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Photo by CLARTE.
TIDE, a glimpse into the future of VR for cultural heritage
31 Mar 2022
What's on the horizon for virtual heritage? CLARTE shares new opportunities focusing on content creation,rendering,presence & interaction in virtual enviroments


TIDE project partner
Lionel Dominjon, scientific officer at CLARTE (Pays de la Loire, France), together with the rest of the French team, are supporting the whole partnership in the implementation of various services using emerging VR technologies. 

5 European countries in the Atlantic Area are participating in the TIDE project to enhance their diverse cultural heritage priorities, including preservation, increasing understanding, protecting sites and artefacts, and social access. According to Lionel, virtual heritage brings all those elements together through the digitalisation and rendering that allows heritage to be experienced anywhere. Our partner explains that the future of VR heritage projects will soon benefit from significant advances in content creation and rendering, embodiment and haptic technologies (3D touch), to recreate the experience of touching. 

Content 

Content creation is becoming accessible to everyone, continues Lionel. Today artefacts for virtual heritage are often produced through digitising. High quality digital models are usually achieved through techniques such as photogrammetry and 3D scanning by the mean of dedicated devices, and usually involve time-consuming processing and require specific skills. However, widespread personal devices such are smartphones are now equipped with high performance 3D sensors that may turn them into easy-to-use portable 3D scanners. As a result, communities including both professional and enthusiasts are organizing, and most 3D content diffusion platforms now feature sections dedicated to virtual heritage. 

Accompanying this 3D content creation revolution, major advances in terms of rendering are occurring as well. New techniques, such as Unreal Engine Nanite, allow the rendering of digital models to an unprecedented level of detail. Such technology will be available to every 3D designer very soon. 

Are we moving towards the democratisation of 3D digitising? Well, it is well-known that new technologies are more accessible than ever, and, for example, the widespread use of smartphones has opened a new door when referring to the public domain of cultural heritage.  

Embodiment in virtual heritage 

“Embodiment” in virtual reality is the ability to visually substitute a person’s real body with a life-sized virtual one, seen from the person’s own perspective. In other words, when we put on a VR headset, our virtual body at least momentarily substitutes for our real body. When we move, our virtual body moves, and everything feels the same, even when we see our virtual body reflected in a virtual mirror.

Embodiment plays a key role in VR. It allows the user to immerse themselves in a virtual environment, emphasising the sense of being in the virtual world. Our TIDE project VR expert mentions that next-gen embodiment will go beyond traditional 3D avatars that are commonly used in some social platforms or video games. Progress in computer vision and 3D digitising will also benefit embodiment as the body of the user will soon be digitised and live-integrated in the virtual environment as ad-hoc sensors are now becoming available on consumer VR headsets. This will be a game changer in terms of presence – that feeling of actually being there – in a virtual experience. 
 

Interaction 

With highly realistic digital artefacts and users deeply immersed in the virtual environment, the need for interacting, and especially handling virtual objects, will rise. Haptics in virtual reality offer an extra dimension by allowing users to feel the virtual environment through the sense of touch.  

Lionel explains that in upcoming years we will become very familiar with the haptic gloves (to simulate tactile feeling), on demand haptics and mid-air haptics, which will allow users to live an experience of touching through holograms. Which one of these technologies will be performant enough, and most importantly will be adopted, is not clear now are they still are, and have been for years now, in their infancy. But all this progress in the sense of “reality” in virtual reality reinforces its ability to increase awareness of and access to cultural heritage, while also helping to preserve and protect it. 


Click here to email  Ianire Renobales at ERNACT Network for further information

Photo by CLARTE.
TIDE, a glimpse into the future of VR for cultural heritage
31 Mar 2022
What's on the horizon for virtual heritage? CLARTE shares new opportunities focusing on content creation,rendering,presence & interaction in virtual enviroments


TIDE project partner
Lionel Dominjon, scientific officer at CLARTE (Pays de la Loire, France), together with the rest of the French team, are supporting the whole partnership in the implementation of various services using emerging VR technologies. 

5 European countries in the Atlantic Area are participating in the TIDE project to enhance their diverse cultural heritage priorities, including preservation, increasing understanding, protecting sites and artefacts, and social access. According to Lionel, virtual heritage brings all those elements together through the digitalisation and rendering that allows heritage to be experienced anywhere. Our partner explains that the future of VR heritage projects will soon benefit from significant advances in content creation and rendering, embodiment and haptic technologies (3D touch), to recreate the experience of touching. 

Content 

Content creation is becoming accessible to everyone, continues Lionel. Today artefacts for virtual heritage are often produced through digitising. High quality digital models are usually achieved through techniques such as photogrammetry and 3D scanning by the mean of dedicated devices, and usually involve time-consuming processing and require specific skills. However, widespread personal devices such are smartphones are now equipped with high performance 3D sensors that may turn them into easy-to-use portable 3D scanners. As a result, communities including both professional and enthusiasts are organizing, and most 3D content diffusion platforms now feature sections dedicated to virtual heritage. 

Accompanying this 3D content creation revolution, major advances in terms of rendering are occurring as well. New techniques, such as Unreal Engine Nanite, allow the rendering of digital models to an unprecedented level of detail. Such technology will be available to every 3D designer very soon. 

Are we moving towards the democratisation of 3D digitising? Well, it is well-known that new technologies are more accessible than ever, and, for example, the widespread use of smartphones has opened a new door when referring to the public domain of cultural heritage.  

Embodiment in virtual heritage 

“Embodiment” in virtual reality is the ability to visually substitute a person’s real body with a life-sized virtual one, seen from the person’s own perspective. In other words, when we put on a VR headset, our virtual body at least momentarily substitutes for our real body. When we move, our virtual body moves, and everything feels the same, even when we see our virtual body reflected in a virtual mirror.

Embodiment plays a key role in VR. It allows the user to immerse themselves in a virtual environment, emphasising the sense of being in the virtual world. Our TIDE project VR expert mentions that next-gen embodiment will go beyond traditional 3D avatars that are commonly used in some social platforms or video games. Progress in computer vision and 3D digitising will also benefit embodiment as the body of the user will soon be digitised and live-integrated in the virtual environment as ad-hoc sensors are now becoming available on consumer VR headsets. This will be a game changer in terms of presence – that feeling of actually being there – in a virtual experience. 
 

Interaction 

With highly realistic digital artefacts and users deeply immersed in the virtual environment, the need for interacting, and especially handling virtual objects, will rise. Haptics in virtual reality offer an extra dimension by allowing users to feel the virtual environment through the sense of touch.  

Lionel explains that in upcoming years we will become very familiar with the haptic gloves (to simulate tactile feeling), on demand haptics and mid-air haptics, which will allow users to live an experience of touching through holograms. Which one of these technologies will be performant enough, and most importantly will be adopted, is not clear now are they still are, and have been for years now, in their infancy. But all this progress in the sense of “reality” in virtual reality reinforces its ability to increase awareness of and access to cultural heritage, while also helping to preserve and protect it. 


Click here to email  Ianire Renobales at ERNACT Network for further information


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