Shawbak poster at ACM Multimedia 2010 International Conference


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A technology transfer project realized for the international exhibition From Petra to Shawbak: archeology of a frontier. A multi-touch tableTop was realized for this exhibition that presents the results of the latest international archeology investigations and of the research conducted by the archaeological mission of the University of Florence in these past twenty years in Jordan at the sites of Petra and Shawbak, one of the most important historical areas in the world.

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Shawbak poster at ACM Multimedia 2010 International Conference

  1. 1. Natural Interaction for Cultural Heritage: the Archaeological Site of Shawbak Stimulate the cultural spread and reduce the cognitive effort in the fruition of multimedia contents, especially in archaeological contexts. THE PROBLEM OUR SOLUTION A framework that allows users to interact and actually concentrate on contents rather than thinking about how the interface has to be used. Thomas M. Alisi, Gianpaolo D’Amico, Andrea Ferracani, Lea Landucci and Nicola Torpei Media Integration and Communication Center, University of Florence, Italy NHCI APPROACH Our goal was to provide an innovative, intuitive, attractive way to show and explain to common people the main steps of the archaeological process, the methodologies and the results. The interface has thus been designed for im- mediate and easy access to all the combinations of historic periods and spa- tial resolution. POPULAR ARCHAEOLOGY Visual information is addressed as one of the main issues in Human-Hu- man interaction. Computer interfaces based on artificial vision can offer a similar experience, allowing a natural and appealing way of exploiting such kind of interaction in a Human-Computer way of communication. SYSTEM OVERVIEW We developed a multi-touch interactive table in order to design a natural interaction system for the fruition of multimedia contents related to the Shawbak site. The technique chosen for the development of the vision en- gine was based on the Frustrated Total Internal Reflec- tion (FTIR) proposed by Jeff Han in 2005. The computer vision engine sends all the interaction events performed by users to the framework. Through the TUIO proto- col,theseeventsarethendispatchedtoeach graphical objects on the interface. It exploits the optical phenomenon of Total Internal Reflection between ma- terials with different refractive indexes. Those objects are then able to understand if the touch is related to themselves. The Castle of Shawbak is one of the most spectacular medieval settlements of the eastern Mediterranean. It is sited 25 km north of Petra, which it re- placed as capital of Transjordan in the XII century. SHAWBAK CASTLE The natural interaction system presents the results of the latest international archaeology in- vestigations and of the research conducted by the archaeologi- cal mission of the University of Florence in these past twenty years in Jordan at the sites of Petra and Shawbak. This work offered the chance to experiment advanced practises in cultural heritage communication conceiving innovative strategies for visitor learning. INTERACTION DESIGN Multimedia contents are made of videos, pic- tures and texts that show and explain the ar- chaeological site for each of the described time span and zoom level. A set of circles in which the external area can easily resemble the metaphor of a watch with its hand, and the internal is composed of a se- ries of concentric circles, the color of which give a sensation of depth. After the selection of a spatio-temporal cou- ple, users can visualize the related multime- dia contents by touching the active area in the center of the screen. Time span: • 2ndcrusade; • 3rdcrusade; • Ayyubid; • Mamluk; • Ottoman. Zoom level: • Transjordan region; • Shawbak castle; • The fortified gate; • Masonries elevations; • Stones. Spatio-temporal metaphor. RESULTS AND EXHIBITION The system was installed at the exhibition «From Petra to Shawbak, Archaeology of a Fron- tier» at the Limonaia di Palazzo Pitti, Florence (Italy) and run for 4 months. During the exhibition untrained users could easily have access to multimedia contents and this fact was greatly appreciated, even considering the average lack of digital interac- tive contents in this kind of exhibitions. The exhibition was planned to itinerate across Europe and finally settle down at the visi- tors’ centre of the Shawbak archaeology site in Jordan. This will let the project become also a mean of communication between different cultures which is able to spread the knowl- edge of subjects usually belonged to the scientific community. ACM Multimedia 2010 - Poster Session - Interactive Art Contacts:,,,,, Acknowledgments: Our thanks to Nicola Martorana and Riccardo Canalicchio for their contribution to this work.