Creative Technology

Digital Heritage

From 2001, with projects funded by various UK and EU funding bodies:

Reanimating Cultural Heritage: Digital Repatriation, Knowledge Networks and Civil Society Strengthening in Post-conflict Sierra Leone

[White CI, AHRC Grant, £194,079, Feb 09 – Jan 12]

Together with the Institute of Archaeology at the University College London, we developed a digital resource focused on reanimating Sierra Leone cultural heritage. Our responsibility for this project was focused on providing the ICT solutions to allow the creation, management and presentation of a digital resource. This was to contain the participating museums’ Sierra Leone collections to be digitally repatriated, while allowing input in digital form of further material from Sierra Leone diaspora through social media, i.e. Facebook. Material came from the British Museum, Glasgow Museums, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, World Museum Liverpool, Sierra Leone National Museum and the British Library. The digital resource was initially available in two formats, a website with social media integrated and a DVD without the social media.

3D Digital Reconstruction of the Santa Chiara Church, Florence, Italy and Museum Interactive

[White PI, University Consultancy, £18K, Feb 09 – Dec 09]

The Victoria and Albert Museum developed a new gallery, Gallery 50b: The Renaissance City: Inside the Church as part of their Medieval and Renaissance Galleries project. We were commissioned by the V&A to develop a 3D digital reconstruction of the Florentine Santa Chiara Church, Chapel and Altar along with three types of interactive experiences (museum kiosk, web and study centre) that deploys the 3D digital reconstruction. The reconstruction allowed all three physical elements (Church, Chapel and Altar) to be brought together for the first time (albeit, in a virtual space) since the church was decommissioned at the turn of the last century and turned to domestic and commercial use, while the Chapel and Altar are located in Gallery 50 at the Victoria and Albert Museum. This work involved the creation of a 3D virtual tour of the Church, Chapel and Altar as it was in renaissance Florence. A cultural encounter and exploration the Church, Chapel and Altar, both as they are now, and how they were used in medieval and renaissance times can only be experienced within a virtual world. Such 3D digital reconstructions allow cultural encounters and explorations with past heritage, giving heritage researchers and tourists a better understanding of cultural heritage.

3D Digital Reconstruction of the Combley Roman Villa, Isle of Wight and Immersive Virtual Tour

[White PI, University Consultancy, £4K, Jan 09 – May 09]

In partnership with Immersive Displays Ltd, we developed a 3D Digital Reconstruction of the Combley Roman Villa, Isle of Wight, for display as an immersive virtual tour using a two metre immersive dome display, The 3D reconstruction allowed exploration of the Roman villa in two modes: 1) photo-realistic 3D movie (where the villa and local landscape are rendered using mental ray) composed of a tour towards and along the front of the villa, a tour inside the bath house complete with particle effect (steam from the hot baths), and a tour around the outside of the villa; 2) and through a website describing the Roman villa.

EPOCH — Excellence in Processing Cultural Heritage

[White PI, EU Grant, £20K, May 04 – Mar 08]

We were a major contributor to the VIRTEX concept, within the EPOCH project, where we were responsible for the design, implementation and user testing of the Kromstaff multimodal interface. VIRTEX is a multi-sensory approach for exhibiting valuable museum artefacts that provide the user with a tactile feel of the physical artefact through a sensor-enabled replica of the artefact that interfaces to a virtual world in which a virtual artefact is displayed in some form of heritage context. In this way, a museum visitor can explore through touch and virtual reality the meaning and context of the artefact. Our approach was 1) digitisation of the original artefact, 2) creation of a replica through a rapid prototype approach, 3) making the replica interactive through electronic sensor and orientation tracking technology, 4) creation of the virtual artefact, 5) creation of the artefacts virtual context or story, e.g. a virtual heritage world, 6) integration of the interactive application, i.e. integrating the replica to the virtual world, 7) deployment of the interactive in a museum. 

MAVRIC — Marie Curie Training Site for Computer Graphics and Virtual Reality

[White PI, EU Grant, £77K, Dec 01 – Nov 05]

We established a Marie Curie training site to host and train European PhD students in the application of computer graphics and virtual reality, in particular applied to digital heritage visualisation. Results from this project produced a series of papers on the evaluation of the ARCO systems 3D and augmented reality capabilities, and several 3D reconstructions of archaeological sites and monuments in Romania.

ARCO — Augmented Representation of Cultural Heritage

[White PI, EU Grant, £520K, Oct 01 – Sep 04]

WE are a co-owner of the IP for the ARCO—Augmented Representation of Cultural Objects system that is used for building virtual museum exhibitions. This system was developed from the ARCO EU FP5 project, led by the School and now commercialised. The system allowed museums to create, manage, and build virtual exhibitions of digital museum artefacts and present them online in a virtual museum, including the integration of augmented reality. The virtual museum could be composed of a set of simple webpages with embedded 3D content (3D museum artefacts) that can be dynamically updated from the ARCO database. The virtual museum could also be a virtual environment embedded on the web page allowing a user to navigate the environment while selecting and examining 3D objects. The system contained, amongst many other things, a content management system that included a cultural object manager (a cataloguing system), a presentation template manager (templates define the layout, on the webpages, of the virtual museum) and an exhibition manager that defines the organisation of the virtual museum’s exhibition spaces.