Theses Master's

Mixed Reality for Historic Preservation

Ramos, Halley

Digital technologies are becoming widely available to experts in the field of historic preservation. These tools equip experts with the capability to obtain high resolution and accurate information about cultural heritage, which can be accurately reproduced and rematerialized without coming into contact with the physical object itself. This preservation approach is described as non-contact, meaning that it is not invasive to the material integrity of an artifact. Since the turn of the century, stakeholders in the field have increasingly focused their attention on digital technologies for advancing the field. The motivation for experts to preserve cultural heritage with digital technologies starts with the idea of merging the two, and in recent years, innovations in high-resolution digital imaging, recording, processing, modeling and reproduction capabilities have fostered the integration of a virtual environment. Mixed Reality (MR), which the merging of digital and physical worlds, not only allows experts to expand possibilities for preservation interventions once all physical range of actions have been exhausted, but it also makes it possible for experts to intervene digitally before carrying out a preservation treatment. MR can be used as a tool to create hybrid environments for experts and researchers to better manage and understand cultural heritage, which in turn allows them to provide the public with a deeper understanding about cultural heritage. The traditionally object-centric nature of the historic preservation field favors MR over Virtual Reality, since the former engages with the physical site or artifact themselves. By allowing field experts and visitors to visualize scenes in situ from viewpoints that are impossible due to size, content or accessibility issues, the installation of MR’s formless aesthetics engages viewers of cultural heritage through new and innovative ways. The application of MR offers countless strategies for approaching conservation and interpretation projects in historic preservation. But, despite its capacity to enhance the practice of historic preservation, MR poses new technological and methodological questions for the field. As a burgeoning tool and constantly changing field, there have been very few studies conducted on the application of MR to the field of historic preservation. This thesis argues that, on the one hand, MR provides innovative strategies for approaching preservation problems; but on the other hand, the absence of standards, guidelines, and techniques make it difficult to evaluate and propose new projects in the field. As a response to this deficiency, I propose a framework to evaluate and use MR for the preservation of cultural heritage. This framework is first tested to evaluate three case studies, and next, to propose a unique MR strategy for the complex preservation case of the San Baudelio de Berlanga Hermitage in the province of Soria, Spain. This thesis aims to contribute a MR framework and methodology that provides a consistent conceptual approach to MR projects in the field.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Historic Preservation
Thesis Advisors
Bayod Lucini, Carlos
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
September 25, 2018