A Future for the Past at Allard Pierson Museum
Augmented Reality application about Roman Forum and Satricum
For 75 years, since it was founded in 1934, the Allard Pierson Museum has been Amsterdam’s foremost venue for discovering archaeology and the ancient civilisations of Egypt, the Near East, the Greek world and the Roman Empire. To mark this 75th anniversary, the exhibition entitled “A Future for the Past”, is bringing together the past, present and future. Archaeology is revived using state-of-the-art visualisation techniques.
Fraunhofer IGD presents together with Visual Dimension two Augmented Reality applications about Satricum and the Roman Forum . Therefore two large photographs on the walls of the exhibition space are superimposed with information via Augmented Reality technology.
The background image of the Rome application is the oldest photograph of the Roman Forum in a Dutch collection, with visible excavations, preserved as a glass negative in the Allard Pierson Museum. The picture has been studied in detail and has been dated in 1855. On top of this photograph several points of interest (POI) are superimposed: Temple of Saturn, Via Sacra, Colosseum, … Each POI reveals information via context sensitive media like photographs, rendered images of Rome Reborn reconstructions and videos.
Satricum is situated 60 km south of Rome and started in the 9th century BC as a Latin village on an acropolis, a higher place near the river Astura. It had a temple hut, that was converted into a small stone building. Around 540 BC, a first temple was build. It was replaced only 40 years later by a larger temple, that probably existed another four centuries, although the city had already been destroyed by the Romans in 346 BC. Our Augmented Reality application tells an interactive story of this place. A 3D reconstruction of the first temple augments the photograph in the background. Several points of interest around the temple are showing media overlays and information about excavations, the temple construction, records, …
The applications are presented on two hardware devices: the MovableScreen and UMPCs. The MovableScreen is a stationary Augmented Reality see through device. It consists of a large display mounted on a revolving aluminum pillar. The image of a camera on the back of the pillar is shown on the screen and thus enables the video see through effect: It’s seems like one can look through the display and the pillar. Interaction with the points of interest is simple: While the visitor looks around by rotating the MovableScreen, the POI in the middle of the screen pops up a bubble with an image slideshow or a movie. Furthermore a description text appears on the screen.
The UMPC simulates how these applications are working on the real scene outdoors. It features video see through effect, too. Looking on the UMPCs screen seems like seeing though it and looking at the two photographs. When focusing a POI with the cross hair in the middle of the screen, again a bubble with a preview of the underlying information pops up. Touching that bubble enables a full screen view of movies, image slideshows and description text about the POI. The visitor puts down the UMPC in order to read the information and focuses the next POI afterwards.
These applications build on the results of the project iTACITUS. The tracking of the devices (MovableScreen and UMPCs) is achieved by a computer vision technology called “Poster Tracking”. Therefore features of the two background images are extracted and stored in randomized trees for fast recognition. After this initialization the camera position and orientation is computed via KLT frame-to-frame tracking.