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Archaeology and VR

December 2016
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VR (virtual reality) viewers and videos are getting increasingly popular these days, and one might presume that several Christmas gifts this year were related to VR.

What is VR? VR, according to Wikipedia, “typically refers to computer technologies that use software to generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations that replicate a real environment (or create an imaginary setting), and simulate a user’s physical presence in this environment, by enabling the user to interact with this space and any objects depicted therein using specialized display screens or projectors and other devices. VR has been defined as “…a realistic and immersive simulation of a three-dimensional environment, created using interactive software and hardware, and experienced or controlled by movement of the body”[1] or as an “immersive, interactive experience generated by a computer”.[2] A person using virtual reality equipment is typically able to “look around” the artificial world, move about in it and interact with features or items that are depicted on a screen or in goggles. Virtual realities artificially create sensory experiences, which can include sight, touch, hearing, and, less commonly, smell. Most 2016-era virtual realities are displayed either on a computer monitor, a projector screen, or with a virtual reality headset (also called head-mounted display or HMD). HMDs typically take the form of head-mounted goggles with a screen in front of the eyes. Some simulations include additional sensory information and provide sounds through speakers or headphones. Virtual Reality actually brings the user into the digital world by cutting off outside stimuli. In this way user is solely focusing on the digital content.”

There are several ways of viewing, e.g.,  VR videos. Old me even got a viewer to see videos on Iphone. There are, namely, several apps available for Iphone, that when viewed in a special viewer, can display simple VR videos. But of course, the better the equipment, the better the end result.

VR and the ancient world.  The main reason for this blog post is, however, a brief post recently by Jim Davila on his own blog, pointing to the existence of a new app ( http://www.lithodomosvr.com/ ) making it possible to ‘see’ ancient Jerusalem and other sites from the ancient Greek and Roman world.

One might surmise that here may lay great opportunities for educational valuable devices. Or, to quote from the Lithodomus website: “Archaeology and virtual reality are changing the way we view and understand history. From excavated remains we can reflect centuries of history, from Classical Greece to the Roman Empire, and deliver it seamlessly in a virtual reality headset.”


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