Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Visual Time Machine Offers Tourists A Glimpse Of The Past

Date:
August 17, 2009
Source:
ICT Results
Summary:
A ruined temple, ancient frescos and even a long-dead king have been brought to life by a "visual time machine" developed by European researchers.

The final review took place at Reggia Venaria Reale in Turin Italy where the prototype system was demonstrated.
Credit: iTacitus / Fraunhofer IGD

A ruined temple, ancient frescos and even a long-dead king have been brought to life by a “visual time machine” developed by European researchers.

The Palace of Venaria near Turin, Italy, and Winchester Castle in the United Kingdom have already benefited from the technology, which combines augmented reality (AR) content with location awareness on mobile devices to give visitors to historic and cultural sites a deeper, richer and more enjoyable experience. Other places of interest are also set for a virtual renaissance in the near future with a commercial version of the system being developed to run on smart phones.

Augmented reality allows people to see and discover much more than they would normally be able to by overlaying information and images in real time on photos and video taken using a mobile device. Innovative software matches the image being viewed with suitable AR content stored on a central server.

“They can look at a historic site and, by taking a photo or viewing it through the camera on their mobile device, be able to access much more information about it,” explains Luke Speller, a senior researcher at BMT in the United Kingdom who oversaw development of the technology.

“They are even able to visualise, in real time, how it looked at different stages in history,” he adds. The AR system is one component of a comprehensive mobile information platform for tourists developed in the EU-funded iTacitus project (http://itacitus.org/), which also created location-based services and smart itinerary-generating software to help users get the most out of any trip.

Virtual guide for augmented holidays

Visitors to historic cities provide the iTacitus system with their personal preferences – a love of opera or an interest in Roman history, for example – and the platform automatically suggests places to visit and informs them of events currently taking place. The smart itinerary application ensures that tourists get the most out of each day, dynamically helping them schedule visits and directing them between sites.

Once at their destination, be it an archaeological site, museum or famous city street, the AR component helps bring the cultural and historic significance to life by downloading suitable AR content from a central server.

At the Palace of Venaria, a UNESCO World Heritage site, the iTacitus system allowed users to see how frescos on the walls of the Sale Diana once appeared and superimpose a long-gone temple in the colourful gardens to the pictures of the ruins on their mobile phone. In Winchester, the system showed visitors the court inside the castle’s Great Hall and even offered an introduction by a virtual King Alfred.

“One of [our] key innovations is that we do not need markers in each location to tell the mobile device to show a certain image or pull up certain information. Instead, the video or photograph taken by the user is sent to a server and analysed by software that matches it with AR content in the database,” Speller says.

“Test users loved the concept of the system,” he adds. However, the project manager admits that they were less keen on the hardware initially chosen to conduct the trials.

Coming to a smart phone near you

“We used small portable computers, but people found them hard to see in daylight and too bulky to carry around. That hardware issue has been solved by the iPhone and similar smart phones, which were not as advanced as they are today when the project began three years ago,” Speller says.

With increasingly ubiquitous smart phone users in mind, the iTacitus project partners are now developing the software further with the aim of creating suitable AR and location-aware applications for the iPhone and for Google’s Android mobile operating system.

“Our aim is to make the application available for free and then charge users a fee for AR content for different locations... It would be a similar amount or even less than they would pay for a guidebook, but offering them a much richer experience,” explains Ben Hodgson, an administrative manager of the iTacitus project at BMT.

The project partners envisage AR content being generated by museums, historical sites and the tourist boards of historic cities and regions looking to promote themselves to visitors. That could be particularly beneficial for less well-known sites by encouraging tourists to get “off the beaten track.” In addition, the researchers see possibilities for user-generated content to be incorporated into the system, further enriching visitor experiences.

“It’s probable that, by giving visitors access to more information in a more interactive way and helping them find different events and places of interest more easily, they will spend more time and do more during their visit,” Speller says.

iTacitus received funding from the ICT strand of the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme for research.

Fraunhofer IGD is responsible for the augmented reality module of the iTACITUS project. For more information and videos of the augmented reality module, see:

http://a4http://www.igd.fraunhofer.de/projects/49/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbIioo09Ou4


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by ICT Results. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

ICT Results. "Visual Time Machine Offers Tourists A Glimpse Of The Past." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 August 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090812104219.htm>.
ICT Results. (2009, August 17). Visual Time Machine Offers Tourists A Glimpse Of The Past. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090812104219.htm
ICT Results. "Visual Time Machine Offers Tourists A Glimpse Of The Past." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090812104219.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Newsy (Apr. 23, 2014) — A Harvard University study suggests monkeys can use symbols to perform basic math calculations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet

High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) — The future of Aereo, an online service that provides over-the-air TV channels, hinges on a battle with broadcasters that goes before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Aereo Takes on Broadcast TV Titans in Supreme Court Today

Aereo Takes on Broadcast TV Titans in Supreme Court Today

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) — Aereo heads to the Supreme Court today to fight for its right to stream broadcast TV over the Internet -- against broadcasters who say the start-up infringes upon copyright law. TheStreet Deputy Managing Editor Leon Lazaroff explains the importance of the case in the TV industry and details what the outcome of it could mean for broadcasters and for cloud storage services -- as Aereo allows its subscribers to not just watch live TV shows but also store content to a DVR in the cloud. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lytro Introduces 'Illum,' A Professional Light-Field Camera

Lytro Introduces 'Illum,' A Professional Light-Field Camera

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — The light-field photography engineers at Lytro unveiled their next innovation: a professional DSLR-like camera called "Illum." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins