-the-clock use of data communication networks including the Internet, and is equipped with a global positioning system chip, digital camera and sensors for checking movement.

AR has many potential applications in sporting events. The organizing committee of the 2014 Incheon Asiad is preparing to introduce AR technology.

Kim Ki-hyeon, the head of the committee’s IT team, said Wednesday, “We’ve been preparing AR service jointly with KT and Ssangyong Information & Communications, and will begin development and construction of systems next year.”

He said the project will cost about 40 billion (34 million U.S. dollars) to 60 billion won (52 million dollars).

The committee envisions a comprehensive information system for the Asiad to serve athletes and delegations as well as fans.

A good example of AR service to be used at the event is in ticket sales. A spectator who buys a ticket for a certain event can focus his or her smartphone camera on the ticket. The phone then displays its screen information such as the ticket’s image, competition schedules, and which teams will play.

The service is not limited to ticketing. When the phone camera takes a distant view of the stadium on a street, the phone will show how far it is to the stadium and what menu is available at nearby cafeterias. With a smartphone, a foreign athlete can gain access to a wide variety of information in Incheon as if in his or her own country.

Basic AR technologies are available through a smartphone. “Layar,” an application software of the iPhone, presents information such as the location of nearby restaurants and gas stations and telephone numbers. GPS and the Internet are used to retrieve data.

When the service will be commercialized is hard to predict, but fans will likely be able to take photos of players in a competition and get their profiles on the spot.

Kang Sang-won, a manager at KT’s strategic business team, said, “Most people will be using smartphones in several years, and hence AR services will become essential for sporting events.”