Archeologists are using virtual reality to resurrect and preserve ancient history.
Virtual reality became a $5 billion dollar industry in 2016. Some experts predict exponential growth for the industry over the next three years, with services like entertainment leading the increase. But VR also has potential to revolutionize education, finding applications from classrooms to museums, helping kids learn in new ways through immersive experiences.
An Australian startup hopes to take advantage of this potential by resurrecting ancient sites in VR environments and, as reported by Venture Beat, a new $679,000 seed funding round will help the firm do so.
Backed by an interdisciplinary team, Lithodomos VR develops archaeologically accurate renditions of ancient sites, such as the ancient city of Jerusalem and Paris’ Arènes de Lutèce as it would have appeared 2,000 years ago. The software can be used for digital tourism, education, and entertainment for the history buffs among us.
“Lithodomos VR was inspired by a burning desire to travel back in time and see the Greek and Roman worlds first hand,” Simon Young, Lithodomos founder and CEO, told Digital Trends. “VR gave me the tools to do it.”
Young has both a businessman’s stake and an academic interest in the project at hand — he recently submitted an archaeology PhD thesis to the University of Melbourne and suggested this focus on historical precision makes Lithodomos VR’s work so valuable. “What really matters is the archaeological accuracy of the reconstruction,” he said. “We aren’t just computer modelers. We’re also a team of archaeologists, obsessively checking and re-checking every detail to ensure accuracy.”
Lithodomos said it has already been contracted to develop content for museum installations, and will also have a film featured in the Berlin Film Festival. A free app called Ancient World in VR is available to download on Google Play.
The company is now working on a reconstruction of the ancient city of Córdoba, Spain. “It’s one of our most ambitious projects yet, and we’re making sure it’s one of our best,” Young said. “But there are thousands of magnificent ancient sites around the world, just waiting to be brought to life.”