Some of Aberdeen University’s Egyptian archaeology collection has been put on virtual display thanks to technology supplied by Aberdeen based design and communication company Mercury 92.
The collaboration between Aberdeen University Museums and Mercury 92 used the company's ZynQ 360 visualisation techniques and software for visually documenting and providing an innovative way for the public to access the museum collections.
As with most museums, less than 5% of the University’s collections are ever on display at one time and many areas such as the museum stores have restricted access. The University are always keen to consider new and interesting ways to increase access to the collections.
The Mercury 92 team visited the Museum Collections Centre at Marischal College to carry out a photogrammetric survey of 14 objects. To do this, they took between 25 and 80 images of each object in order, which the software then re-assembled to create photo-realistic 3D models of each artefact.
Once the artefacts were digitised, Mercury 92 went to work on creating a representation of a tomb in which to display the objects. They studied plan layouts of tombs from various Egyptian kingdoms and created one which had the most common features but laid it out as it if was a museum exhibition, with objects being displayed on plinths.
A visit to the virtual exhibition starts with a view of the museum store – an important part of all museums, but one that is rarely possible for visitors to see. Visitors then travel into an imagined tomb and can look at a selection of artefacts. Unlike in a conventional exhibition, visitors can virtually ‘pic up’ and examine the artefacts closely.
Visitors can also get an immersive VR experience within the tomb by just loading their mobile phone in to any Cardboard format VR headset giving them the impression that they are actually there.