They say that imitation is the best form of flattery. When I was a youth, I wrote several stories about superhuman soldier ants who lived in a boy’s closet. I called them "G.I. Ants." Years later, DreamWorks produced the movied "Antz," and Pixar released "A Bug’s Life." Both computer-generated animated features were commercially successful. I still have a nagging feeling I should have published those stories (maybe someday I will). Who knows what might have happened.
In January 2002, as I stood before the Citadel of Qaitbay in Alexandria, Egypt, trying to imagine what Pharos Lighthouse, one of the Seven Worlds of the Ancient World, looked like when it stood on the same site until an earthquake destroyed it in 1323. I suddenly thought of founding a travel agency that takes tours to ancient sites and uses technology to recreate what those sites would have looked like. I envisioned using 3-D technology to recreate imagery of the ancient world. Each tourist would wear a pair of goggles that would allow them to see images of ancient sites recreated for them. The technology would marry cinematography with the real world, allowing travelers to view either the present-day site or a reconstructed image of what it would have looked like when it was new. Today, I realize that my idea is one step closer to reality.
Researchers at the University of Virginia and other institutions built a simulation of ancient Rome called Rome Reborn 1.0. It is most amazing! While the project began before my revelation in Egypt, I think I am still ahead of the team who built Rome Reborn by envisioning future applications and business opportunities for such a wonderous technology. Imagine visiting the Pyramids at Giza, Egypt, viewing them as they looked four-thousand years ago. While the technology is not yet ready to accommodate this vision, this project brings it one step closer to reality. You read it here first. While this is one dream I don’t plan to pursue to fruition, other ideas are struck in my mind, waiting to come to life. I just need to unleash them before someone else does.