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Google Is Using VR To Virtually Preserve Endangered Heritage Sites

Google Is Using VR To Virtually Preserve Endangered Heritage Sites

We’ve heard about a lot of companies that are using VR to preserve history that’s at risk of being destroyed if it hasn’t already. Just last month, for example, we wrote about Perpetuity | Palmyra, a VR project attempting to virtually restore a Syrian city ravaged by ISIS. Now, though, Google is upping the scale of these restoration efforts with its Arts and Culture app.

This week the search engine giant announced a partnership with CyArk, a 3D laser scanning nonprofit that’s using its technology to digitally capture and recreate historical sites around the world. Together the pair has launched the Open Heritage Project, which allows people to explore these locations through PCs and smartphones.

The project already consists of a library of 3D models, 360 degree photos and traditional media for you to explore. However, the headling piece of the collection right now is a virtual tour of the temples of Bagan, Myanmar, which were damaged in an earthquake two years ago.The tour goes far beyond other Arts and Culture content, allowing you to walk around a virtually recreated temple and inspect the site in close detail.

CyArk’s 3D scanning produces highly realistic results, and virtual sites are littered with audio clips that teach you more about the sites you’re exploring.

Where does VR fit into all of this? You can experience this media inside a Google Daydream View headset, bringing you closer to the history. It uses a combination of native app support and WebVR content. The platform also leverages Google’s Poly service, which stores 3D assets that you can quickly view in VR.

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