Transparent Mixed Reality Display – Dissertation Project

This dissertation looks at how acrylic sheet treated with rear projection foil can be used as a transparent Augmented Reality (AR) display device.

AR has particular affordances in the field of cultural heritage. It can facilitate engagement by allowing users to view or interact with heritage sites or objects that may be fragile, or may even no longer exist. In this way AR can help to re-contextualise heritage. However, inclusive design must be a priority to ensure physical and cognitive access to digital heritage.

For my dissertation project, I designed and constructed a transparent display device and created an installation of digital visualisations. I used the Jordanhill Cross at Govan Old Parish Church as a case study to demonstrate this technique. The Jordanhill Cross is an example of an Early Medieval standing cross, though only the base remains. However, a replica of the Jordanhill Cross stands outside Govan Old and has been completed with a cross head to show what the cross may have looked like.

Using photogrammetry, I created a digital model of the Jordanhill Cross. The moss was cleaned off the model and the carvings were reconstructed. Then the cross head was digitally coloured. I produced several versions of the digital model, one monochrome and two polychrome, to highlight the speculative and subjective nature of many heritage visualisations. The three versions of the cross head were then combined in a short animation.

These visualisations were projected onto the AR device on site at Govan Old Parish Church, through which the existing stone base is still visible, to re-contextualise hypothetical historical possibilities.

This device allows multiple viewers to experience a mixed reality installation simultaneously, as well as removes barriers to access such as technical illiteracy or the cost of device ownership.

Three Visualisations of the Jordanhill Cross Head

The Jordanhill Cross

Left is the original cross-shaft inside Govan Old Parish Church and right is the replica with the cross head outside the church

Display on site

Augmented Reality Display Screen at Govan Old

Inclusive Viewing

Viewing the display from a seated position to improve accessibility