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A 3D revolution for history education A

shift is taking place in the way history lessons could soon be taught thanks to a revolutionary new project from software company Dassault Systèmes.

The company has recently digitized the city of Paris enabling 2000 years of its history to now be experienced in 3D through a variety of formats including an iPad, the Internet, in a multi projector environment and as an augmented reality (AR) book.

The company embarked on the project in order to demonstrate the scope of their technology whilst offering a fun and innovative education solution. The result: a team of experts that included an archaeologist, historians and 3D technicians, were able to accurately recreate, preserve and offer ‘time travel’ access to Paris and its monuments, including ones that no longer exist such as the thermal baths at Cluny and the Bastille.

The future of education

The finished project opened up a host of new possibilities for the future of education, in particular for history lessons, as the platform demonstrated how a single source of 3D data can be utilized and managed across diverse technologies.

Dassault Systèmes says it aims to develop virtual worlds to ‘improve the real world’. The company believes that adding data evolves history and furthers professional, academic and cultural interest.

Requests have already been received from several other cities wishing to create virtual reality versions of their own histories. "Virtual reality is a new way to connect and innovate, for research and education, and for cultural exploration by the general public," says Mehdi Tayoubi, VP of design and experimental strategy at Dassault Systèmes.

One of the most immersive ways to experience the digitized city is in a multi projector cave. Using stereoscopic glasses that adjust the perspective as you move, the gap between virtual and reality is bridged, bringing the data to life. Teachers can demonstrate the technology to students on a smaller scale via their tablet device, mobile phone or computer.

Benefits to learners

Further projects are being jointly developed by Dassault Systèmes and Harvard University with particular focus on the past, present and future of ancient Egyptian sites and monuments. As the technology becomes more accessible, the benefits to learners are vast: the 3D experiences can be used to simulate current and future situations that show how a city looks now and in 30 years time. Students can see the impact of past decisions and how today’s choices will impact tomorrow’s habitation, pollution and waste management, transportation and technological provision. The 3D element allows a greater depth of detail to be considered. This precision vision can also digitally demonstrate the effects of potential natural disasters and assist in the development of more effective and better-understood plans for the future.

The iPad app ‘Paris 3D Saga’ is free from the app store.

May 2013


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