WMG Visualisation Engineers use VR to help recreate experience of Medieval Coventry Weaver’s House during Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture
Coventry is not only famed for its Cathedral, two tone music and the automotive industry, it is also famous for its weaving, in fact the medieval Weaver’s House still stands as an attraction today in Coventry’s Spon Street. In 1540 John Croke and his family would have been making cloth on a wooden loom in the Weaver’s House, and whilst you can go to the house, the opportunity to experience the home exactly how it would have been for John and his family is now possible, thanks to visualisation engineering researchers from WMG at the University of Warwick.
Using Virtual Reality WMG's Professor Alan Chalmers (Professor of Visualisation at the International Digital Laboratory, WMG, University of Warwick) and his students have recreated a walkthrough of the medieval Weaver's House in Spon Street, the movement and skill of operating the loom was captured using Microsoft Kinect V2 cameras against a green screen, before being extracted and put onto a screen with a realistic background created. The addition of candles adds to the complexity of the process but makes the scene a more accurate portrayal of the living and working conditions.
It is part of a free exhibition called ‘Metropolis’ just opened at the newly refurbished and renamed Metropolis restaurant in Coventry (formerly Drapers' Bar), an exhibition that explores the story of Coventry through its building. The exhibition is running during Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture.
The exhibition’s curators, Sabine Coady Schäbitz and Mark Webb weave medieval and modern stories together in five themes: movement, enterprise, culture, resilience and the future. It celebrates Coventry’s distinct contribution to the history of the built environment in Britain, from industrial premises including workshops and factories, to major religious buildings containing some of the finest decorative art in the country.
Professor Alan Chalmers, from WMG, University of Warwick comments:
“My team and I are really pleased to be a part of this exhibition and especially to demonstrate our new technology that recreates on screen an authentic portrayal of the skills of medieval weaving, an industry that was so vital to the city’s makers reputation and prosperity in the 16th century.
“We were delighted to be working with charity Medieval Coventry and be funded by the Institute of Engagement's Community Partnership Fund with support and guidance in making the results of our research accessible to the public.”
There are plans to take the exhibit on a tour of local schools in 2022 and produce an extended multisensory display in the Herbert Museum's Medieval Gallery that will include other local skills such as dyeing and tanning.
This isn’t the only contribution the University is making for the exhibition, as after many months exploring the film archives to discover the story of the city's architecture, Film Television Studies PhD student Kat Pearson looks at Coventrians’ relationship with the built environment in her film.
Kat collaborated with The Media Archive for Central England (MACE) on creating a series of short archive films drawing on gems from the MACE collection. Along with Archivist Philip Leach they have brought together items which highlight the relationship between Coventry's communities and its buildings in the latter half of the 20th Century.
PhD researcher Kat Pearson from the Department of Film and Television Studies at the University of Warwick comments:
“This is a topic that I have a personal interest in and researching these films has been an amazing opportunity for me to look at the architecture of Coventry in a new light. The Metropolis exhibition allows us to showcase some wonderful archival films in a public space, and this builds on a project in 2020 to bring archival films to the Foleshill community.”
Further information on Kat's work in Foleshill can be found here: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/film/tvhistories/blog/foleshillscreenings
Metropolis: Coventry’s medieval and modernist ambitions
Free (10am-6pm daily)
1st Floor of Metropolis, Earl Street, Coventry CV1 5QP
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PJD 20th July 2021
People with a range of abilities can use VR headsets to experience what it’s like on board one of the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s ships to encourage them to explore their ability and participate in a life-changing voyage thanks to an app made by WMG student Tanin Aparimarn at the University of Warwick.
The Jubilee Sailing Trust want to encourage more mixed ability people to sail on their fully accessible tall ships, prompting WMG, University of Warwick student Tanin Aparimarn to make a 3D printed version of a ship, a VR experience and an app tour for mixed ability people to experience what it’s like on board.
The VR headset used is a simple cardboard one available to purchase for around £5 online, and enables the user to select an avatar either standing or at wheelchair level to look around the ship as you would in reality, demonstrating what it would be like on board the ship.
An app tour enables the avatar to move around the ship as they would wish, this way the user can experience what it would be like to move around the ship and experience the environment around them beforehand.
Tanin also made a 3D printed, scale version of the tall ship STS LORD NELSON that is 450mm long, complete with three masts and removable decks which allows a visually impaired user to get a tactile sense of where everything is on board.
“Using modern technologies such as VR and 3D printing will hopefully encourage more people to take up sailing with the Jubilee Sailing Trust, as now they’ve been able to experience what it would be like on board thanks to the VR experience and the app tour, and they can see what they ship would look like physically because of the 3D printed model.
“I hope that in the future all sorts of tourist destinations and attractions can use VR to encourage people to visit them, as VR offers a more interactive experience than looking at photos.”
Andy Spark, Head of Programmes from the Jubilee Sailing Trust comments:
“Tanin’s work is great. Many people with disabilities need to know that the accessibility on board our tall ships is suitable for their needs any and generally it’s not expected a large sailing ship would be!
“However, the JST is unique as it has two purpose designed and built tall ships to allow people of all abilities (including wheelchair users) to be able to sail on equal terms. The VR tours and the tactile model of the ship Tanin has created will greatly assist the JST to showcase its vessels to those that can gain so much from a voyage experience with us.”
21 MAY 2019
NOTES TO EDITORS
High-res images available, credited to the University of Warwick, at:
WMG is a world leading research and education group and an academic department of the University of Warwick, established by Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya in 1980 in order to reinvigorate UK manufacturing through the application of cutting edge research and effective knowledge transfer.
WMG has pioneered an international model for working with industry, commerce and public sectors and holds a unique position between academia and industry. The Group’s strength is to provide companies with the opportunity to gain a competitive edge by understanding a company’s strategy and working in partnership with them to create, through multidisciplinary research, ground-breaking products, processes and services.
Every year WMG provides education and training to schoolchildren through to senior executives. There is a growing part-time undergraduate programme for apprentices, as well as full-time undergraduates. The postgraduate programmes have over 2,000 students, in the UK and through centres in China, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Cyprus
For more information visit www.wmg.warwick.ac.uk
About Jubilee Sailing Trust
The Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST) is a registered charity whose mission is to promote the integration of people of all abilities through the challenge and adventure of tall ship sailing aboard two very special ships, Lord Nelson and Tenacious. We have a unique mission, to give people of mixed abilities and circumstances the freedom to explore their ability, potential and place in the world through inclusive adventures at sea.
For more information visit www.jst.org.uk
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WMG doctoral graduate, Pinar Satilmis has received a Faculty of Science Doctoral Thesis Award for her PhD project “High Fidelity Sky Models”.
Pinar’s thesis, “High Fidelity Sky Models” involved investigating innovative ways to simulate light, to accurately replicate real world lighting and cloud illumination in virtual environments. Pinar investigated a number of different methods including generating animated virtual environments to model changes in skylight in real time and using machine learning to predict light values.
The next generation of “Scene-Referred” High Dynamic Range (SR-HDR) video, developed by a European consortium led by WMG at the University of Warwick, will be demonstrated publicly for the first time at this year’s International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam.
Researchers who have seen this technology in the lab claim that SR-HDR represents the biggest step forward since the emergence of colour and is the ultimate destination for the first examples of HDR which are currently emerging on the consumer market.
“Scene-Referred” means the full range of lighting in a scene is captured and preserved via a future-proof SR-HDR codec. The system also includes a real-time production system and a unique 10,000nit HDR display.
This display is 10 times brighter than currently available HDR displays and it’s the first time a 10,000nit display has ever been shown publicly. Such a display ensures that the picture can be fully appreciated without the need for a darkened room.
WMG Professor Recognised for Pioneering Work and Life-Long Contribution to Digital Cultural Heritage
Professor Alan Chalmers has been awarded a prestigious Tartessos Award from the Spanish Society of Virtual Archaeology for his ‘pioneering work and life-long contribution to the field of Digital Cultural Heritage’.
The Spanish Society of Virtual Archaeology is a non-profit scientific association with the aim of combining all professionals from different disciplinary areas related to archaeology, cultural heritage and new technologies.
Professor Chalmers was presented with the award at the Digital Heritage 2015 international conference in Grenada last year.
The 2nd annual WMG Doctoral Research and Innovation Conference, entitled ‘Innovation through Collaboration’, is an excellent opportunity to showcase research from both academia and industry across themes in design, materials, manufacturing, systems and business transformation.
Organised by doctoral students, the conference will be held in the International Digital Laboratory on 30th June - 1st July, with an evening social event on the 30th.
Papers and poster presentations will take place across a wide variety of topics and awards will be presented in each theme.
Abstracts should be submitted online by 31st March.
Researchers at WMG, University of Warwick, used 3D scanning and visualisation technology to help Dr Irving Finkel, the world’s foremost expert on ancient Babylonian languages, decipher a 4000-year-old tablet that sheds new light on the iconic biblical tale of Noah's Ark.
‘The Real Noah’s Ark’, shown on Channel 4, Sunday 14th September, documented the astonishing story of this significant find and Dr Finkel’s incredible journey of discovery. The ancient clay tablet, discovered on a mantelpiece in a UK suburban home and handed to the British Museum, is inscribed with the world's oldest language, cuneiform. It tells the story of a Noah-like figure and a great flood, giving detailed instructions on how to build an ark. However, due to its incredible age and some understandable wear and tear, parts of the tablet are difficult to read.
Having spent 20 years translating the tablet Dr Finkel, Assistant Keeper of Ancient Mesopotamian Scripts, Languages and Cultures at the British Museum, set out to show that the biblical narrative originated from stories that had been embedded in Sumerian and Babylonian society and literature for thousands of years. He also cast new light on the shape of the ark, believing that it was round; closer in style to ancient coracles than the traditional long seafaring boat of popular imagination. After all, it didn’t necessarily need to sail anywhere, it just needed to float until the floodwater retreated.
WMG’s Professor Mark Williams assisted Dr Finkel with his detailed interpretation of the tablet by scanning it using cutting edge X-ray Micro-CT and 3D Laser Scanning technology, and projecting the image onto the UK’s highest resolution 3D power wall. The immersive technology allowed Dr Finkel to view the tablet from all angles and in high definition, revealing previously undecipherable characters and confirming his suspicions that the vessel being described was indeed round.
They were invited to WMG to see how the fort would have looked during the height of use by Roman soldiers between 60 and 80AD.
A Coventry company, which has designed a high tech business class aeroplane seat, is winning the attention of major plane companies thanks to technology at WMG, part of the University of Warwick, which allows them to show customers virtual reality simulations of exactly how those seats will look within their planes.
Siôn Simon MP visited WMG's International Digital Laboratory in September. The Minister for Creative Industries at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport was welcomed by Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, Director of WMG, and toured the Digital Lab meeting Professor Sadie Creese, Director of e-Security, and Professor Lucy Hooberman, Director Digital Media and Innovation.