Industry 4.0 in Cultural Industry: A Review on Digital Visualization for VR and AR Applications

Industry 4.0 in Cultural Industry: A Review on Digital Visualization for VR and AR Applications

Antonios Kargas, Dimitrios Varoutas
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1234-0.ch001
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This chapter enlightens how Industry 4.0 is gradually implemented in Cultural Industry. Even though Industry 4.0 started from manufacturing, it soon expanded to less technologically consuming industries, such as the Cultural, creating new opportunities especially in the field of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technologies. Taking into account existing research on Industry 4.0 and its main technologies and existing research and projects on Cultural Heritage's aspects related with the 4th Industrial Revolution, the chapter investigates how Industry 4.0 is implemented into Cultural Sector from a technological point of view, but moreover to investigate its potential role.
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The 4th Industrial Revolution, also known as Industrial 4.0 has already made its presence noticeable. It gives its signs through a growing tension of digitizing everything, alongside with technologies that aim to effectively capture and quickly analyze amounts of real-time data, in order to deliver various types of meaningful information. Following this, technological research targets on developing accurate, easy to implement / use and cost-effective technologies, such as artificial intelligence, analytics, internet of things’ technologies, automation, machine learning and others (Liao, Deschamps, Loures, & Ramos, 2017).

As a result of its ongoing evolve it is difficult to give a widely accepted and holistic definition of what Industry 4.0 will become. At present, it seems more like a “marriage” between the physical world/sciences with digital technologies. Digital technologies offer new ways of interconnection with “physical”, effective data collection and wise systems capable to interpret the gathered data for a more holistic, informed decision making (action back to the physical world). This procedure is challenging the current way that professionals and scientists think, work and use data, to provide added-value services/ products and new business models. From the other hand, the physical world is not only the use case of digital technologies but moreover an endless source of inspiration for creating virtual worlds or to augment the physical one (Roblek, Meško, & Krapež, 2016).

Even though Industry 4.0 has started from manufacturing, soon has been expanded to several areas, such as supply chain, resources’ industries and energy, transportation, healthcare, and more others. Even cultural sector, usually a less technology consuming industry, has already started to implement Industry 4.0 technologies, such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies, which have rapidly emerged the last years creating a dynamic environment with great opportunities in “3D reconstruction” of cultural monuments and historical cities, that do not longer exist or have been modified (merely or totally).

Taking into account that back in 2000, 3D visualization of cultural content was just a tool to digitally replace physical (e.g. damaged or missing) artifacts (Novitski, 1998), it is notable that digital technologies have nowadays developed enough sophisticated tools to create realistic objects and environments (Ch’ng, 2013) in order to offer a much richer user experience. The idea of visualizing three-dimensional (3D) context is gaining pace from both technological and cost-developing aspect, while a wide range of usages is now established. From research and educational orientation to entertainment and business purposes (Greengrass & Hughes, 2008), 3D models can visualize historic artifacts but moreover can “time-travel” users to historical places/cities/ buildings.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technologies can embody users in a specific historic period delivering a feeling of how daily life was, in various aspects from walking to the city, or visiting a temple, to more complex tasks such as politics and war. The interesting on such approaches and technologies is revealed from a series of research projects funded from the European Union the last 15 years. These projects mainly focused on three distinct areas of interest:

  • 1.

    archaeological excavations where the public access is limited and there is limited physical content to Be Actually viewed,

  • 2.

    historical places that do not longer exist or have been modified and

  • 3.

    Monuments, sculptures and artifacts with limited access or no longer existing.

Existing research coming from these projects reveals a growing interest in model developing for existing and a smaller for non - existing cultural heritage’s artifacts/monuments/ buildings. The main target is to create Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality objects for presentation (Münster & Koehler, 2016), while a more holistic approach is needed to converge with Industry’s 4.0 philosophy.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Internet of Things (IoT): It is the integration of Internet into various “manufacturing – business – everyday” processes / operations in order to allow “things” such as mobile devices, sensors, RFID and actuators to (a) interact and (b) cooperate in order to (c) reach common goals.

Industry 4.0: A “marriage” between the physical world / sciences with digital technologies. Digital technologies offer new ways of interconnection with “physical”, effective data collection and wise systems capable to interpret the gathered data for a more holistic, informed decision making (action back to physical world).

Cyber Physical System (CPS): A whole process enabling the communication between people, machines and resources. The whole idea is based on embedding networks and computers to physical process, in order: (a) to support unique identification, (b) to collect, store and analyze data and finally (c) to create networks from physical processes to computation (e.g. structured information) and vice versa (e.g. processes reengineering).

Cultural Sector: A large variety of industries, also called under the term “cultural and creative industries”. The term is used to describe a wide variety of organizations and private companies enabling in an even wider list of activities including (representatively): Museums, galleries and libraries, IT, software and computer services, Architecture, Advertising and marketing, Crafts, Design (product, graphic and fashion design), Film, TV, video, radio and photography, Publishing, Music, performing and visual arts.

Virtual Reality (VR): Virtual Reality (VR) is the technology that creates 3D scenes, places and worlds where users, through headset devices are connected and participating in. These environments are computer generated, capable to interact with users’ actions and allow them to discover fantastic worlds by using most of their senses as living in the real world. VR experiences depends on system’s capabilities, as the visual quality is directly related with the graphics rendering hardware and the simulation software.

3D Reconstructions of Historical Buildings / Monuments: A rather widespread technique in cultural sector of representing not any more existing building / monuments or to reveal how it would look like in the past. By using three dimensions these cultural artifacts can be used either with virtual reality technologies or with augmented reality technologies. In both cases, the final result targets to enrich user’s experience.

Augmented Reality (AR): Augmented Reality (AR) is the technology that integrates digital information with the real world in a way that enhances graphics, sounds and 3D objects over the natural objects. AR technology focuses on the enriched experiences of the users, presenting visual information complementary of the natural environment through users’ devices. The digital augmented content interacts with the user actions as most of the time the AR content is touchable and quite responsive on user’s input.

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