The Coliseum in Rome, Italy © philriley427
The Coliseum in Rome, Italy © philriley427

Cultural heritage project secures funding

A new social media platform similar to Facebook is to be developed by researchers to enable people to document Europe’s cultural heritage.

The new €2.5m European consortium includes academics from Imperial College London’s Dyson School for Design Engineering, UK, and a further nine partner organisations from Greece, Italy, Slovakia, Spain and the UK.

The aim of the three-year project is to develop a collection of smartphone tools that will enable individuals, community groups, industry, museums and countries to document and share their heritage online.

The smartphone tools that users will be able to download and use for free will include an augmented reality application that will enable people to build virtual models of important local heritage.

A geological mobile app will also be adapted to enable users to showcase geographical information that may have cultural significance.

The final app, called the Collaborative Game app, will enable users anywhere across Europe to work together to compose a comprehensive narrative around particular cultural heritage topics.

Dr Lorenzo Picinali, from Imperial College London’s Dyson School of Design Engineering and co-leader of the project, said: “No one is disputing the importance of existing social media platforms for sharing useful information globally.

“However, they are designed to be multifunctional, serving many purposes for users. We hope that the PLUGGY collaboration will provide a useful and interactive suite of tools that won’t compete with current technology, rather it will complement it.

“The development of this technology has the potential to generate new interests in forgotten heritage, unearth new cultural gems for people to go and explore, or even celebrate things that people haven’t even considered as important parts of our heritage.”