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VR expert creates immersive marae experience

POSTED: 10 December 2018

Virtual reality image of Waiwhetū Marae
A virtual experience of Waiwhetū Marae was showcased to participants in a 2018 roadshow.

The first technology venture formed after establishing Tuia Innovation was PointCloud Visualisation (PCV), built on an innovative technology set developed by one of New Zealand’s leading Virtual Reality experts, Dr Maher Hatab.

Dr Hatab developed a unique set of algorithms to render the massive data sets (or “point clouds”) generated by 3D scanners — the surveying tool of the 21st century — into highly-accurate visual models that he was then able to migrate into Virtual Reality (VR).

Using a VR headset, people were able to enter a completely accurate, near photo-realistic digital rendition of a scanned scene, typically a building interior, and enjoy an immersive experience of the space.

While this technology emerged from the forensic realm, we were keen to demonstrate its effectiveness as a preservation tool and underscore its usefulness to our Māori communities as a means of showcasing culture and heritage.

With support from the Ka Hao: Māori Digital Technology Development Fund, we scanned marae from Auckland to Wellington to give committee members, students and rangatahi an insight into the process of data capture and conversion, and ultimately an immersive VR experience of the marae. The interiors, and some exteriors, of these marae were scanned, the data processed through Dr Hatab’s software and converted into 3D models, and these models migrated into VR.

The project was supported by Dr Pare Keiha, Dr Ella Henry and Hohepa Spooner (AUT), Derek Kawiti (Victoria University School of Design), the Te Herenga Waka management committee, and committees of the Kauangaroa (Fordell) and Waiwhetū (Lower Hutt) marae.

Below is a gallery showing marae screenshots and the experiences of project participants. Contact us for further information, including an update on the PCV project and possible applications for the technology.

Te Manukanuka o Hoturoa Marae, Auckland Airport
Te Manukanuka o Hoturoa Marae, Auckland Airport.

 

Ngā Wai o Horotiu Marae at AUT
Ngā Wai o Horotiu Marae at AUT.

 

Students learn about the scanning process at Kauangaroa Marae
Insight into the scanning process at Kauangaroa Marae.

 

Students learn about the scanning process at Kauangaroa Marae
Ben Cook from Recon Limited gives 'on the job' training.

 

Dr Maher Hatab presents to a workshop at Te Ara Poutama
Dr Maher Hatab presents to a workshop at Te Ara Poutama.

 

Virtual exploration at a Victoria Business School workshop
Virtual exploration at a Victoria Business School workshop.

 

VR expert creates immersive marae experience

 
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