Ancient Objects Come to Life With Augmented Reality Fakes

smart replicas

Technology exists, in part, to help us learn even more about the world around us – and this high-tech art project from artist Maaike Roozenburg is a perfect example of how to make that happen. Roozenburg is using medical CT scanners to create 3D scans of some of the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen’s most fragile pre-industrial tableware items. She then creates copies of these objects and uses augmented reality apps to give viewers a wealth of knowledge about them.

augmented reality historical objects

In general, museums can’t display their entire collections of mundane objects like tableware. And using those objects for their intended purposes in the museum is never, ever allowed. Roozenburg believes that these items were meant to be used, not displayed, and set out to right this wrong. Her recreated ceramic cups can be picked up and used by modern people, giving them their first-ever experience with using intact objects first designed centuries ago.

historical objects recreated

The cups from the museum weren’t quite perfect. Many of them had been broken, discarded, excavated, fixed and then sat in a warehouse or display case for years. Her recreations include each object’s entire story – cracks and all. Even more fascinating is the information attached to each cup via “markers.” These markers interact with the proprietary apps to give the user a complete picture of the cups they are looking at. In this way, the fakes might be even more informative and educational than the hands-off originals currently in the museum.

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See more in Digital Design or under Technology. April, 2013.