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team has benefited from access to expertise developed on other INI-GraphicsNet digital
heritage projects such as the Dome of Siena project, which was showcased at the EXPO
2000 in Hanover, Germany.
125
The project has two chief research objectives:
1.To recreate a high-quality, three-dimensional scenario of a complex digital heritage
environment, capable of real-time rendering using virtual reality technology;
2.To develop and use transparent and intuitive, context-specific, and user-friendly
interaction techniques.
In developing a project of this type, a first step must be to select the cultural and his-
torical content that will be digitally recreated and presented. Preliminary research has
been carried out on Singapore-specific cultural and historical content, and this research
continues via a collaboration between CAMTech and Peranakan experts.
Technical work on the project has so far centred on the development of a Virtual Tour
Guide (VTG) for directing visitors around the virtual environment. In keeping with the
Peranakan profile, the VTG is of Chinese ethnicity, and is dressed in traditional Peranakan
clothing.The VTG interacts with visitors by showing them around the Virtual Environ-
ment and providing information on Peranakan history and culture.The VTG talks to the
visitors, and also provides supplemental information in the form of text, images and video.
A visitor can explore the Virtual Environment and all the objects it contains by walking
through the virtual rooms alone, or the visitor may ask the VTG for a guided tour.
During the tour the visitor follows the VTG and receives additional information on exhibits.
The visitor can interact with the VTG at any time: if she wants additional information
on an interesting exhibit, she simply selects the exhibit and calls on the VTG to provide
further information.
As well as the avatar tour guide, a Chinese calligraphy brush has been implemented as an
interface, allowing users to execute commands and move around the virtual environment.
The VTG is used to introduce new visitors to the Virtual Environment, and to show them
how they can use the brush for interaction. He explains the Chinese characters that the
visitor can write as commands/instructions, together with their associated functionalities.
Cultural Agents
and Avatars
79
125 Behr, J., Fröhlich,T., Knöpfle, C., Kresse,W., Lutz, B., Reiners, D., Schöffel, F. (2001) "The Digital Cathedral
of Siena ­ Innovative Concepts for Interactive and Immersive Presentation of Cultural Heritage Sites", in
Proceedings of ICHIM 2001, pp. 57-71.
© CAMT
ech
The Virtual Tour Guide in his chamber
The Virtual Tour Guide in his chamber
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