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Special Issue "Mixed Reality in Culture and Heritage"

A special issue of Heritage (ISSN 2571-9408). This special issue belongs to the section "Digital Heritage".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2022) | Viewed by 19606

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Stella Sylaiou
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Visual and Applied Arts, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54636 Thessaloniki, Greece
Interests: digital humanities
Dr. George Pavlidis
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Athena Research Center, University Campus at Kimmeria, GR-67100 Xanthi, Greece
Interests: digital image and multimedia technologies; content analysis and retrieval applications; machine learning and artificial intelligence; human–machine interaction; intelligent interactive environments; multi-sensory environments; ubiquitous and ambient intelligence; 3D digitization; extended reality
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Christos Fidas
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Cultural Heritage Management and New Technologies, University of Patras, 30100 Agrinio, Greece
Interests: human computer interaction; cultural heritage; cognitive user modeling; adaptation; personlization
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Mixed reality (MR) bridges the real and the virtual worlds by encompassing both augmented reality and augmented virtuality. It provides hybrid environments, where the real world and virtual objects in the case of augmented reality (or, vice-versa, real objects in a virtual setting in augmented virtuality) coexist, interact, and can be manipulated by users, as if they were all real objects in actual environments. MR unlocks unprecedented capabilities for organisations to provide their target audiences with exhilarating, meaningful, and inclusive cultural experiences fostered by emerging technologies.  

The employment of MR by cultural organisations offers a wide range of opportunities for learning, communication, and entertainment. These new tools and techniques can enable new means of exploration, interaction, and interpretation of culture and heritage. They can play a key role in the presentation of the past and of polysemic cultural practices, which can create new sensations and meanings by integrating storytelling and gamification and other engaging experiences to visitors. The affordances of immersive technologies urge cultural organizations to rethink, reimagine, and perhaps reshape the very concept of museums and heritage sites. This is consistent with a paradigm shift in which interaction, active engagement, and customizable experiences take centre stage. Organisations turn their attention from conveying information to catering for the visitors’ needs by designing applications that take into consideration users’ individuality and diverse backgrounds.

This Special Issue intends to provide a multidisciplinary forum for emerging scientific and technological topics related to the applications of mixed reality to culture and heritage. As such, this Special Issue welcomes high-quality research in digital heritage, digital culture, digital museology, and other related fields. Contributions promoting innovative studies and practices are welcome, as well as those exploring cutting-edge approaches applied to Mixed Reality in Culture and Heritage.

Contributions are invited on topics including but not restricted to the following:

  • Mixed reality and museums;
  • Mixed reality in archaeology and cultural heritage;
  • Mixed reality in contemporary art;
  • Mixed reality and space;
  • Mixed reality and multimodality;
  • Mixed reality and artificial intelligence;
  • Mixed reality and storytelling;
  • Mixed reality and gamification;
  • Mixed reality and serious games;
  • Mixed reality and cultural tourism.

Dr. Stella Sylaiou
Dr. George Pavlidis
Dr. Christos Fidas
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Heritage is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Mixed reality and museums
  • Mixed reality in archaeology and cultural heritage
  • Mixed reality in contemporary art
  • Mixed reality and space
  • Mixed reality and multimodality
  • Mixed reality and artificial intelligence
  • Mixed reality and storytelling
  • Mixed reality and gamification
  • Mixed reality and serious games
  • Mixed reality and cultural tourism.

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Article
Impact of Location, Gender and Previous Experience on User Evaluation of Augmented Reality in Cultural Heritage: The Mjällby Crucifix Case Study
Heritage 2022, 5(3), 1988-2006; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage5030104 - 01 Aug 2022
Viewed by 916
Abstract
In recent decades, a growing number of museums have adopted digital media, both as an enhancement of exhibitions of real artifacts and as an alternative to traditional display methods. The digital acquisition of artifacts generates accurate 3D replicas that can be displayed via [...] Read more.
In recent decades, a growing number of museums have adopted digital media, both as an enhancement of exhibitions of real artifacts and as an alternative to traditional display methods. The digital acquisition of artifacts generates accurate 3D replicas that can be displayed via different digital media. With an increase in immersive technologies in the cultural heritage (CH) domain, it is common to see digital artifacts presented in Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). This paper presents two user studies conducted in different locations evaluating the use of an AR application in the portrayal of the Mjällby Crucifix artifact. This paper presents the overall results from both user studies evaluating and discussing the AR application on a number of different aspects on a 7-point Likert scale: (1) understanding the artifact, (2) ease of use, (3) object feeling part of reality, (4) perceived visual quality of the object, (5) overall satisfaction experience, and (6) willingness to download the AR application. The results have been compared between genders, age groups, and previous experience with AR. Potential benefits and disadvantages of AR experiences in the context of a museum exhibition were also gathered in free text from the visitors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mixed Reality in Culture and Heritage)
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Article
A Comprehensive HBIM to XR Framework for Museum Management and User Experience in Ducal Palace at Urbino
Heritage 2022, 5(3), 1551-1571; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage5030081 - 05 Jul 2022
Viewed by 1223
Abstract
Digitization of Cultural and Museum Heritage represents one of the most engaging challenges that would ensure a sustainable and ethical approach for next generations; digital technology’s pervasiveness imposes a comprehensive management of architectural heritage by producing facsimiles of buildings and artworks and by [...] Read more.
Digitization of Cultural and Museum Heritage represents one of the most engaging challenges that would ensure a sustainable and ethical approach for next generations; digital technology’s pervasiveness imposes a comprehensive management of architectural heritage by producing facsimiles of buildings and artworks and by testing robust methodologies, with the final result of providing effective multipurpose models. In this context, the main goal of the present paper is to develop a semantically aware HBIM model that includes an intelligent objects parametrization, leveraging Extended Reality (XR) technologies and digital curation of contents to pursue the preservation of Cultural Heritage (CH) as a whole. This research is implemented in the case study of the Ducal Palace of Urbino that houses the National Gallery of Marche. It was chosen as a remarkable example of a museum located in an architectural complex with a relevant historical background and fine detail of shapes and mouldings. In Italy, as in other European scenarios, museums and their collections need suitable dissemination and management systems that take advantage of the recent digital paradigms. The challenging approach is to exploit existing platforms and software and to adopt a cognitive modelling process, able to develop tools supporting managers and museum curators while enabling user experiences using immersive and interactive features. In order to stress the workflow, this work proposes the use of families with high Level of Detail (LOD) and high Level of Information (LOI). The present article provides, as well, an accurate data enrichment process specifically designed for a gallery’s artworks such as paintings and sculptures, in line with the national and international policies. The study presents a robust and reproducible methodology for digital musealization and management, focusing, as future overall objectives, towards a greater merging between the HBIM approach and XR technologies, also facilitated by training new professional figures with more in-depth digital skills. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mixed Reality in Culture and Heritage)
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Article
Integration of Laser Scanner, Ground-Penetrating Radar, 3D Models and Mixed Reality for Artistic, Archaeological and Cultural Heritage Dissemination
Heritage 2022, 5(3), 1529-1550; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage5030080 - 04 Jul 2022
Viewed by 1041
Abstract
Three-dimensional digital acquisition techniques can be useful in archaeology because they make a further technological contribution to the visualization of finds and structures. The possibility of integrating three-dimensional models from different acquisition systems (laser scanner, UAV, reflex and Georadar) is even more exciting. [...] Read more.
Three-dimensional digital acquisition techniques can be useful in archaeology because they make a further technological contribution to the visualization of finds and structures. The possibility of integrating three-dimensional models from different acquisition systems (laser scanner, UAV, reflex and Georadar) is even more exciting. One of the peculiarities of these integration techniques is the possibility of promoting the dissemination of knowledge through virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality, given the widespread use of mobile devices. This does not mean, of course, that with the mere creation of a 3D model (and allowing it to be viewed in 3D), the public automatically obtains more information about heritage. In fact, visiting a cultural heritage site in person allows one to receive much more information on finds and structures. However, if this is not possible, technologies that use 3D Virtual Reality help to provide a small knowledge base to those who cannot use the museum. We underline the importance of an integrated visualization from an archaeological and architectural perspective to obtain understanding of the structure with the integration of the two models with different data. The work that we present is part of a multidisciplinary project to recover and disseminate information about the Reggio Calabria’s (southern Italy) artistic, archaeological and cultural heritage. This work’s goal is the realization of a unique 3D model of the church “Madonna dei Poveri” (3D model of a buried part with 3D model of visible parts) by combining different geomatics techniques to show and investigate the interior and exterior parts (3D model obtained by laser scanner and photogrammetry), and the underground crypts (3D model obtained by Georadar), which are lying below the present surface and are no longer accessible due to coverage by post-depositional processes (Georadar). Finally, an app (using augmented reality and virtual reality) and a first experimentation of Mixed Reality is developed for the dissemination of the archaeological and cultural heritage information on the area of interest. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mixed Reality in Culture and Heritage)
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Article
Augmented Reality to Engage Visitors of Science Museums through Interactive Experiences
Heritage 2022, 5(3), 1370-1394; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage5030071 - 23 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1153
Abstract
In the last years, interactive exhibitions based on digital technologies have become widely common, thanks to their flexibility and effectiveness in engaging visitors and creating memorable experiences. One of the topics in which digital technologies can be particularly effective is the communication of [...] Read more.
In the last years, interactive exhibitions based on digital technologies have become widely common, thanks to their flexibility and effectiveness in engaging visitors and creating memorable experiences. One of the topics in which digital technologies can be particularly effective is the communication of abstract concepts that are difficult for the human mind to imagine. An emblematic example is the astronomy discipline, which requires us to imagine and understand phenomena far away from our everyday life. In this paper, the authors present a research project, MARSS, in which digital technologies are used effectively to enhance the Users’ Experience of the Museo Astronomico di Brera located in Milan. Specifically, the MARSS project aims at designing and developing a new digital journey inside the museum to allow different categories of visitors to enjoy the exhibition in an engaging and interactive way. The paper presents the design and development phases of the experience and its evaluation with users. The results of the evaluation indicate that the digital interactive experience is appreciated by users and is successful in translating the content of high scientific value into more engaging and easily understandable elements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mixed Reality in Culture and Heritage)
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Article
A Combined Study of Cultural Heritage in Archaeological Museums: 3D Survey and Mixed Reality
Heritage 2022, 5(3), 1330-1349; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage5030069 - 21 Jun 2022
Viewed by 1014
Abstract
Nowadays, a great interest in historical installations like museographic devices in international museological studies (capable of giving space form during user communication) is largely attributable to new techniques of immediate communication. Tools and libraries for virtual, augmented, and mixed reality content have recently [...] Read more.
Nowadays, a great interest in historical installations like museographic devices in international museological studies (capable of giving space form during user communication) is largely attributable to new techniques of immediate communication. Tools and libraries for virtual, augmented, and mixed reality content have recently become increasingly available. Despite its increased cost and investment, these are new ways for increasing visitor presence in museums. The purpose of this paper is to describe the potential of a tourist/archaeological application suitably developed and implemented by us. The application was developed in Unity3D and allows the user to view cultural heritage in a virtual environment, making information, multimedia content, and metrically precise 3D models available and accessible (obtained after a phase of reducing the mesh border), useful for obtaining good 3D printing reproduction. The strengths of our application (compared to the many already in the literature, which are also used as research ideas) stem from the possibility of using and easily integrating different techniques (3D models, building information models, virtual and augmented reality) allowing the choice of different 3D models (depending on the user’s needs) on some of which (again depending on the application needs) were tested and performed simplification and size reduction processes, to make the application loading phase faster and the user experience easier and better. Another application cue was to finalize an application to relate the elements of the museum with some archaeological elements of the territory according to historical period and element type. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mixed Reality in Culture and Heritage)
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Article
Conveying Intangible Cultural Heritage in Museums with Interactive Storytelling and Projection Mapping: The Case of the Mastic Villages
Heritage 2022, 5(2), 1024-1049; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage5020056 - 18 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1778
Abstract
Spatial Augmented Reality (SAR), as implemented with projection mapping, is part of mixed-reality technology with numerous applications in the cultural domain. In museums, interactive projection mapping has been exploited to superimpose virtual content on exhibited artefacts, offering users various hybrid ways to interact [...] Read more.
Spatial Augmented Reality (SAR), as implemented with projection mapping, is part of mixed-reality technology with numerous applications in the cultural domain. In museums, interactive projection mapping has been exploited to superimpose virtual content on exhibited artefacts, offering users various hybrid ways to interact with the artefacts’ physical and digital content. For this reason, it has been widely used in the context of architectural heritage to promote culture and raise awareness about historical buildings or landscapes by visualizing significant elements they convey. This paper presents the design, development, and iterative user evaluation of an interactive projection mapping installation for the Mastic Museum on Chios island in Greece that promotes UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage. The installation affords tangible interaction to activate the video projections presented in a storytelling manner on a 3D-printed scale model of a representative historic settlement exhibited inside the museum. The concept of this installation aims to connect the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of mastic and the related villages with narration and vivid illustrations. Three evaluation phases took place during the development at the lab and the museum, informing UX, learning, and design considerations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mixed Reality in Culture and Heritage)
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Article
Digital Routes in Greek History’s Paths
Heritage 2022, 5(2), 742-755; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage5020041 - 31 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1383
Abstract
In this paper, we present the development of a virtual reality application, namely “Roots in Greek History” or RoGH, which provides the user with a unique experiential travel or transfer back in time to specific historical periods and historical places which are part [...] Read more.
In this paper, we present the development of a virtual reality application, namely “Roots in Greek History” or RoGH, which provides the user with a unique experiential travel or transfer back in time to specific historical periods and historical places which are part of the Greek history and its cultural heritage. The tool is a multi-purpose one which is mainly addressed to tourists, teachers, or researchers. The users are facilitated in deriving historical data, challenged to connect with the past, and are invited to explore the history and the time period, archaeological ruins, and monuments of the past through virtual reality. In order to achieve this goal, the system exploits a dynamically designed and organised chronology, which can provide historical content for various places and cities in different times of their history. Users are given the freedom to choose “place” and “time” and consequently to have access to a variety of content (including 2D or 3D models, text, photos, multimedia, etc.), in an entertaining and educational procedure that creates a personalised information path and leads to empowering knowledge. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mixed Reality in Culture and Heritage)
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Article
Museums and Digital Culture: From Reality to Digitality in the Age of COVID-19
Heritage 2022, 5(1), 192-214; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage5010011 - 12 Jan 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 4017
Abstract
Museums increasingly recognize the need to address advances in digital culture which impact the expectations and needs of their audiences. Museum collections of real objects need to be presented both on their own premises and digitally online, especially as digital and social media [...] Read more.
Museums increasingly recognize the need to address advances in digital culture which impact the expectations and needs of their audiences. Museum collections of real objects need to be presented both on their own premises and digitally online, especially as digital and social media becomes more and more influential in people’s everyday lives. From interdisciplinary perspectives across digital culture, art, and technology, we investigate these challenges magnified by advances in digital and computational media and culture, looking particularly at recent and relevant reports on changes in the ways museums interact with the public. We focus on human digital behavior, experience, and interaction in museums in the context of art, artists, and human engagement with art, using the observational perspectives of the authors as a basis for discussion. Our research shows that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated many of the changes driving museum transformation, about which this paper presents a landscape view of its characteristics and challenges. Our evidence shows that museums will need to be more prepared than ever to adapt to unabated technological advances set in the midst of cultural and social revolution, now intrinsic to the digital landscape in which museums are inevitably connected and participating across the global digital ecosystem where they inevitably find themselves entrenched, underscoring the central importance of an inclusive integrative museum model between physical and digital reality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mixed Reality in Culture and Heritage)
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Article
Clouds-Based Collaborative and Multi-Modal Mixed Reality for Virtual Heritage
Heritage 2021, 4(3), 1447-1459; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage4030080 - 28 Jul 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2451
Abstract
Recent technological advancements in immersive reality technologies have become a focus area in the virtual heritage (VH) domain. In this regard, this paper attempts to design and implement clouds-based collaborative and multi-modal MR application aiming at enhancing cultural learning in VH. The design [...] Read more.
Recent technological advancements in immersive reality technologies have become a focus area in the virtual heritage (VH) domain. In this regard, this paper attempts to design and implement clouds-based collaborative and multi-modal MR application aiming at enhancing cultural learning in VH. The design and implementation can be adopted by the VH domain for various application themes. The application utilises cloud computing and immersive reality technologies. The use of cloud computing, collaborative, and multi-modal interaction methods is influenced by the following three issues. First, studies show that users’ interaction with immersive reality technologies and virtual environments determines their learning outcome and the overall experience. Second, studies also demonstrate that collaborative and multi-modal interaction methods enable engagement in immersive reality environments. Third, the integration of immersive reality technologies with traditional museums and cultural heritage sites is getting significant attention in the domain. However, a robust approach, development platforms (frameworks) and easily adopted design and implementation approaches, or guidelines are not commonly available to the VH community. This paper, therefore, will attempt to achieve two major goals. First, it attempts to design and implement a novel application that integrates cloud computing, immersive reality technology and VH. Second, it attempts to apply the proposed application to enhance cultural learning. From the perspective of cultural learning and users’ experience, the assumption is that the proposed approach (clouds-based collaborative and multi-modal MR) can enhance cultural learning by (1) establishing a contextual relationship and engagement between users, virtual environments and cultural context in museums and heritage sites, and (2) by enabling collaboration between users. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mixed Reality in Culture and Heritage)
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Article
Co-Design of a Playful Mixed Reality Installation: An Interactive Crane in the Museum of Marble Crafts
Heritage 2020, 3(4), 1496-1519; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage3040083 - 06 Dec 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2408
Abstract
Interactive installations in museums usually adopt hybrid technologies that combine physical elements with digital content, and studies so far show that this approach enhances the interest and engagement of visitors compared to non-interactive media or purely digital environments. However, the design of such [...] Read more.
Interactive installations in museums usually adopt hybrid technologies that combine physical elements with digital content, and studies so far show that this approach enhances the interest and engagement of visitors compared to non-interactive media or purely digital environments. However, the design of such systems is complicated, as it involves a large number of stakeholders and specialists. Additionally, the functional components need to be carefully orchestrated to deliver a rich user experience. Thus, there is a need for further research on tools and methods that facilitate the process. In this paper we present the design and development of a mixed reality installation for the Museum of Marble Crafts in Tinos island in Greece, which places visitors in the role of the crane operator and they have to complete challenges in a gamified version of the old quarry. The system lets users operate a tangible controller and their actions are executed by digital workers in a rich 3D environment. Our design approach involved iterative prototyping, research and co-design activities. The creative process has been supported by a series of organized workshops. The evaluation results indicate that mixed reality can be a promising medium for rich interactive experiences in museums that combine tangible and intangible heritage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mixed Reality in Culture and Heritage)
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