Virtual Exca-Vacation

Smartphone with the augmented reality app opened showing how a church looked like in the past

Are we there yet? All I see are a bunch of broken walls!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying…these days, the wonders of antiquity…aren’t all that wonderful.

What if we could ACTUALLY peek into the past?

Enter Vicenzo Barrille from the University Mediterranea of Reggio Calabria in Italy. He wanted to find a way to see beyond the dust and stones…

Barrille started by scanning an old church near Africo, a village founded in the ninth century. Using a series of laser cameras, he created a detailed picture of the church’s visible features. Radar then determined how deep the building went underground. Finally, specially designed software was used to fill in the missing parts of the walls.

Barrille coded everything into an augmented reality app. Open the app, hold your phone up to the ruined church, and – ta-daa! The building appears in its heyday!

Barille hopes that his app could make visiting the past a great PAST-time.

So tell the kids to stop whining: We’re VIRTUALLY there!

Reference: Barrile, V., Fotia, A., Bilotta, G., & De Carlo, D. (2019). Integration of geomatics methodologies and creation of a cultural heritage app using augmented reality. Virtual Archaeology Review, 10(20), 40.