UCLA

Rome Reborn 1.0

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By Caroline Campbell

Published Jun 11, 2007 11:33 AM


VIRTUAL TIME MACHINE ENHANCES EDUCATION, RESEARCH

"This is just the first step in the creation of a virtual time machine," he added, "which our children and grandchildren will use to study the history of Rome and many other great cities around the world."


Diane Favro, co-initiator of Rome Reborn and director of UCLA's Experiential Technologies Center, said, "This amazing model allows us to appreciate individual buildings of ancient Rome within a broad urban context, and thus also to understand how the modern city took shape over time. Numerous UCLA students explored advanced technology and global resources to create the Rome Reborn model, an experience that transformed them from students into 21st-century scholars."

In addition, students and faculty at UCLA have pioneered the educational application and evaluation of such historical digital recreations in K-12 classrooms.

"It is the ability to excite and inform viewers of all ages that makes such immersive re-creations so compelling," said Favro.

"This is the first time that engineers have succeeded in creating a hybrid computer model of an entire city based on born-digital and reborn-digital elements," said Gabriele Guidi of INDACO Lab at the Politecnico di Milano. "The project was an enormous technical challenge, and now that we have successfully met it, we can easily start building up a library of other city models in museums around the world."

The Rome Reborn project was begun at UCLA in 1996 by professors Favro and Frischer. They collaborated with UCLA students from classics, architecture and urban design who fashioned the digital models with continuous advice from expert archaeologists. As the project evolved, it became collaborative at an international scale. In 2004, the project moved its administrative home to the University of Virginia, while work in progress continued at UCLA. In the same year, a cooperative research agreement was signed with the Politecnico di Milano.

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