A User Study of Virtual Reality for Visualizing Digitized Canadian Cultural Objects

A User Study of Virtual Reality for Visualizing Digitized Canadian Cultural Objects

Miguel Angel Garcia-Ruiz (Algoma University, Canada), Pedro Cesar Santana-Mancilla (Universidad de Colima, Mexico) and Laura Sanely Gaytan-Lugo (Universidad de Colima, Mexico)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5912-2.ch003


Algoma University holds an important collection of Canadian objects from the Anishinaabe culture dating from 1880. Some of those objects have been on display in the university's library, but most of them still remain stored in the university's archive, limiting opportunities to use them in teaching and learning activities. This chapter describes a research project focusing on digitizing and visualizing cultural artifacts using virtual reality (VR) technology, with the aim of supporting learning of Canadian heritage in cross-cultural courses. The chapter shows technical aspects of the objects' 3D digitization process and goes on to explain a user study with students watching a 3D model displayed on a low-cost VR headset. Results from the study show that visualization of the 3D model on the VR headset was effective, efficient, and satisfactory enough to use, motivating students to keep using it in further sessions. Technology integration of VR in educational settings is also analyzed and discussed.
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The literature shows many examples and techniques for the digitization of objects, buildings and archaeological sites in 3D (Portales et al., 2017). There are a number of digital acquisition methods for capturing cultural heritage 3D data to carry out 3D reconstruction, which is the capturing of 3D digital information of a real object and constructing the object’s digital shape and appearance (Gomes, Bellon & Silva, 2014). 3D digitizing methods include:

Key Terms in this Chapter

Immersion: Psycho-physiological user perception of being physically present in a virtual environment.

Model Mesh: Collection of reference points in X, Y, and Z axes that define a graphical 3D shape with width, height, and depth.

3D Model: A 3D computer graphics object composed of polygons such as triangles or rectangles.

Intrinsic Motivation: User or learner’s behavior that is based on internal rewards and the motivation to engage in them. It arises from within the person because it is naturally satisfying to him/her.

Kanban Board: A workflow and work visualization chart describing activities flow within a project, originally created in the 1940s by Toyota.

Anishinaabe: Autonym for a group of culturally-related indigenous peoples in Canada and northern United States including the Algonquin, Chippewa, Odawa, Ojibwe, Oji-Cree, Mississaugas, and Potawatomi peoples.

3D Scanner: Digital device connected to a computer used to digitize an object in 3D, capturing reference points in X, Y, and Z axes, and sometimes acquiring color from those reference points.

Interpupillary Distance: The term refers to distance between the user’s pupils, employed in virtual reality headsets and other VR-related visualization equipment.

Texture: An image that is associated to a 3D model and is generated by 3D scanners that capture color, which forms the surface (“skin”) of the model.

Cultural Object: An object made by people for a spiritual and/or practical purpose or activity that may have functional and/or artistic relevance.

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