new article: A Comparison of Immersive Realities and Interaction Methods: Cultural Learning in Virtual Heritage

A Comparison of Immersive Realities and Interaction Methods: Cultural Learning in Virtual Heritage

by Mafkereseb Kassahun Bekele and Erik Champion

Open access article in Frontiers in Robotics and AI, 24 September 2019 |

In recent years, Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Virtuality (AV), and Mixed Reality (MxR) have become popular immersive reality technologies for cultural knowledge dissemination in Virtual Heritage (VH). These technologies have been utilized for enriching museums with a personalized visiting experience and digital content tailored to the historical and cultural context of the museums and heritage sites. Various interaction methods, such as sensor-based, device-based, tangible, collaborative, multimodal, and hybrid interaction methods, have also been employed by these immersive reality technologies to enable interaction with the virtual environments. However, the utilization of these technologies and interaction methods isn’t often supported by a guideline that can assist Cultural Heritage Professionals (CHP) to predetermine their relevance to attain the intended objectives of the VH applications. In this regard, our paper attempts to compare the existing immersive reality technologies and interaction methods against their potential to enhance cultural learning in VH applications. To objectify the comparison, three factors have been borrowed from existing scholarly arguments in the Cultural Heritage (CH) domain. These factors are the technology’s or the interaction method’s potential and/or demonstrated capability to: (1) establish a contextual relationship between users, virtual content, and cultural context, (2) allow collaboration between users, and (3) enable engagement with the cultural context in the virtual environments and the virtual environment itself. Following the comparison, we have also proposed a specific integration of collaborative and multimodal interaction methods into a Mixed Reality (MxR) scenario that can be applied to VH applications that aim at enhancing cultural learning in situ.

major grant: Photogrammetry heritage and interaction design

Announced today-Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage 2018 Grant LP180100284 awarded $461,783.00

Dr Andrew Woods; Professor Erik Champion; Dr Petra Helmholz; Dr David Belton; Professor Derek Lichti; Ms Catherine Belcher; Dr Ross Anderson; Mr Ian Thilthorpe; Mr Danny Murphy; Adjunct Professor Alec Coles; Dr James Hunter; Mr Michael Harvey.

Photogrammetric Reconstruction for Underwater Virtual Heritage Experiences. This project aims to enable significant underwater cultural heritage sites such as shipwrecks to be recreated in immersive underwater virtual heritage experiences. Photogrammetric 3D reconstruction techniques will be used to generate complex digital 3D models of shipwreck sites from hundreds of thousands of underwater images. This will allow vivid experiences to be created which explain the stories of these wrecks. The project will conduct audience engagement studies to recommend the most appropriate methods to implement underwater virtual heritage experiences for Australian audiences. The sites which will be used as test datasets are some of the most significant Australian shipwreck sites, including HMAS Sydney (II) and HMAS AE1.

Institutes:Curtin University, WESTERN AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM, AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM, and University of Calgary.

3D Digital Heritage Models as Sustainable Scholarly Resources

Dr Hafizur Rahaman and I just had an open access article published (online)  “3D Digital Heritage Models as Sustainable Scholarly Resources” in MDPI Sustainability in a Special Issue.


If virtual heritage is the application of virtual reality to cultural heritage, then one might assume that virtual heritage (and 3D digital heritage in general) successfully communicates the need to preserve the cultural significance of physical artefacts and intangible heritage. However, digital heritage models are seldom seen outside of conference presentations, one-off museum exhibitions, or digital reconstructions used in films and television programs. To understand why, we surveyed 1483 digital heritage papers published in 14 recent proceedings. Only 264 explicitly mentioned 3D models and related assets; 19 contained links, but none of these links worked. This is clearly not sustainable, neither for scholarly activity nor as a way to engage the public in heritage preservation. To encourage more sustainable research practices, 3D models must be actively promoted as scholarly resources. In this paper, we also recommend ways researchers could better sustain these 3D models and assets both as digital cultural artefacts and as tools to help the public explore the vital but often overlooked relationship between built heritage and the natural world.

Game prototyping workshop in Turin

At the Politecnico di Torino, Turin Italy, I gave a talk on Monday in their summer school on Cities Cultural heritage and Digital Humanities, on Virtual heritage and publication issues.

Yesterday I ran a workshop on game prototyping especially for history and heritage games.

The slides from the workshop are here

I am particularly interested in developing the conceptual framework for teaching this, on slides 3-4 (with a better diagram!)

Cybermaps in 3D heritage

A journal asked that I respond to a paper that briefly mentions the above. Notes to self include these general questions that I seldom find answers to in virtual heritage papers and not mentioned in my response (the journal has a strict word limit):

  1. Interpretation: It is very hard to extrapolate from VH papers how various interpretations are fostered.
  2. Beginnings: Where do you place a visitor in a virtual site?
  3. Dynamic alterity: How should or could they navigate time, space and interpretation?
  4. Art Versus Scientific Imagination: How should they separate artistic from current reality from interpreted virtuality? What if the artistry is impressive but speculative?
  5. Projects: Where can the projects (that apparently relate to the questions posed in the text), be experienced or otherwise accessed? How will they be preserved?
  6. Interactive Navigation: How do we navigate time, space, interpretation, and task/goal?
  7.  Authenticity, accuracy and artistry: How does one balance all three?

CFP: VSMM2017, Dublin, extended deadline

VSMM2017 – Deadline postponed!
Abstracts and workshop proposals deadline for the 23rd International Conference on Virtual Systems and Multimedia (VSMM2017), has been postponed from June 2nd to June 15th 2017.
The conference will be held October 30th – November 2nd 2017 in Ireland at University College Dublin, with Special Workshops and Cultural Tours on November 3rd – 5th in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Thur 15 Jun 2017 – Deadline for Abstracts/Workshop Proposals
Fri 28 Jul 2017 – Notification of Acceptance to Authors/Presenters
Fri 1 Sep 2017 – Registration Opens
Mon 15 Sep 2017 – Camera-ready Papers Due
Fri 13 Oct 2017 – Registration Closes
Tue 31 Oct – Thur 2 Nov – VSMM2017 Conference in Dublin
Fri 3 Nov – Sun 5 Nov – VSMM2017 Workshops & Cultural Tours in Belfast