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Applications for Cultural Heritage

Virtual reality techniques can extend our perceptive capacities, enabling interactions between numerical simulations and experimental data. In this sense, virtual reality applications are closely related to those of scientific visualization as they create original ways of browsing and querying visible and invisible, hypothetical and imaginary worlds.

Virtual Cultural Heritage refers to the use of virtual systems to create, navigate and explore areas of cultural interest.

After some projects of scientific visualization, started in the late eighties, the VISIT lab devoted its efforts towards cultural heritage and landscape reconstruction with the study of image processing techniques for the automatic classification of images of fragments of bucchero ware (Etruscan pottery) and the aerial digital photo interpretation of archaeological sites. The next step saw the launch of 3D reconstruction projects, with the creation of digital terrain models integrated with aerial photography, geological data, satellite imagery and GIS data, such as the one created to simulate the eruption of Vesuvius and check the impact of the event on the surrounding areas.

Today the visitor deals mainly with the creation of interactive virtual environments, such as the reconstruction of the center of Bologna with the NUME project (in 4D, with time as the fourth dimension), the Monuments of the Certosa Museum, Casa del Centenario in Pompeii, the Cathedral of Parma in the Middle Ages and the reconstruction of the domestic interiors of the XXth century with the MUVI project. Recently, several reconstructions have been used for the realization of a 3D animated film for the Museum of the City of Bologna, telling in less than 12 minutes, more than two millennia of Bolognese history.

A Blender Render Farm is available as a support to productions for the general public and CG movie making, even stereoscopic.