3D Device Lets Museum Visitors See Hidden Treasures

12 November, 2016

A museum in the Netherlands is trying to show more of the objects it has and bring excitement to museum visitors.

The museum is using an augmented reality device made by Microsoft to reach its goals.

The use of this high-technology device started with a basic problem.

The Dutch National Museum of Antiquities does not have enough space to put all of its artifacts on display. So, the museum asked experts at Delft University of Science and Technology to find a way to let more visitors – especially young people – experience what the museum has to offer.

The experts used the Hololens. It is a computer that shows visitors holograms, or virtual pictures that appear to have three dimensions. People can wear the Hololens on their heads.

Annelies Maltha is a researcher at Delft University of Technology.

She says that almost 80 percent of the artifacts at the museum are not shown to the public.

"So by using the Hololens," she says "people can virtually visit the exhibit and see so much more."

The Dutch National Museum has artifacts like the Egyptian Temple of Teffeh. The structure was reconstructed inside the museum in 1971. It is not currently available to the public.

"The Hololens enables you to have an augmented reality, instead of a virtual reality, which means you can still see the temple, you can still feel the ancient vibe around you, so to speak."

Maltha says the augmented reality technology gives visitors the ability to interact with their surroundings.

The researchers at Delft University of Technology are using the Hololens to make three dimensional images of every room in the temple.

Erik Hoglund is also a researcher at the university.

He explains that his team can create 3D models and add different images, movies, or animations. The effect is to make visitors feel like they are interacting with the temple.

The Hololens program is still being developed. But museum officials hope that, in the future, the HoloLens will serve as a tour guide for exhibits that have been hidden from public view.

I'm John Russell.

Deborah Block reported this story for VOA News. John Russell adapted it for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.


Words in the Story

artifact -- n. a simple object (such as a tool or weapon) that was made by people in the past

exciting – adj. causing feelings of interest and enthusiasm

augment – v. to add something to (something) in order to improve or complete it

reconstruct -- v. to build (something damaged or destroyed) again

interact -- v. to come together and have an effect on each other

vibe – n. informal : a feeling that someone or something gives you

3D Model – n. made in a way that causes an image to appear to be three-dimensional

exhibit – n. an object or a collection of objects that have been put out in a public space for people to look at