Making the Unknown Known & the Past Present via High-Tech Image Capture & VR

Making it possible for people to walk through history and see significant places and objects layered with stories of the past is one way VR and AR can capture the world and open it up for discovery and exploration.

While a picture is worth a thousand words, an immersive VR experience is worth a million.

I have been testing VR/360° content for the last couple of months and have really enjoyed visiting places I could or would never go and learning about topics I might have ignored otherwise - all in a much more immersive and compelling way than viewing pictures, video or text. I recently visited the White House and sort of hung out with the Obamas thanks to the virtual tour they gave me, providing a lot of information about the historic objects they pointed out along the way. It truly felt like a privilege  - Barack, Michelle and I strutting through all these important rooms in this iconic building. I felt present and the experience remains memorable.

The same goes for the immersive tour of one of the previous space shuttles via the VR experience via Light Fields I took part in a couple of weeks ago. It's not really interactive or anything super dynamic, but I got into it quickly and felt like I was as close to being there and seeing things right before my eyes as I ever could be. I knew more about space discovery after the virtual tour than before and I felt like sharing all the details with family and friends, just like I do when at a museum or on an informative tour. The only bad part - which truly felt odd and a little annoying even - was that I couldn't take pictures. It's weird - but when you start feeling immersed, that urge to capture what you're seeing to share with others is strong for those of us addicted to taking photos with our phones. You see such urges and addictions are already being "solved" in experiences like Facebook Spaces, where you can use a virtual selfie stick to take a virtual selfie. Adding that kind of ability to a 360° experience wouldn't be possible - but hopefully it will in VR content as it improves. At least in this day and age, such extras would add to the experience and create sharing and social possibilities, which might increase the interest and use of VR and AR heritage and history apps. Lets' face it, for a lot of people, if there's no picture to post of cool stuff you've seen, it didn't happen! ;-)

If you have a decent headset and are interested in US history, try out the White House experience I mentioned above yourself below or via the Oculus shop (for free). Again, it's not very interactive but it does manage to let you to feel like you are sort of there and see things in a less-distant way, while hearing the stories behind them by the former president and first lady themselves.

In the below video, you can also get an idea of the Light Fields experience (I mentioned above regarding the space shuttle tour), which could become a powerful way to explore heritage sites. The image quality gets better and better due to high-tech cameras (GoPro Odyssey Jump with 16 rotating cameras) that capture light in an extraordinary way. You can see an example of the cameras at work in the video and get a taste of several visually and historically significant locations.

The big news on VR in heritage this week came from none other than the mighty Google thanks to its new Open Heritage Project.

Working with the non-profit company CyArk, Google hopes to preserve important places that might not be around forever and make them accessible to the you's and the me's of the world from our living rooms, work desks and classrooms, rather than just at museums. This isn't a particularly new idea, though it is a noble one of course. Google probably has more money and power to hopefully make the project into something valuable, powerful and significant. You can see a lot of professional, semi-pro and starter 3D -VR heritage work via sites like Sketchfab, which is worth a look. Google and CyArk will bring such  photos and renders to life thanks to laser scanning, photogrammetry and LiDAR technology that CyArk is using.

Watch this video to see how "we are losing the story of where we came from" thanks to "natural disasters and human conflict" and how Google, CyArk and so many other 3D and VR content producers are trying to help us hold on to what is or will be lost by capturing it and sharing it with us in an immersive and memorable way. Right now, there are 27 heritage sites you can explore via the Open Heritage project, with more surely on their way.

Photogrammetry is essential to capturing high quality images, which are vital to creating immersive and rich heritage, history and travel experiences in VR. Such experiences can be extremely useful for education - and to achieve a deep view and the feeling of being present. It's easy to imagine the limitless possibilities as the image capturing and rendering, as well as headsets, content, computing power and memory, continue to develop and improve. If you want to know more about what CyArk is doing and about the power of photogrammetry, here's a just under 30 minute inteview with CyArk from February 2018. You can also see more of their heritage creations here. Just to be clear, LiDAR image capturing technology is far more accurate, especially for heritage projects, but it's too expensive technology for most projects. In the video, the guys from CyArk explain the LiDAR definitely serves their heritage projects better (so luckily they have now teamed up with Google who can afford it ;-)) - but that photogrammetry is good enough for general VR usage. Have a look at this article to get some info on the difference.

Going back to outer space, below you can see some takeaways from a January 2018 presentation by Charles White, a JPL’s Knowledge Management Specialist for the Office of the Chief Engineer. White talks about "Virtual Heritage: Knowledge Management in VR" during the "Virtual and Augmented Reality for Space Science and Exploration" symposium at the Keck Institute for Space Studies. Even though it's mostly about VR uses for space simulation, discovery and practice, White draws our attention away from "project management" and turns to "knowledge management." He looks at VR storytelling as the modern-day campfire, with people sharing stories, knowledge and experience.

Scroll down for the full presentation via video and have a quick view at some of the slides below. There's a lot of food for thought about how VR can preserve, create, stimulate, make it easy to collaborate - and how "experience" is the key to knowledge and learning. VR can help us experience places and stories that are out of our reach, such as outer space, underwater worlds, war-torn monuments, far-off lands and buried treasures, just to name a few.


Storytelling was the first way to be "immersed" in a virtual environment.

Stories transfer knowledge to others in order to survive.


Can you see what I see? We are telling stories...

We are getting more value - We are saving money!

Learning is experience. Everything else is just information. ― Albert Einstein

There's a lot more to be said about using VR for heritage - and using AR, which down the line will probably be much more important and interactive. Keep your eyes open for evolutions in not only VR but also AR and heritage.

by Sarah Markewich – SIVAR project intern spring 2018

Oculus Dash

Op Oculus Connect, kondigde Oculus Head of Rift, Nate Mitchell, de Core 2.0 update aan die naar de Rift op pc kwam, wat Oculus Dash, een totale revisie van de winkel- en bibliotheekervaring op Rift oplevert. Hiermee kan u ook uw desktop apps gebruiken op één van de virtuele monitoren in VR.

Oculus Home en het Universal Menu zijn oorspronkelijk ontworpen voor gamepad-controllers. Zodra Touch op het toneel verscheen, werden de motion controllers simpelweg in laserpointers gemaakt als een stopgat om de interface aan het werk te krijgen.

De update brengt een totale revisie naar Oculus Home en het Universele Menu, een die speciaal is ontworpen voor bewegingsinvoer.

Het volledige artikel kan u vinden via deze link:

Oculus Open-sources Rift DK2

Na de open-sourcing van de Rift DK1 in 2014 volgt nu het recept voor de Rift DK2. Deze development kit 2 headset was released in 2014.
Onder deze open-source license kan iedereen gratis de blueprints downloaden als ook zelf hun headsets produceren.

Wat stelt deze Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license voor?

Je bent vrij om:

  • Deel: kopieer en verdeel het materiaal in elk medium of formaat
  • Pas aan: Transformeer of bouw verder op het materiaal voor elk doel, zelfs commercieel
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    U mag dit op een redelijke manier doen, maar op geen enkele manier die suggereert dat de licentiegever u of uw gebruik onderschrijft.
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    beperken om alles te doen wat de licentie toelaat.

Het volledige artikel kan u vinden via deze link:

Oculus Go

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduceerde de nieuwe Oculus Go-headset tijdens de Oculus Connect-keynoot.

De VR-headset is een goedkope, all-in-one standalone headset die geen gebruik maakt van een smartphone of computer.
Alles wat nodig is voor de VR-ervaring is in de headset ingebouwd. De prijs is $ 200 en de lancering zou begin 2018 zijn.
De Oculus Go streeft naar betaalbaarheid.

Het volledige artikel kan u vinden via deze link:

Overzicht F8 2017

De voorbije 2 dagen ging de Facebook Developers Conference, of kortweg F8, door in San Jose. F8 is *DE* plek waar Facebook al zijn nieuwe aankondigen maakt en sinds de overname van de Oculus Rift wil dat ook zeggen dat er op vlak van AR/VR/MR wel enkele interessante dingen op til zijn. Hieronder maken we een oplijsting van de meest interessante ontwikkelingen.

Facebook kondigt beta van eigen AR platform aan.

Naast VR zal Facebook ook investeren in de ontwikkeling van AR. Hiervoor zal ingezet worden op camera's als primair interactiemodel. Voorlopig is het AR platform in gesloten beta, dus veel is er nog niet bekend. Wel werden de basis principes van object herkenning, detectie van bewegende objecten, digitale voorwerpen in de echte wereld, ... al getoond tijdens de aankondiging. Na een voldoende incubatieperiode zou het wel omgezet worden naar een open platform.

Facebook Spaces gelanceerd in beta.

De langverwachte sociale VR applicatie "Spaces" word eindelijk vrijgegeven voor de Oculus Rift. De sociale applicatie word al een hele tijd bekeken als de "must-have" app om het grote casual publiek eindelijk in het VR bad te krijgen. Tijdens de keynote werd het avatar creatie en aanpassing systeem getoond en de mogelijkheid om 360 graden ruimtes te delen. Mensen die geen toegang hebben tot VR apparatuur kunnen gewoon via hun GSM inbellen op een "space" en zo content delen.

(Bron: UploadVR)

Mark & Hugo

Facebook brengt nieuwe bestuurder aan het hoofd van team Oculus

Facebook heeft bekend gemaakt dat Hugo Barra (ex-Xiaomi vice president) aan het roer van de Oculus VR afdeling word geplaatst. Barra, die mee geholpen heeft aan de creatie van het Android besturingssysteem, zal bij Facebook werken om VR te laten evolueren en er het volgende grote computer platform van te maken. Voor de nieuwe VP betekent dit dat Virtual Reality nog meer op de voorgrond zal moeten gebracht worden met als doel volledig door te breken bij het grote publiek.

Barra liet alvast weten er alle vertrouwen in te hebben: "In onze industrie is er geen grotere roeping dan nieuwe technologie vast te nemen en deze beschikbaar maken voor een grote groep mensen. Ik ben blij dat ik dat exact mag doen bij Facebook.".

(Bron: Gamasutra)