A group of schoolchildren from Coventry’s Westwood Academy School have become the first members of the public to see a specially commissioned 3D Virtual reality model of Warwickshire’s Lunt fort. They were invited to WMG at the University of Warwick to see how the fort would have looked during the height of use by Roman soldiers between 60 and 80AD.
Teacher Helen Dalglish, Director of Humanities and Culture at the Westwood Academy was invited with six pupils, Lizzie Hastings, Michael Smith, Tom Hardy, Kia Morant, Leah Allsopp and Jacob Bradshaw to make a special visit to see Lunt Fort as it is now, and then to immediately after that visit the University of Warwick to be the first members of the public to see the 3D Virtual Reality recreation of the original Fort
Coventry’s Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, who operate Lunt fort, were working together with Malvern based The Virtual Experience Company to create a Virtual Reality visualisation of the Fort as it was at the height of its occupation. They turned to WMG at the University of Warwick for help with turning this model into a large scale 3D experience.
WMG’s £5 million Premium Vehicle Customer Interface Technologies (PVCIT) Centre has a range of facilities used by manufacturers to design and visualize products. This includes the UK’s highest resolution 3D virtual reality “Power Wall” driven by visualisation software supplied by Autodesk. The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum and The Virtual Experience Company asked WMG if they could access that technology to complete the project.
Professor Mark Williams, University of Warwick, and WMG Product Evaluation Technology (PET) research group leader said:
"The Virtual Experience Company are just one of many local small and medium sized West Midlands companies that we have been able to grant access to this technology at WMG at the University of Warwick. We were particularly pleased that this partnership also helped a local museum, a local visitor attraction, and delighted to be able to give the first public viewing of it to a local school.”
“Normally we can test product designs or even laser scan existing whole products as big as a car or van to create 3D models accurate to 5 thousands of a millimetre which they can then display and manipulate on the Centre’s 3D “Power Wall” so a Roman Fort is a bit of departure.”.
Helen Dalglish from Westwood School said:
“It was a wonderful experience for students to really visualise what Lunt Fort was like during the Roman Period and see it as a community of people. It was also excellent for the students to see how technology can help enhance their learning of the past.”
David Bancroft Operations Director of The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum said:
“The challenge with an open air site like this is to keep it as accessible as possible and there is a concern that it might not be as easily interpretable as it could be. This virtual reconstruction has been a very exciting project for us and has provided a way to envisage how the site was when occupied by the Romans, enabling visitors to move between buildings and examine artefacts.
Visitors to the site can view the 3D reconstruction here, but it is also available on our website, which we hope will encourage others to come and visit the site in person.”
Mike Gogan of the Virtual Experience Company said:
“The Virtual Experience Company uses 3D and computer games technology to access buildings and heritage projects and we were approached by The Herbert to help interpret the fort.
Working with their historians and archaeologists we built a 3D reconstruction of the fort as it would have been when occupied by the Romans and visitors can now explore this not only at the site itself but also online.
As a company we are always looking for the latest technology and innovations to keep an edge over our competitors and I approached WMG as they have the latest toys and technologies as well as programmes to help SMEs. They have further developed our 3D reconstructions for display on the 3D Power Wall which is a huge advantage to us as a company, giving us access to expertise and technology we couldn’t otherwise afford and providing a demonstrator than we can now use for future clients.”