The Contribution of Mixed Reality to Cultural Heritage during the pandemic

The global health emergency caused by the Covid-19 virus, in addition to having generated a profound impact on the industrial sector of our country and in the rest of the world, has profoundly affected a sector that in Italy is worth 13% of GDP, it is tourism.

The estimated crisis and post-crisis losses are in billions of euros and are mainly caused by limitations on travel, especially international ones, and by the rules of social distancing which will constitute a brake on prosperity of the tourism and cultural heritage sector which employs 15% of the overall Italian workers.

The Italian cultural sector will have to deal with a 2020 that will see a drop in the number of visitors from abroad throughout the year, which in our country represent 50.3% of the total.
So at least initially we will focus on domestic tourism, since even the Italians who would have traveled abroad will likely look with greater interest to the domestic offer.

In addition to dealing with the obvious losses in turnover that will affect the tourism sector, both in Italy and in the rest of the world, operators and managers of cultural heritage, are beginning to realize that the main road to overcome the crisis is that of “digital transformation”. Thanks to these solutions, it will be possible to make cultural heritage available to everyone, including tourists who cannot travel. The digital solutions will, in fact, lead institutions towards a phase of renewal in which the transformation of flows and the availability of more tools will allow to create more sustainable and higher quality models.

In some use cases the immersive technologies, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, have shown not only to be able to overcome the problem of remote use, but also to have the ability to enrich the visiting experience with content and information normally not available.

Here are some possibilities for operators of museum structures and sites of interest in general:

  • Digitization of the exhibition spaces
    It is a photogrammetric or laser scanner reconstruction of the real spaces of places such as museums. This activity allows you to create a digital version of the museum, on which various types of experiences can be grafted, from browsing the environments, in Google Streetview style, to enabling multimedia points of interest with voice, video or simply narrations associated. This type of use case can be made usable by both web browsers and mobile applications.
  • Virtual Reality Routes
    This use case involves the artificial reconstruction of spaces, in their current state or in a state that corresponds to a different historical period. It is mainly used when you want to show content and routes related to sites that have been lost in whole or in part. This category includes some of the stages of the Circo Maximo Experience project, through which you can relive the chariot races in ancient Rome.
  • Mixed Reality Routes
    To make the most of digital content and apply it not only to the virtual context, but also to the physical assets available within a site of interest, Mixed Reality techniques are used, they exploit the coexistence of VR and AR, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in reconstructions anchored to real objects (e.g. ruins), and to view completely artificial contents. The result can be obtained both by using Mixed Reality headsets and mobile devices, even the latter, in fact, with dedicated technologies, are able to perform very well object recognition and tracking.
  • Simple Digital Routes
    One possibility that does not contemplate the use of immersive technologies, but which still allows a light digitization of the visit experience, is the creation of applications that provide digital access to content, presenting it in traditional ways, such as image galleries, video and audio narrations.

In conclusion, the digitization process of entities operating in the cultural heritage sector can only be accelerated due to the Coronavirus emergency, but the road has already been traced by a series of successful experiences, both in Italy and abroad.

The advantage for operators in the sector is therefore to facilitate access to the sites of interest at a time when these will be subject to rules that will provide for the quota of entrances, social distancing and the use of personal protection devices. The digital experience can to some extent make up for the drop in turnover that operators will most likely face this season and we do not rule out even in the years to come.

Museum Of Other Realities Exits Early Access With Powerhouse VR Art Collection

After more than two years of development the Museum of Other Realities is out of early access and opening its virtual doors to the public with works from nearly two dozen groundbreaking VR-based artists.

The MOR is an only-possible-in-VR showcase of artwork spanning some of the most experienced artists in the world building across a wide range of tools like Quill, Medium, and Tilt Brush. The platform includes both solitary exploration for a serene and contemplative experience as well as social support to explore the museum with friends or strangers.

The social support is built with the Normcore mutliplayer software development kit from the developer of Half and Half and there are protection tools in place to facilitate comfortable experiences. The MOR saves every last bit of PC performance for the artworks so it features geometrically simple avatars that can be customized inside the museum.

Artists exhibiting their work in the launch release are groundbreaking creators, many of whom pioneered their own workflows or tools to produce their work, including:

  • Rosie summers
  • Liz Edwards
  • Matt Schaefer
  • Kevin Mack
  • Nick Ladd
  • Danny Bittman
  • Vladimir Ilic
  • Sutu
  • Issac Cohen (@cabbibo)
  • Em Halberstadt
  • Mike Murdock
  • Bastiaan Hooimeijer (@_naam)
  • Romain Revert
  • Sabby Lighf
  • John Orion Young (JOY)
  • Durk van der Meer
  • Scott Bennett (@scobot)
  • Sean Tann
  • Anand Duncan
  • Micah Milner (Micah404)

CEO and museum founder Robin Stethem took me on a tour of the rebuilt space recently and I found it astonishing how much it changed since the early days. I’ve never found myself saying “wow” as many times as I did looking through each room, listening to the subtle echo of my voice seeming to bounce off the museum’s walls, flying, resizing myself with a drink like Alice In Wonderland, and gasping at the scale of the this impossible place and the thoughtful, interactive, and responsive works on display.

The MOR is around $20 and available on Steam, Viveport and seeking release on the Oculus Store for Rift. They’re planning regular updates for the gallery as well as hosting events in the museum.

The post Museum Of Other Realities Exits Early Access With Powerhouse VR Art Collection appeared first on UploadVR.

Intel and The Smithsonian American Art Museum Partner On Immersive VR Experience

Intel and the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) have announced a new immersive virtual reality (VR) experience that will allow users to dive into some of the country’s most treasured art and history. The aim of the project is to transform the future of education and the museum experience by digitizing and providing a detailed 3D recreation of collections, giving access like never before.

Intel and the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Though the Smithsonian’s museums see over 30 million people through the doors each year, hundreds of millions of people will never be able to visit in person. The new VR experience creates the opportunity for those who may not be able to visit in person to see the collections up close, within virtual space. The partnership between Intel and SAAM will bring a new chances for education and researchers to get up close and personal with the Renwick Gallery’s current exhibition, “No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man.”

John Bonini, vice president and general manager, VR, Gaming & Esports at Intel Corporation commented on the news saying: “Virtual reality will bring about cutting-edge computing experiences and accelerate new possibilities for how people will explore and interact with the world around them. As the technology evolves, immersive museum experiences will become the norm. Bridging physical and digital worlds to study American art in classrooms around the globe is just a first step in exploring what is possible when we combine the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s passion for education with Intel’s innovation.”

Intel and the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Intel’s advanced technologies will allow for SAAM to accelerate their existing process of 3D digital capture and increase access to its collections with the help of the powerful 8th Generation Intel Core processors, cloud-based platforms and much more. The goal is to encourage 24/7 access to the museum, affording educators and other museums and public audiences the opportunities to become more immersed in some of America’s most treasured collections, in full immersion.

As the SAAM continue bring more of their collections into virtual space, Intel will be working with them to further expand the VR experience. You can see the experience in motion in the below video that Intel released, and VRFocus will be sure to bring you all the latest on the partnership of Intel and the SAAM.

32 New VR Experiences Receive Funding, From Group Singing to an Immersive Circus

Virtual reality (VR) can be used for far more than videogames, and now the Arts and Humanities Research Council, along with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, have announced that they’ll be funding 32 brand new VR research projects. These will range from experiences looking to recreate the benefits of outdoor group singing, to exploring an immersive VR circus.

New Samsung Gear VR and Controller

Of course, that’s not all. Another initiative looks to allow museum visitors to virtually read through ancient texts and more than would otherwise usually be off limits to the public.

The research will be carried out by a team comprised of academics, businesses and creative industry professionals to ensure the projects’ success. Each project has earned around £75,000 and will last between six and nine months, with all projects due to start before this April.

There are three key areas in which the chosen projects will be focusing on; memory, place and performance. Memory focuses on institutions such as museums and archives, place with, well, places, and performance will look at the kinds of experiences users can have in VR.

We have further details on five of the projects. The first is The Hills Are Alive, which looks at the benefits of natural environments and group singing.

XR Ciirkes combines circus performances, street art and performers with researchers to innovate and create emotionally impactful experiences.

Elsewhere the project is also working to create augmented browsing of books in historic libraries, immersive and inclusive music performances, and Virtual Holocaust Memoryscapes, which hopes to create immersive and spatial archives of the Bergen-Belsen and Neuengamme memorial sites.

Professor Andrew Chitty is the Arts and Humanities Research Council Economy Champion, and he’s impressed by the projects which have been pitched; “The unprecedented breadth and quality of applications for this call illustrates the extraordinary dynamism and expertise of practitioners applying immersive technologies to new narratives and experiences. As UK creative industries continue to excel, it is vital that they are positioned to make the most of the opportunities that arise from new technology. The 32 chosen research projects will help ensure that they’re ready to do just that.”

We should hear more about the 32 projects in the future. It’s exciting to see more organisations find more uses for VR, and we can’t wait to try them for ourselves. For more on these projects and the latest ways VR is improving the world, keep reading VRFocus.

Kremer Museum: Ein Kunstmuseum in der virtuellen Realität

Dass Kunst und VR gut zusammenpassen, sieht man an dem HTC-Projekt Vive Arts, das der chinesische Hersteller mit einigen Millionen US-Dollar fördert. Teil von Vive Arts ist auch die Famile Kremer : Sie haben von einem Architekten ein virtuelles Museum entwerfen lassen, um ihre Sammlung von alten holländischen und flämischen Meisterwerken auszustellen. 74 Exponate aus dem 17. Jahrhundert darf man im virtuellen Kremer Museum bewundern.

Virtuelle Ausstellung im Kremer Museum

Der niederländische Kunstsammler George Kremer arbeitet mit seinem Sohn Joël zusammen, um das Kremer Museum zu eröffnen. Das bringt 74 Meisterwerke aus dem 17. Jahrhundert in neu entworfene virtuelle Räumlichkeiten. Der ehemalige Google-Mitarbeiter Joël brachte für das Projekt sein technisches Know How ein, der Vater die über 20 Jahre lang aufgebaute Sammlung. Eigentlich war der Plan, ein echtes Museum zu bauen, aber man habe sich für die virtuelle Lösung entschieden. Schließlich kann man mit ihr wesentlich mehr Menschen erreichen, da sich einige beispielsweise die Reise in die Niederlande nicht leisten könnten. Im Interview mit Artsy erklärt Joël, dass ihr Museum ein völlig neuer Weg sei, um Kunst zu erfahren.

Für die Gestaltung der Kunsträume beauftragte die Familie den Architekten Johan van Lierop. Der ist von der Arbeit begeistert: Ein Museum entwerfen zu können ohne Rücksicht auf Physik, Sanitäranlagen und gesetzlichen Vorschriften sei ein Traum. Ganz unerfahren ist der Mann nicht und hat schon ein „echtes“ Museum in Amrika gebaut. Außerdem war van Lierop Teil des Guggenheim-Teams in Mexiko. Auch sonst betrieben die Kremers einen hohen Aufwand. Jedes Bild wurde über Photogrammetrie digitalisiert, was zwischen 2500 bis 3500 Fotos pro Bild erforderte. So sind die Gemälde keine flachen Wiedergaben, sondern dreidimensionale Objekte, wodurch zum Beispiel die Dicke des Farbauftrags sichtbar wird. Als nächstes fertigten sie Hologramme von Experten an. So erklärt beispielsweise George Kremer in der virtuellen Realität Hintergründe zu einzelnen Gemälden. Das Kremer Museum wurde letzten Monat auf der Vive-Arts-Webseite vorgestellt. Wer sich für das Projekt und die Gemälde-Sammlung interessiert, findet auf Webseite The Kremer Museum weiteres Futter.

(Quellen: VR Focus, Artsy, The Kremer Collection)

Der Beitrag Kremer Museum: Ein Kunstmuseum in der virtuellen Realität zuerst gesehen auf VR∙Nerds. VR·Nerds am Werk!

theBlu: Tiefsee-Erfahrung in VR ist nun eine Museumsattraktion in Los Angeles

Das Naturkundemuseum Los Angeles (NHMLA) rüstet auf. Ab sofort können Besucher per VR-Brille in beeindruckende Unterwasserwelten eintauchen. Wevr, die Entwickler von theBlu, einer VR-Erfahrung, die den Ozean hautnah präsentiert, haben angekündigt, dass das kalifornische Museum die frische Technologie ab sofort in ihre Ausstellungen einarbeiten will.

Wal, Riff und Tiefsee – Naturkunde in VR erleben

Im Verlauf von sechs Minuten zeigt das Museum drei Unterwasser-Umgebungen, die unterschiedlicher nicht sein könnten. In einer dieser Umgebungen macht ihr die Bekanntschaft mit einem 25 Meter langen Blauwal, der in unmittelbarer Nähe an einem versunkenen Schiff vorbeigleitet, in einer anderen findet ihr euch inmitten von Schildkröten, Quallen und prachtvollen Seeanemonen, am Rand eines Korallenriffs, wieder. Die wohl spektakulärste Erfahrung bietet allerdings der Ausflug in die Tiefsee. Besucher haben die Möglichkeit mithilfe einer virtuellen Taschenlampe in den finsteren Abgrund hinabzutauchen und Anglerfische, Tintenfische und andere Kreaturen der Tiefsee zu entdecken.

Lori Bettison-Verga, Leiterin und Präsidentin des Naturkundemuseums, zeigte sich in einem Statement begeistert von der VR-Technologie, die in Verbindung mit multimedialer Unterstützung eine ganz neue Ebene der Wissensvermittlung ermögliche:

Engaging and inspiring visitors is what we do — and theBlu: An Underwater VR Experience is beautiful, powerful storytelling. It would not surprise me if the next generation of marine biologists — and VR developers — are inspired by this exhibit.

Schon auf dem Sundance Film Festival 2016 wurde die VR-Experience, bei der Jake Rowell (Call of Duty, Final Fantasy, Superman Returns) Regie führte, mit einem Platz in der Ausstellung unter dem Titel “New Frontiers” ausgezeichnet und für exzellent befunden.

Die Entwickler des kalifornischen Studios Wevr möchten mit ihrer Applikation nicht nur ein jüngeres Publikum für VR begeistern, sondern alle Altersgruppen ansprechen und mithilfe der Immersion, die theBlu mit sich bringt, sowohl unterhalten als auch informieren.

Wir stellen fest: Die Integration der virtuellen Realität in herkömmliche Bereiche des menschlichen Lebens schreitet voran. Wo innovative Museen des Planeten ansetzen, könnten in Bälde Schulen oder Forschungseinrichtungen folgen. VR-Erfahrungen als Mittel multimedialer Kommunikation und Bildung wird uns auch in Zukunft begleiten.

Der Beitrag theBlu: Tiefsee-Erfahrung in VR ist nun eine Museumsattraktion in Los Angeles zuerst gesehen auf VR∙Nerds. VR·Nerds am Werk!

Google Is Using Tango In Museums To Add An Extra AR Layer to Exhibits

Google Is Using Tango In Museums To Add An Extra AR Layer to Exhibits

Tango is Google’s augmented reality platform that has the malleability to fit many different types of applications and purposes. With ideas of a more informative discipline, AR technology seems like a sure thing when it comes to museums and mobile exhibits of some sort by showing us more information than physical space may allow or by just adding a new layer with animation of some kind.

Now, Google is partnering up with museums around the world to bring their artifacts to life with Tango technology.

Museums are home to historic keepsakes and windows into monumental events in our world’s past. As interesting as they already are, augmented reality is going to be harnessed through Tango in a variety of different ways to make visits more dynamic.

Google showed the feature shown with the capability to overlay enhanced versions of artifacts untouched by time through your Tango-enabled mobile device, or using one requested at the museum itself.

For example, you could see paint restored on weathered limestone reliefs or even digital replacements for architecture long missing from the Ishtar Gate (shown above). Details are currently scarce, but the museum application will also reportedly include quizzes and games.

AR in this capacity is becoming a more regular occurrence with these types of experiences, as we recently reported on a Hidden Figures influenced AR exhibit where you have to travel to find all the information and even an AR recreation of the Reagan assassination attempt. While this is a very interesting use for Tango, Google hasn’t really put their full force behind the technology just yet. They only have a handful of devices available for purchase that are Tango-enabled, but hopefully partnerships like this will inspire a bit more movement.

The only known current partner for this is the Detroit Institute of Arts with more to be revealed over time.

h/t: The Verge

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