AUGMENTED REALITY IN CULTURAL HERITAGE APPLICATIONS: THE SANT’ANNA SCHOOL 3D REAL ENVIRONMENT SIMULATION OF DA VINCI CODEX FOR FLIGHT ON SHOW IN ROME ON 21 JANUARY

The dream of human flight is as old as civilization. The Da Vinci’s codex is a bound manuscript on the flight of birds containing observations and sketches dealing with flying machines, the nature of air, and bird flight. This document will be displayed in Rome Musei Capitolini gallery from January 21 to April 17, 2017. The Codex exhibit will be a great opportunity to appreciate the Sant’Anna School TeCIP Institute (Communication, Information and Perception Technologies) special set up with multimedia applications, computer-generated simulations, and 3D visualization in immersive virtual environments.

The exhibition “Leonardo e il volo. Il manoscritto originale del Codice e un’esperienza multimediale e 3D” is organized by Roma Capitale, Assessorato alla Crescita culturale - Sovrintendenza Capitolina ai Beni Culturali, with the support of Associazione Culturale MetaMorfosi, and Zetema Progetto Cultura. Since 1893 the original Codex on the bird flight is held in the Biblioteca Reale in Turin. Leonardo da Vinci has long been credited with some of mankind’s earliest progress towards human aviation given his close observance of natural flight. Most of Leonardo’s aeronautical designs were ornithopters, machines that employed flapping wings to generate both lift and propulsion. 

The codex displayed in Rome is located in specialized microclimate enclosure programmed to maintain a steady temperature and humidity at all times. The microclimate control system would be capable of supplying a dust, pollution, and oxygen-free, humidity and temperature controlled environment.

The exhibition takes visitors on a visual journey not only for the sake of preserving the cultural heritage, but to also make the information content accessible to the public in a manner that is attractive.

Visitors to the Codex will be able to admire it in its entirety thanks to the touchscreen multimedia equipment. They can leaf through the document, zoom in and zoom out and also activate and press different points of interest. The level of immersion of a virtual exhibition is influenced by the technology used to display digital content; the simulations will give the visitors the opportunity to interact in a shared, three-dimensional, digital space using immersive virtual environment technology.

Leonardo’s notebooks contain ideas, designs for inventions, actual experiments, and field notes, in addition to drafts in the more traditional form of treatises. To portray the manuscripts as a scientist’s notebooks provide a crucial link between Leonardo’s times and our own. The positive approach to the manuscripts in the latter part of the 19th century represented in a series of facsimile editions, such as the French edition, displayed in Rome together with other volumes from the Biblioteca Reale.

Exhibition “Leonardo e il volo. Il manoscritto originale del Codice e un’esperienza multimediale e 3D” - Photo gallery: screenshots of 3D visualization in immersive virtual environments.

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