OLYMPIA, Greece, Nov. 10, 2021 / PRNewswire / – The Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports and Microsoft Corp. announced on Wednesday Ancient Olympia: Common Grounds, a new collaboration to digitally preserve and restore Ancient Olympia, the original home of the Olympic Games, using AI. This digital renaissance project allows viewers around the world to explore Ancient Olympia over 2,000 years ago through an immersive experience via an interactive mobile app, web desktop experience or a Microsoft HoloLens 2 exhibit at the Museum Athens Olympics.
The digital preservation of ancient Olympia gives people a way to walk the site during one of the most important periods in history – brought to life in a realistic and engaging way that was never possible before . This new form of digital archiving will continue to provide a portal to another era, helping us understand what humanity has accomplished in the past and reminding us of what we are capable of today.
“Ancient Olympia: Common Grounds is a unique way to experience Greece’s proud cultural heritage. Visitors from all over the world can virtually tour the ancient site of Olympia and experience the history firsthand using augmented reality technology, ”said Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Greek Prime Minister.
“The ancient Olympia digital preservation project is an astonishing achievement in the field of cultural heritage, bringing together humanity and cutting-edge technology for the benefit of the world and enabling future generations to discover new ways to explore our past. Said Brady Smith, president and vice president, Microsoft.
“With the digital representation of the Pan-Hellenic Sanctuary of Ancient Olympia, its cultural heritage – but also the values of Olympism, peace, harmony, excellence and noble rivalry – becomes accessible to the world whole thanks to the use of state-of-the-art tools. The digital preservation project, thanks to the use of artificial intelligence and augmented reality technologies, implemented thanks to the cultural sponsorship of Microsoft, promotes and highlights the unique and emblematic archaeological site of ancient Olympia. This contributes to the research and documentation of monuments, supports tourism and the extroversion of the country as a modern and strong democracy with a long historical and cultural past and a dynamic of undeniable development ”, declared Lina Mendoni, Minister of Culture and Sports of the Hellenic Republic.
“We thank the Greek government for the trust and the excellent partnership it took to make this project a reality. to the rest of the world, ”said Theodosis Michalopoulos, Managing Director of Microsoft Greece Cyprus and Malta.
In total, the project digitally preserves 27 monuments on the site, including the original Olympic stadium, the temples of Zeus and Hera and the studio of the famous sculptor Phidias. In the 3D experience, these buildings are recreated in lifelike detail, painstakingly studied by expert archaeologists from the Hellenic Ministry to be as faithful as possible to their original forms. This includes historical timelines of changes to the site over time and representations of artifacts from each period.
Through its AI for Cultural Heritage initiative, Microsoft has partnered with technology company Iconem, which specializes in digitizing historic sites in 3D, to create the foundational model of ancient Olympia. Ground cameras and drones have been used to take hundreds of thousands of images of the site, which Microsoft AI has processed to create models so precise they are rendered photorealistic.
The collaboration between the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports and Microsoft brought together people from diverse backgrounds – theoretical and technical, such as archaeologists and developers – and from various parts of the world to work, find new ways to overcome the challenges and ultimately find common ground to bring this project to life – not only to preserve the past with the use of AI technology, but also to advance these principles into the future.
These monuments have survived thousands of years of time, war, earthquakes and modernization, and need digital preservation to ensure that all evidence of the rich history and common civil values upon which the site was built be passed on to future generations.
The web experience can be viewed at olympiacommongrounds.gr, and the app can be downloaded from the iOS and Android app stores.
The Ancient Olympia: Common Grounds exhibition, featuring the HoloLens 2 virtual tour, is now open to the public at the Olympic Museum in Athens.
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SOURCE Microsoft Corp.