p2pnet.net News:- Visitors to Pompeii and other
archaeological sites may soon be able to see more than
just the frescos, taverns and villas.
They'll also be able to watch the people who lived there
before the catastrophic eruption of Vesuvius destroyed the
city in AD79.
The Lifeplus project is part of the European Union's
'Information Society Technologies' (IST) initiative aimed at
promoting a user-friendly information society and enhancing
European cultural heritage.
First demonstrated at Pompeii, the system combines the
visitor's view of the site with computer-generated sound and
animation in a head-mounted display (HMD).
"As the visitor moves through the site wearing a
backpack-mounted computer, a miniature camera mounted on the
HMD captures the view and feeds it to software running on the
computer where the visitor's viewpoint of the scene is
combined with animated virtual elements before being fed back
to the displaym" says Britain's 2d3, the company developing
the real-time camera tracking technology.
"The visitor experiences not only the actual site, but also
sees it peopled with Pompeian citizens going about their
business before the disaster that befell the city," says 2d3,
"Lifeplus for the first time deploys technologies that can
generate augmented reality in real-time, as a visitor walks
unhindered through the site.
"The technologies combining to create the characters in the
scene use leading-edge techniques in hair and cloth
simulation, skin rendering and interactive programmable
shading, and plant simulation; with artificial life algorithms
for behavioural animation of the virtual characters, and
facial emotion software for realistic expressions."
Virtual reality simulations deliver an entirely
computer-generated scene to the viewer, but Lifeplus provides
a more immediate and realistic visualisation by combining live
video of the site with the virtual elements to create the
augmented reality experience, says 2d3.
Software interprets the visitor's view, seen through the
head-mounted miniature camera, to derive the positional and
perspective information crucial for an accurate match between
the real and virtual elements and 2d3 is responsible for this
"2d3's technology automates the matching of virtual and
real by reading the geometry of the scene and calculating the
exact motion of the camera within it to allow the added
computer generated elements to 'sit' in the scene
realistically," says the company
For Lifeplus, 2d3 adapted its software to perform in
"We've used leading-edge computer-vision techniques in our
products for several years now, but this is the first time
that anyone has been able to move a camera through a scene and
have the software to work out in real-time where it is and how
it's moving," says the company's Andrew Stoddart."
see more - 2d3 DEVELOPS REAL-TIME CAMERA TRACKING FOR EU
AUGMENTED REALITY PROJECT, October 29, 2004