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Local heritage day 2013

Laura Bernard - 12/09/2013

Interaction in Spatial Augmented Reality and preserving heritage

For those involved in heritage, the year 2013 is of particular importance: it marks the commemoration of the centenary of the law of 31 December 1913, the founding text for the protection of historic monuments in France, as well as the celebration of the 30th edition of the European Heritage Days. On this occasion, the Inria Bordeaux – Sud-Ouest Research Centre wanted to reveal how computing plays a major role in safeguarding our architectural heritage. Focus on the MANAO team

Standing at the confluence between optics and computer graphics, the Manao team has set itself the goal of studying how light, matter and shape work together in synergy, in order to arrive at new depictions of appearance. The MANAO project also aims to examine transfers between the real world and the virtual world, as well as the digital world and the final observer, thus enabling computer graphics applications for scientists, artists, industry as well as heritage to be developed.

Brett Ridel studies interaction in Spatial Augmented Reality with the constant aim of bringing digital information to the real world.

What is the Spatial Augmented Reality ?

Spatial Augmented Reality is a technique that allows an object to be enhanced, i.e. for information to be obtained on the subject of the particular object using a video projector.

What does your MANAO research project consist of?

Brett Ridel  : "The main idea is to improve reading of archaeological objects by highlighting their geometric characteristics. To do so, a video projector projects geometric information directly onto the object. This makes it possible to colour convexities (bumps) and concavities (hollows) on the surface of the object in red and blue.
To make this experience interactive, the user must hold in his/her hand a peripheral, which simulates the use of a torch/flashlight. Based on the position and spatial orientation of the interactor, the video projector illuminates the object by simulating a spotlight. Depending on the angle of inclination and the distance between the archaeological object and the interactor, the luminous intensity of the spotlight on the surface of the object varies."

Qu’est-ce que le projet V-MUST ?

Brett Ridel  : The V-MUST project is a European network of excellence. Its aim is to combine recent computing techniques, such as Augmented Reality, with exhibition environments in real museums. Within the framework of this project, Allard Pierson Museum (Amsterdam) has made use of our team's expertise to install a version of this system.

Rather than displaying information relating to the geometry of an object, the idea is to display an artefact's original colours (based on an archaeologist's assessment) as they were before time took its toll. This time, the torch is simulated directly by the user's finger (the finger is detected by Leap Motion technology).

With installation having been completed at the beginning of July, it has been possible to gather initial opinions, and it is noted that even visitors who are not necessarily familiar with the field of Spatial Augmented Reality like being able to easily visualise the colours of the original stele.

In this case, one of the interesting aspects is combining the world of archaeology with the world of computing."

What are the challenges involved in this project

Brett Ridel  : "The main challenges in terms of interaction are to enable people who are not accustomed to, or even sometimes resistant to computing (as a whole) to gain access to a set of information that is available thanks to Spatial Augmented Reality.
A future exhibition in the Cap Science Bordeaux Living Lab is scheduled and will enable more results to be obtained on the subject of this system, thereby enabling the legibility of archaeological objects to be improved."

Keywords: Manao Inria Bordeaux - Sud-Ouest Réalité augmentée