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CyArk, FarBridge, Oculus Partner to Re-Create Monmuments Through Virtual Reality

Photonics Spectra
May 2018
OAKLAND, Calif. — CyArk, a nonprofit digital recorder and archiver of cultural heritage, and virtual reality software developer FarBridge Inc. have partnered with virtual reality device developer Oculus VR LLC to bring photorealistic, explorable replicas of some of the world’s most amazing monuments to virtual reality.

Launching for both Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR, MasterWorks transports users to four historic sites on three continents that span more than 3000 years of human history. Users can discover the fate of the ancient capital of Thailand, unravel the mysteries of a pre-Incan temple in the Peruvian Andes, explore the astonishing Native American cliff dwellings of Colorado, and get up close to the monumental stone carvings of Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. The experience provides users with access to sites in locations across the globe and to parts of these sites that are not open to the general public.

Users can freely explore the open environments where they can collect artifacts and listen to audio clips from archaeologists, conservators and scientists. The commentary provides rich context and detailed information about these places from leading experts. CyArk used a combination of 3D recording technologies to accurately map these environments, including lidar, high-resolution photogrammetry, and drone imagery. Data from these sources was combined to produce a centimeter-accurate and photorealistic model. These models that provide the basis for the 3D environments used in the MasterWorks application are also used to help conserve and manage these monuments. This data is also archived as part of CyArk’s core mission to ensure that a digital record of these places exist because our cultural heritage might be lost through time or destruction.

Using software created by FarBridge and virtual reality devices by Oculus, CyArk was able to turn 3D data into interactive worlds. “We are very excited to bring our data to life in virtual reality for the first time,” said John Ristevski, chairman and CEO of CyArk. “The data we collect is so detailed that we can truly immerse you in these places and give you that same sense of awe and wonder you get when you travel there.”

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