Interactive Mixed Reality Experiences: Integrated Digital Representations of Tangible/Intangible Cultural Heritage Assets and Immersive Technology Applications to Improve Heritage Visitor Experiences

Alrihani, Nemeh
(2022) Interactive Mixed Reality Experiences: Integrated Digital Representations of Tangible/Intangible Cultural Heritage Assets and Immersive Technology Applications to Improve Heritage Visitor Experiences. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

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Cultural Heritage (CH) comprises the material and cultural legacy from the past which we are entrusted to preserve for future generations. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has a rich CH, unfortunately threated by various risks from climate change to terrorism. New visualisation technologies can change the way we preserve and experience physical and virtual environments. Our world is full of newly developed digital methods and technologies of hardware and software capable of enhancing our ability to digitise, capture, record, document, analyse and visualise physical and non-physical CH assets. Both advanced hardware and software are currently available with affordable costs that enable more unskilled users to implement such technology in the service of CH and Virtual Heritage (VH) applications. Intangible CH such as skills, crafts, music, dance, and other recordable and digitisable culture, cannot be engaged without the use of other methods, while tangible CH (e.g., physical artefacts) can be exhibited in CH sites and museums. VH reconstructions can preserve destroyed CH monuments, enabling digital recreation or physical replica reconstructions, allowing visitor access. Intangible heritage is harder to conserve and demonstrate authentically in reality. 3D visualisation and interaction technology provide several possibilities to visualise, and experience destroyed sites, lost monuments, disappeared cultural practices, and inaccessible environments. Immersive technology and its applications have attracted many users and their interests in different domains, namely, enhancing educational and entertainment users’ experiences. It has created a new user interface paradigm offering unprecedented new experiential scenarios via human-computer interaction. Users can view and manipulate 3D virtual environments akin to the physical, real-world environment, accessing different CH environments in real-world or virtual environments through different experiences, such as AR and VR installations for developing mixed reality location-based and fully immersive experiences, overcoming barriers to real-world access. Consequently, visitors can access and explore virtually reconstructed synthetic environments and CH assets through different interactive scenarios and experimental engaging experiences utilising various devices and technologies within different realities. VH has mainly been used for tangible CH, but this research provides a springboard for a comprehensive theoretical basis and practice-based research pipeline for developing new engaging experiences in different CH contexts that encompass intangible CH in integrated experiences. The proposed methodological model presents a structured workflow based on previous VH studies, offering a theoretical framework and practice-based research methods for collecting and analysing information, reconstructing, and representing CH assets, and disseminating VH content and environments in the form of enhanced engaging, interactive experiences. This research investigates the potential of available and affordable digital methods in collecting information, representing, and disseminating various threatened or vanished tangible/intangible CH assets to create integrated 3D environments in both physical and virtual worlds for engaging interactive experiences that capable to merge tangible/intangible CH using immersive technologies. The proposed methodological model phases – documentation, representation, and dissemination – are applied over real affected MENA locations to measure efficiency in each phase of a unified system. The outcomes include recommendations to improve experimental visitor experiences in different CH contexts using immersive technology installations, offering new ideas, propositions, and guidelines for authorised heritage institutions in Jordan to enhance 3D digital CH documentation, virtual reconstruction, and new concepts for computerised heritage.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of the Arts
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2022 14:25
Last Modified: 01 Jan 2024 02:31
DOI: 10.17638/03159828