Multimega Book In The Cave® Building Virtual Rome, World Expo of Ancient Rome

Participants: Franz Fischnaller


Market of Trajan, Rome, Italy

Milan, September 2005
MULTIMEGA BOOK IN THE CAVE®. “The shift from the printed+book… to the electronic text+digital skin” by Franz Fischnaller will be on exhibit at the Building Virtual Rome: World Expo of Ancient Rome in Market of Trajan, Rome, Italy, 15th September -15th November, 2005.

Building Virtual Rome… World Expo of Ancient Rome
The Building Virtual Rome: World Expo of Ancient Rome is the first exhibition dedicated to offering the general public, academic institutions, and professional entities a global view on developments in three-dimensional stereoscopic content based on the Roman Empire and the ancient city of Rome. The Roman Empire and Ancient Rome will be on show using cutting-edge virtual technology solutions, from virtual reality theatre systems and portable onsite computer devices for archaeological sites.

MULTIMEGA BOOK IN THE CAVE… The Multi Mega Book in the CAVE® [MMB], is an interactive virtual-reality journey through some of the most revolutionary moments of the human experience in media, technology, science, architecture, and art from the Renaissance through the Electronic Age. The user creatively interacts with and experiences the shift between two revolutionary moments in the history of communication, and consequently, the history of humankind: 15th-century printed communication and 21st-century electronic communication. Focusing on the shift from the printed book to the electronic text / digital skin, each page of the MMB brings forth a unique aspect of the diverse history of human communication through interactive means. CAVE® [MMB] hosts two major virtual-reality environments: one intended to correspond to the Renaissance and the other intended to correspond to the Electronic Age. MMB provides the interactive visitor with free exploration of the various dimensions of both centuries. CAVE® [MMB] is the winner of the Foreign Title Award in the Theater and Exhibition Section - Multimedia Grand Prix’97, Japan. It is on permanent exhibit in the CAVE Ars Electronica Center, Museum of the Future, Linz / Austria.

NAVIGATON AND INTERACTION… Navigation and the interaction with the MMB in the CAVE® is often surprising, designed to draw the user from the Renaissance to the Information Age. It allows for the exploration of different modes of communication and demonstrates the differences between each era’s combinations of mathematics, innovation, art, and cutting edge technology in communications. In the virtual-reality environment of the Renaissance, one of the interactive and navigable scenes is the “Ideal City,” articulated by works of architecture such us the Santa Maria della Grazie, the Santa Maria del Fiore, the Cupola di Brunelesschi, the Uffizi, the Piazza Innocenti, the Palazzo Pitti, the Laurenziana and works of art by artists such as Michelangelo, Alberti, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, and Brunneleschi. In our real, physical world, these buildings and pieces are found in Rome, Florence, and Milan. In the virtual world created by the MMB, all of these works are found in one unique city environment rich in symmetry, color, and depth.THE LAST SUPPER INTERACTIVE. The user may investigate, in close detail, Leonardo’s masterpiece, The Last Supper. Usually limited to viewing the painting from a distance of six meters, the MMB visitor may use the application to observe it from a very close viewpoint. This interactive journey into the masterpiece is a powerful tool to understand the relationship between the real architecture of the refettorio and the painted architecture by Leonardo. In addition, the computer programs construct the homogeneous coordinate representation of the painted space, perform linear transformation in the perspective space, and produce the final projection on the visualization plane, in Cartesian coordinates, of the three dimensional scene imagined by Leonardo. Similarly, the user can also visit and interact in a functional way with Gutenberg’s printing press. Additionally, the [MMB] visitor is able to travel through a cyber tunnel leading the way into the CD City, a cyber city that visualizes the movement of 21st-century digital and networked information.

NEM: THE INTERACIVE GUIDE TO THE MMB… NEM is an interactive guide to the MMB. NEM is a guide structured according to the primary geometric forms of the triangle, cube, and sphere. These forms shift to create a column or a character. In the Renaissance city, NEM appears first as an “info-point” column. When a visitor approaches, a “humanoid” figure opens up, establishing an interactive relationship with the forms, which will act as guides through the environment. In the CD City, NEM is a “network agent.” No longer guiding the visitor from place to place but acting as a node for sending and receiving information, NEM’s shape and behavior changes in relation to the epoch. In the Renaissance environment, both guide and visitor must move their bodies in order to reach the original source of information. In the CD City, where the information is mainly digitalized, NEM exists as a “high speed carrier”, bringing information to the user who is not required to travel to its physical source. However, as the digital interchange flows around the CD City, the visitor is encouraged to travel, and to interact with, any of several NEM network agents.

INTERACTIVE PLATFORM… Designed primarily to run in the CAVE®, a multi-person, room-sized, virtual-reality system at the Electronic Visualization Laboratory of the University of Illinois at Chicago, the MMB is capable of running on a number of different VR platforms, including the Immersa-Desk and simpler graphics workstations. The CAVE® is a room, measuring ten cubic feet, with screens for walls. High-resolution stereoscopic images are rear-projected onto the walls and the floor and viewed with lightweight LCD stereo glasses to mediate the stereoscopic imagery. Attached to the glasses is a location sensor. As the viewer moves within the confines of the CAVE®, the correct perspective and stereo projection of the environment are updated allowing the user to walk around or through virtual objects. The CAVE’s room-sized structure allows for multiple users to move around freely, both physically and virtually. The users interact with the environment using “the wand,” a simple tracked-input device containing a joystick and 3 buttons. It is used to navigate the virtual world and to manipulate virtual objects within that world.

The following organizations provided systems, assistance and support:

VRCO… Visualize Your World VRCO develops, sells, and supports a spectrum of software products and interactive 3D visualization solutions that enhance the visual perception of complex data, including device driver middleware, development toolkits, and end-user applications.

BARCO… A world leader in professional markets, BARCO which offers display and visualization solutions Barco provided for a Barco Gemini SXGA+ for the presentation of the MMB.

ITALTECH SOLUTIONS Spa… ITALTECH is one of the leading system integrators in Italy thanks to over than 10 years of experience in selling, installing, training and supporting a wide range of solutions for 3D which includes : content creation, motion capture, virtual sets, industrial design, visualization rooms and immersive virtual reality. Italtech serves more than 1000 customers in Automotive, Design, Entertainment, Film & Video, Research, and Education fields.

Bruno Arina. Technical Director ITALTECH SOLUTIONS
Sangyoon Lee. MFA candidate, Electronic Visualization Lab, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA

MULTI MEGA BOOK IN THE CAVE, The shift from the printed book to the electronic text / digital skin Author: Franz Fischnaller

Project Manager: Franz Fischnaller
Producer: F.A.B.R.I.CATORS, Milano, Italy
© Copyright 1998 F.A.B.R.I.CATORS - Franz Fischnaller

External collaboration
Software development: Dave Pape
Technical assistance: Dave Pape, Josephine Anstey, Tomoko Imai: Electronic Visualisation Lab (EVL), The University of Illinois at Chicago, USA.
Paola Trapani, Università degli studi di Milano, Italy
Sound: Giosè Casalotto, Italy
Last Supper conceptual advisor: Daniele Marini, Università degli studi di Milano, Italy;
A Segment of the application at the Ars Electronica Future Lab within the Research & Residence Program


Date: September 15, 2005 - November 15, 2005
The Multi Mega Book in the CAVE® - F.A.B.R.I.CATORS

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