“Two apparently very different projects yet actually inspired by the same goal: to increase and improve knowledge,” was the comment of Stella Targetti, Vice President of the Tuscany Region with portfolio for education and research, on the conference held at the Aula Magna of the University of Florence Rectorate on the morning of Friday 17 January. The conference was addressed by, among others, the university’s chancellor, Alberto Tesi, and was held to present the results of two scientific research projects conducted by Tuscany’s research system and co-funded by the Tuscany Region under the PAR-FAS programme: one (“T-VedO”) developed to help blind and visually impaired people to appreciate work of arts, the other (“THESAURUS”) designed to identify, catalogue and document underwater artefacts and wrecks of archaeological, historical, artistic and ethno-anthropological value.

“THESAURUS” is an acronym (Tecniche per l'esplorazione sottomarina archeologica mediante l'utilizzo di robot autonomi in sciami, Techniques for underwater archaeological exploration using autonomous robots in swarms) which refers to the design and testing of Autonomous Underwater Robots (AUVs) to recognise seabed areas of archaeological interest using optical, acoustic and magnetic instruments. Under the direction of Tuscany’s Superintendency for Archaeological Heritage, the project’s area of application is the coastal waters of the Province of Livorno: waters rich in archaeological and historical heritage which the small robots will be able to explore down to a depth of 250 metres in order to find out what is still waiting to be discovered on the seabed there.

The aim of the other research project (“T-VedO”) was to develop an integrated prototype virtual modelling system capable of transforming painted (and thus two-dimensional) artworks into both virtual and physical 3D models, thus enabling them to be enjoyed by people with impaired vision. The essential aim of the project is to plug the gaps which still exist today, particularly in art museums, which lack the advanced technology required to create three-dimensional objects from two-dimensional ones.

Following the presentation of the two projects, a panel discussion was held (with contributions by Cristina Acidini and Salvatore Settis) on “results and challenges” regarding the relationship between cultural heritage and new technologies. The event was organised by the Tuscany Region, the University of Florence, the Scuola Nazionale Superiore and the “Centro E. Piaggio” Bioengineering and Robotics Research Center.

Source: Toscana Notizie