BI-BA/ 1920-003: Hologram Representation of Cultural Heritage

Head: Niko Lukač

Time frame: 15. 01. 2019 - 31. 12. 2020

Curators of museums, archaeological sites, architectural and other cultural monuments became conscious, decades ago already, of capabilities of digital technologies to improve perception of cultural heritage (CH) among visitors of such sites and to enable the perception to interested remote audience. Many artefacts are not permanently available to visitors due to the lack of exhibition space, restoration work, or the artefacts’ fragility. Digital technologies may also reassemble broken or otherwise damaged CH monuments, supplement them with the missing (virtual) parts, and embed them in a wider historical context. They also enable fast and safe exchange of contents among distinct institutions, both in a form of visiting virtual exhibitions or for completion of their own material collections with reasonably related digital contents. The digitalisation and visualisation of CH thus represent important stimulators for further progress of spatial data capture and modelling, computer graphics, virtual and augmented reality, human-computer interaction and digital multimedia. Through the previous cooperation, both groups focussed on geometric modelling, interaction with virtual environments and spatial data input. This time, the partners aim to address the visualisation of the digitalised CH. The visitors of CH sites are usually not satisfied with traditional visualisation technologies. They expect richer 3D experience through alternative output devices and new ways of interaction. In the proposed project, the challenges of utilisation of holographic pyramids in applications of CH visualisation shall be addressed. Though these devices do not provide real holograms but only a hologram-like visual illusion, the technology gained huge popularity. Miniaturised implementation, usually combined with a mobile device, is easily accessible to everyone, while bigger rofessional installations may elegantly, attractively and functionally supplement the museum interior due to their futuristic shape and particularly the created 3D illusion. UM FERI has detected some open challenges related to the preparation of digitalised contents, design of the device as a whole, its hardware and optical components in order to increase the realism of created illusions. In a meanwhile, ETF Sarajevo shall utilize its knowledge and practical experience with the CH visualisation, performed studies of user requirements and analyses of user experience in order to set up the directions for validation of the considered technological solutions. It shall also assess particular experimental installaions regarding the set directions. Particular challenges within preparation of data to be projected in the holographic pyramid comprise inclusion of bigger scenes, background, terrain and avatars (3D human models which guide a visitor through the virtual environment, talk stories about the artefacts etc.). Namely the contents to be displayed in holographic pyramids are usually prepared in a manner to produce an illusion of a single object floating within the pyramid. There are eventually several smaller objects displayed, but they are still positioned in a manner providing the projection to the middle of the pyramid. However, a wider context is usually desired when the CH is being considered. Thus an object is wanted to be placed in a concrete space, onto the terrain, next to other objects and in front of the background representing its original historical location. We also prefer an avatar somewhere in the peripheral part of the pyramid as it is aimed to supplement the exhibited artefact and not to obstruct or substitute it. A part of the UM FERI group deals with the construction of holographic pyramids. The listed challenges shall thus be also addressed through experimenting with different organisations of optical components and with utilisation of various materials with diverse optical characteristics. The holographic pyramids for the so-called integral photography are often used as an alternative to the regular holographic pyramids. The research group from ETF Sarajevo will provide adequate geometric models to be visualised within the pyramids, and also assess the user experience due to the determined goals and criteria. A user experience obtained through organisation of the scene into a system of multiple holographic pyramids or by combining the pyramids with other elements of immersive environments, narration and scenography may also represent an interesting challenge. The interaction also plays an important role in achieving the overall user experience. To support eventual future complete system implementation, we shall also study the manipulation of represented contents with manifold technologies of virtual and augmented reality.