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An Introduction to XR technology in Heritage

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We should now be able to see my presentation. So, overview of tonight's I'm just checked, you can all see that. Yes, you can. Brilliant. So, overview of this evening we're going to look at in this this talk, we're going to look at drones LiDAR, and how aerial filming gives us another perspective, we're going to look at photogrammetry, 3d scanning and modelling, we're also going to look at augmented reality, virtual reality and placemaking experiences. So it's quite a lot to focus on. But I want to really draw your attention to the immersive qualities of new technology, and how we can tell stories. That's what I'm trying to focus on, really. So this session tonight is recorded. So we myself deliver until approximately 650. Then we'll have Dr. One heavy arts, followed by Dr. Dave Cowley, then we'll have visual artists, Joe Duffy, followed by our break six 7:50pm. Until 8:05pm, that'll be a good opportunity just to get a little bit of downtime and review some of the links perhaps after which we'll have Professor Trevor Cox, and then we'll be followed by Professor Bob stone. And then we'll have a QA. So we're gonna do a QA at the end of the session, try and get a few questions, you can of course, use the chat, I want you to use the chat, please, as much as possible to try and get the most out of this. And then we've also set up a special room for you as well heritage base where you can actually go online and explore a bit of online heritage as well. So this might be quite an interesting way, just to show how you can have an online experience as well afterwards and a bit more detail on this. So we've got some fantastic guest speakers. So I'm really proud to have been able to pull this off and hopefully the audio will tune up so and that's why you're here because we've got some really great people. We've got dr. Vaughn here we are talking about preserving indigenous cultural heritage through pre video game technology that's on Easter Island for the Rapanui tribes that sounds like you know, really looking forward to hearing that myself. And we've got the visual artists Joe Duffy talking about cleaning sites in Ireland, exploring the use of VR, and shared experiences of loss, I have to put a caveat for that for Joe Duffy. He is not able to make it this evening. However, I did interview Joe Duffy, I'm gonna play that back. It's quite a moving piece and quite quite really deep. So it's really interesting. Please stick around for that. And then we got Dr. Dave Cowley, he's going to talk about new ways of looking for the past developing archaeological survey in the 21st century. So quite a few speakers there. But that's not the end of it. Of course, we've got other people as well, we've got Professor Trevor Cox, who's going to show is using scale modelling to assess the pre story acoustic acoustics of Stonehenge, can we say that, those sounds, that's quite funny. And then we've got Professor Bob stone, what lies beneath visualising and interpreting the history of submerge landscapes. so surreal tour de force of technology, it's a really exciting time with new tech, of course, it's really sort of shaking the foundries of, of history and our understanding of the human condition, essentially. And that's one of the reasons why I wanted to put this on to really shine a light on the amazing things that have been done. So that leads me to the goals of the session, really, I want to connect you guys in this room, researchers, technologists and those working in heritage, I want to start conversations about how we can preserve heritage through digital technology, because there is some amazing things going on right now. And I want to provide a platform for future dialogue. So I will be following up after this session as well. And for your your information to consider recording controls and so Okay, yeah. Brilliant. Joshua, thanks for that. Josh just sent me a message. I could see the recording controls I've removed move that now. So we're going to look at the the these as a platform for further conversations in the future as well. There's a lot of tech there to talk about. A bit about me, so I'm trained as a filmmaker and AR and VR developer. My name is Keith Meyers, of course, I'm the Creative Director of AV Merce and a guest lecturer at Oxford University at the University of Manchester and several others. I'm also the lead trainer at the Unity Centre of Excellence in MediaCity. UK for creative work for Manchester into an international festival as an artist, and my sort of background really now is working in healthcare heritage, which is my passion and the arts as well. So I'm going to show you a little bit of kind of the possibilities and what what we've been doing this kind of like warm your appetite a little bit perhaps So those are some of the possibilities with the technology. This is just a snippet of what you can actually do. The people are going to be talking tonight, I've got so many other types of inputs as well and different things that we can do. Again, we focus on heritage projects and augmented reality training simulations for healthcare services and engineering solutions. That's kind of our bread and butter, what we do, you know, the passion for me, is the heritage stuff. And this is kind of like the conversations want to start and show what can be done together. So, my journey throughout this I want to talk a little bit of how I got involved. And it's just to contextualise this for everyone else that you know, you most of you don't know me. And we've sold over 250 tickets tonight as well. So that's, that's amazing. Really proud of that achievement. So great to have you all here again. So I was reading Graham Hancock, I guess Graham Hancock's a bit of a gateway drug or a gateway book offer, at least he was the one that really opened, started to open my eyes to the possibility and ask the questions about our past. And then went on a little journey in 2012, went to Southeast Asia, met some amazing people went to Angkor Wat, which is the top image on the right. And then the same trip went to the Plain of Jars, which is in Laos, which is the bottom right image I didn't know at the time that was considered a megalithic site, these ancient structures, so this kind of got me thinking and then obviously, I went to Stonehenge, which is the kind of cooling group of people you see in that picture with me. So going on that journey, and then discovering this, this is kind of like, you know, 10 years ago, and I've been following a lot of people who are creating content in this space as well. This is kind of my personal journey, I guess, is why I want to show you then I went to South America in 2013. I got the opportunity. I'm very fortunate, of course, to go to Easter Island. I'm thrilled to have Dr. One here we are talking about his project on Israel. And then I went to Machu Picchu, and which is about an image on the left. Then I started to think to myself, who made this stuff and what else could they have actually done in the past as well, because you've got this enigma, pre the past, we don't actually know the full picture of all this stuff. And that's kind of like my my hobby or interest to guess. And this is why I want to pursue this kind of stuff. I was exploring local history in 2012. So I'm actually from the humble town of Warrington, which is kind of a post almost industrial landscape between Manchester and Liverpool, I guess you could call it very good for it's IKEA. I believe that's why that's why it's known. But back in 2012, I was speaking to the director of the church, the parish church, which is called St Alphons. Interestingly, that church was chronicled in the Domesday Book of 1086. And I thought, That's really interesting. You know, I don't really hear that story when I was at school, and I'm from this this town, so you know what's going on here. When I was getting speaking to him further that the Rex was telling me about the legends of tunnels underneath the church. That was really interesting as well. And of course, it's famous because of the War of the Roses, which is the English Civil War. So Oliver Cromwell had his garrison in Warrington. And legend goes that the tunnels were used to transport troops from one part of Warrington theatre, those tunnels, as far as I know, have never been found. So as a little bit of a legend, but before becoming a church, what was really intriguing in 650 a day, I heard this story that it was also a sacred ceremonial ground. This, you know, the popular druid image, we get this story, don't we know this is romantic image of the druid that was doing this kind of stuff. But this apparently was a sacred ground before it became a church. And that's, you know, not an uncommon story throughout the British Isles where the sacred grounds were repurposed because of their connections to some sacred past and some reason that we're using these sites. So I found that really intriguing, despite many attempts and communications with the church, have not been able to conduct our heritage work. So this is my frustration a little bit as well. I want to you know, work with these organisations, but I think there's there's real barriers there. You know, and trying to break down those barriers really. So, I want to just mention briefly without bamboozling you, XR technology because XR technology is particularly important for this talk, and it's not the only technology I'm going to mention that sounds like a possible level, what does that actually mean? So XR technology constitutes three things fundamentally, this is the ecosystem and other free technologies you can think about this as an umbrella if you like. And there are deeper definitions online boards we've got, broadly speaking, we've got virtual reality, which is a headset or head mounted display the put on, then you've got augmented reality that you would use with your mobile phone. And then you've got mixed reality, which is, I guess, kind of blending the physical and the digital devices such as the Microsoft HoloLens could be described as a mixed reality device, because you're getting tactile feedback from the real world, also a digital overlay as well, I want you to just bear those those terminologies in mind, while I talk you through them a little bit, because some of the speakers are going to cross over and talk about these as well. So augmented reality, you know, just think about your mobile phone, you know, Snapchat filters, things like this, where you can see a visual overlay of the environment. What's going on right now is a really interesting thing with cloud computing, the map systems, the Google you in using the immersive maps coming onto line. So there's a real sort of opportunity for this next iteration of technology. So I think it's really exciting, then we've, before I define that, so according to Oxford, it's a technology that superimposes a computer generated image, I've used this view of the real world, thus providing a composite view. So just think about it. This is a digital overlay, essentially, over a real world environment, we don't need to get too technical with that. The humble PokemonGo was the kind of 2015 Approximately experience that was sort of exploding around the world, and everyone was chasing Pikachu around. God knows what happened to him during COVID, he was probably hiding away in your bedroom somewhere, I don't know. But Pokemon Go was alive, direct or indirect view, a physical real world environment whose elements are augmented. That's the key there. So this could be video graphics, GPS, you know, images, anything that you can overlay, including 3d models, which will show you in a moment over your, your device. So your device is really the things that is augmenting your reality, because your camera phone is so advanced, we can do this. And again, this is a really exciting time. Virtual reality. This is a head mounted display, where you are immersed inside that environment where you're actually locked off your your head is in this kind of hemisphere, you look around, and you can see these computer generated images, or it could be a film that's recorded. But broadly speaking VR, where does the term come from? It came in the 1960s, the virtual began to emerge within the computer industry to signify something that appear to exist without actually existing, eg virtual memory. And this allowed us to start interrogating questions on ontology really like who we are, what we're doing here, you know, we've got the popular popular sort of simulation theory and this kind of thing. Now, based upon the fact that we can actually create these these simulated worlds. So people are now theorising that we might be in a simulation. You know, I think we could do much better. But you know, there's a counter argument there that we would reject an on perfect world. This fella this, Jaron Lanier, he's an American writer, computer scientists and pioneer of VR. I guess he's kind of the godfather of this, of this technology. He, he was the one who coined the term approximately 1989 to describe the experience made possible by the latest generation of goggles, gloves and related technologies. Three years, three years later, Pierre Libby wrote by Priya was too important to be ignored. Essentially, she got cultural theorists writing about this technology. Now, you've got not just the people who are making the technology. But also the people starting to think about it more deeply. When Professor Bob stone speaks later on, he'll be able to to talk about some of his work with NASA in the US and other organisations. He's done some incredible things in his 35 year history. But yeah, this is kind of interesting technology. We've got mixed reality in this equation as well. So these these devices, this is a very, I mean, I did say that I must admit, I did say this from Google is kind of obvious, but you can actually mess around with the, the the environment using these devices on your head, basically. But you can still see the real world in front of you. So you can project a digital image over the environment. So it's like, it's almost like kind of having a phone on your on your face. You can see through it. But you can also you can also interact with the digital. So you've got those three terms of virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality if anything, you take those things away from tonight, but I'm sure you're gonna take a lot of things away as well. So I just want to mention it within that we've got converging technologies. So it's not just about XR technology. There's all sorts of crazy and wonderful and magical things going on right now. We've got XR tech, which which I just mentioned a moment ago, but some of our speakers are going to be talking about particularly about subjects such as LiDAR, drones, AI, machine learning, AI, meaning artificial intelligence, of course, we've got robotics, nanotechnology, genetic engineering, and digital twins. So there's all these different types of technologies that are kind of going on. Right now. And this is real, interesting time. Just want to talk briefly about some of our heritage projects. And just to give you a flavour about augmented reality, what can actually be achieved? This is just a heritage image that we've included in an app, it's the actual leads linked to Liverpool. During the the canal taken out, over 218 20, I think it was. So the cabin landscape augmented reality experience that we created, was delivered for Android and iOS devices. So these are Placemaker experiences where you go and explore the landscape and actually augment the reality. And then what's gonna happen with that is that you can have this Placemaker experience essentially, I'll just show you a snippet of this as well.

The black necked Grebe is a small diving waterbird that lives on fish and insects. They have very unusual bright red eyes and golden cheeks. The Dragonfly might win the award for the coolest insect name in the world, don't you think? This ancient insect has been around for a very long time. Britons are a very shy member of the Heron family, dull brown feathers.

Keith Myers

And that's the carbon landscape variants just go past that. So it's an augmented reality app combined 3d models, voiceover and archive footage. It's a Placemaker experience exploring local history. And an across the area of that carbon landscape, which is a trust. And we've got the megalithic explorer, very similar thing, but this is more and more my passion. This is what I did in my master's and commercial project that I developed as part of this. And I wanted to showcase megalithic sites across the UK because we've got an amazing megalithic history here in the UK and the British Isles, there's so much going on. And you know, we can really interrogate this with the use of Android and iOS devices we can step through portals have to over spaces, use technologies with this was drones 3d scanning, photogrammetry and LiDAR, I'll play a very quick snippet of this before I move on. Essentially, that's kind of stepping through portals to megalithic sites in the UK that was and we're also working on a VR experience as well. Trying to get funding for this, of course, I'm skipping ahead a little bit because I'm conscious of time or keep within 20 minutes, I've set out really sort of a heritage projects that we're working on working with the artist Joe Duffy for virtual reality. And using drones essentially then some performing artist of VR experience called firehouse look at the history of London Road fire station. So there's a lot you can actually do with this stuff. And just last thing before I introduce the first speaker, I am rushing a little bit again and just trying to get in as much as possible before we have the first amazing speaker. So we've created an online space for you as well. I'm going to share the link throughout this this talk. And we're going to sift and get everyone on that space at the end as well using the platform called spatial. So we'll see how that goes for any cover up to a maximum 50 people on the space at one moment. So that kind of use, you know a bit of our direction and using Stonehenge here to try and create something a bit interesting.

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