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Friday, December 3, 2021

Ancient Olympia to be digitally preserved


Ancient Olympia is to be digitally preserved, in a new deal between the Greek government and Microsoft.

The collaboration employs artificial intelligence to map the site and augmented reality to aid in the restoration of the Olympic Games’ original home.

It will allow viewers to walk through the area as it was over 2,000 years ago.

Microsoft hopes to compete with Facebook by developing its own plans for the so-called metaverse.

It recently announced the Microsoft Teams metaverse for meetings, and it is eager to turn Minecraft and other games it owns into more immersive 3D worlds.

Because of its partnership with the Greek government, people can tour the site remotely or in person using an augmented-reality mobile app. They can use HoloLens headsets to overlay a digital version of the site at the Olympic Museum in Athens.

Microsoft’s smart glasses for augmented reality HoloLens displays information, blends with the real world, and simulates a virtual world using multiple sensors, advanced optics, and holograms.

The original Olympic Stadium, the temples of Zeus and Hera, and the workshop of the renowned sculptor Phidias are among the 27 monuments to be preserved.

The structures are as close to their original forms as possible, and include historical timelines of the site’s changes over time, as well as depictions of artefacts from each period.

Digitising the site

Microsoft partnered with technology company Iconem, which specialises in 3D digitisation of historic sites, as part of its AI for Cultural Heritage initiative.

After taking hundreds of thousands of images of the site with on-the-ground cameras and drones, Microsoft AI processed the images to create models.

“This technology’s cultural implications are limitless. For the first time, visitors from all over the world will be able to virtually visit the birthplace of democracy, the ancient site of Olympia, and immerse themselves in history “Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Greece’s Prime Minister, stated as much.

“The project to digitally preserve Ancient Olympia is a stunning achievement in cultural heritage, bringing together humanity and cutting-edge technology to benefit the world and empower future generations with new ways to explore our past,” said Microsoft President Brad Smith.

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