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Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Digital Past 2016: High-Tech Drones and Immersive Displays – Exploiting New Technologies for Digital Heritage

The statement that Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and unmanned system (UxV) technologies such as drones, are today more widely available than ever before to industry, researchers and hobbyists alike, will come as no surprise. There are those who believe that the proliferation of high-tech products such as these pose a threat to society on many levels. However, from a digital or virtual heritage standpoint and in the right hands, they also offer exciting and increasingly affordable possibilities in both the development and delivery of rich, interactive, educational experiences to a wide range of end users and audiences.

In this presentation, Professor Bob Stone, Director of the Human Interface Technologies Team at the
University of Birmingham, will describe a number of (predominantly, but not exclusively) maritime heritage case studies developed during 2014 and 2015 where VR, AR and drone technologies have been used to excellent effect in surveying and digitally reconstructing remote, often inaccessible sites, and then presenting the results to a wide range of communities and ages. Included within the case study portfolio are the wreck sites of the SS James Eagan Layne (Whitsand Bay, 1945); HM Submarine A7 (Whitsand Bay, 1914); the Maria (Firestone Bay, Plymouth, 1774) – host vessel to the first ever submariner fatality; the Hooe Lake wrecks in Plymouth; the UK’s first subsea habitat – the GLAUCUS (1965) – now just a rusting hulk off the Breakwater Fort in Plymouth; and the Anne (1690) shipwreck project, which featured the first ever digital resurrection of an historic vessel using Augmented Reality techniques from a quadcopter in flight over the ship’s final resting place on Pett Level Beach near Hastings.

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