A visit to Pompeii will be a more vivid experience than ever for tourists. The massive eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD destroyed the ancient Roman city, but paradoxically also preserved it for posterity. And now this historical site is enhanced by augmented reality to give an even better glimpse into its former glory. Pompeii in AR is the latest project of ARtGlass, a company that made augmented reality experiences a mainstream attraction for mass tourism.
Seeing Pompeii Through AR Glasses – an Emotional and Educative Experience
Situated near Naples, right near Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii attracts 3.6 million every year. They come to see how ancient Romans lived and even looked at their preserved bodies in plaster. They remained frozen for eternity at the moment when they were trying to flee from the deadly volcanic eruption. While ash and pumice put an end to their lives and their city, they also preserved most of the streets and buildings.
However, most of them are hollow shells, devoid of roofs, furniture and decorations. Using the proprietary AR technology developed by ARtGlass and archeological information, the immersive tour of Pompeii will fill in the gaps. The only thing that visitors have to do is put on the AR glasses. Then, they will see reconstructed 3D buildings and information about them, overlaid onto the real world images.
Local tour company executives and city officials enjoyed the first demonstration of the AR guide of Pompeii. Speaking of the experience, Salvatore Perrillo, the councilor in charge with productive activities at the historical site of Pompeii said:
“More of the glory of Pompeii before its destruction is now being revealed. It’s both educational and emotional.”
Redefining Tourism with AR Glasses
ARtGlass has already tested and proven their innovative technology at three tourist attractions. These are George Washington’s Mount Veron residence, Madame Tussauds museum and the Royal Villa in Monza, Italy. The company’s mission is to transform traditional guided tours and offer enhanced and more personal experiences.
“We have learned so much from the first million people to enjoy ARtGlass experiences,” said Luigi Percuoco, the CTO of the company, in a press release. “There are vast differences between technology in the laboratory and in the hands of the public.”
What makes the AR technology developed by ARtGlass special is that it gives tourists the freedom to explore any site at their own pace and in comfort. Prior AR experiences developed by museums and other tourist attractions were available for a short period only. Also, they involved holding and pointing the smartphone to a specific area.
By comparison, with ARtGlass technology, the visitor has their hands free and only has to turn their head and focus on a specific item. The holographic images appear promptly overlaid onto the real world. Once they move on to another area, the information is refreshed with new AR objects.
Most importantly, thanks to the ease in implementing the software, this kind of immersive experience is available all year round, not only on special occasions.
More Than a Visit
But this new way of experiencing a tourist attraction does more than add novelty to the visit. For the administrators of such objectives, it means that they have a useful tool to bring people back for a new experience. With each visit, they can discover more information as scientific research makes it available.
Also, for tour guides, it will be easier to deliver useful information to large groups. In the past, guides had to use loudspeakers. Even so, the people at the back of the group would struggle to hear them. Now, with a single swipe of a finger on a smartphone screen, they can deploy the information into the ARtGlass software.
And once the tourists look at the object of interest, the information appears projected by the AR glasses next to the respective building. Thus, everyone will get the correct information with minimum friction. As the CEO of ARtGlass, Greg Werkheiser, explained:
“The more immersive the storytelling, the more people engage, the more they return. The tech is the means to the end, which is creating joyful appreciation of humanity and its achievements and struggles.”
High Tech and Lightweight Gear
For the AR guided tour of Pompeii, ARtGlass partnered with Epson and opted for the Moverio AR glasses. Valerie Riffaud-Cangelosi of Epson Europe, explained the choice:
“Lightweight, easy to wear, and intuitive, the high-resolution display works well with ARtGlass software to recreate first century Pompeii in vivid color and depth, offering visitors compelling insights into Roman culture and history.”
This means that even tourists with limited experience in using AR technology can enjoy the experience easily.