Virtual Heritage

History shapes the world around you, and our Virtual Heritage Ph.D. program will allow you to bring the past to life.

From restoring the grandeur of Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli, Italy, to capturing the priceless works of art in museums worldwide to preserving everyday artifacts, the Virtual Heritage program will teach you how to apply cutting-edge technology in the pursuit of the traditional goals of cultural heritage professionals, such as the discovery, recording, restoration, analysis, interpretation, and transmission of three-dimensional human creations. Virtual Heritage will provide the practical training in 3D computing tools, such as PhotoScan, AutoCad, 3D Studio Max, Unity, Zbrush, and more while also developing your ability to conceptualize and demonstrate how technology can be used to develop new and compelling solutions to problems faced by professionals in cultural heritage fields including Anthropology, Archaeology, Conservation, Exhibition Design, Egyptology, and Art and Architectural History.

The program is led by Bernard Frischer, a leading expert in the field of Virtual Heritage. Students in VH learn:

  • How to digitize three-dimensional objects and edit the resulting scan data
  • Create “state” models showing the current condition, or state, of the object
  • Apply time-tested principles of art and architectural restoration to digitally restore the object to its original condition
  • Develop and utilize digital tools for analysis of cultural heritage objects
  • Understand and apply the best practices of the profession
  • Publish 3D state and restoration models in print, video, mobile and augmented reality devices, and on the Internet
  • How to use interactive 3D restoration models as tools of discovery

Students will also learn how to publish the resulting 3D models on web pages, print them on a 3D printer, and visualize it interactively in a virtual reality environment to make the items more available to researchers.

The VH track is interdisciplinary with coursework and projects that may span several areas within informatics and computing, including, e.g., human-computer interaction design, social informatics, and computer science.

The Virtual World Heritage Laboratory is part of the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, and graduate students in VH will have an opportunity to collaborate on VWHL projects.