A few days ago, Euronews - Futuris presented a documentary for the iMareCulture project I am working with colleagues around Europe and not only. The sunken ruins of ancient cities, the monuments of lost civilisations, may reappear before our eyes thanks to new technologies of augmented reality. Two thousand years ago, a now-flooded coastal area near Naples was a fashionable Roman resort, Baiae. Nowadays, you have to dive to see the remains of the luxurious villas. And soon, to make your diving experience even better, you could take your tablet along. The tablet, safely carried in a waterproof case, picks up acoustic signals from underwater beacons.
This helps two different AR apps to precisely position itself on a map, guiding the diver to the most interesting underwater sites, like a floor mosaic from a submerged Roman villa that would otherwise be hidden from view by sand. The first app is based on acoustic tracking while the second one on QR codes and in both cases the divers can travel through the virtual city while exploring its submerged ruins. Beyond the popularisation of historical heritage, the virtual reality technologies allowed the researchers to develop a professional simulator that teaches proper excavation techniques at an underwater archaeological site.