Category Archives: Wearable

Technology that can be used to record Archaeology and Cultural Heritage while being worn.

Microsoft HoloLens

The HoloLens was originally announced on 21 January 2015.

But it was the systems appearance at the E3 expo in America that demonstrated its abilities, including those for playing minecraft in an innovative way.

Although similar in appearance to Virtual Reality goggles the system works in a completely different way, by projecting virtual components (holograms) into a view of the real world, this is called Augmented reality.

It is believed that the HoloLens will cost between £300-£600. It is not likely that it will be available before 2016.

Potential
This system has great potential for a number of areas within Archaeology and Cultural Heritage including virtual museums, where 3D recreations of artifacts are visible to the viewer next to fragments. Or for site tours/or visits to sites of historical interest where a 3D recreation model of the site is visible on top of the excavated remains.

Limitations
Those who have used it have suggested that it has a limited field of view for the Immersive elements. And it is quite expensive.

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Samsung Gear VR

The Samsung Gear VR is a Virtual Reality headset designed to work with Galaxy Note 4 smartphone using Oculus Rift technology.

The headset uses an accelorator, gyrometer, magnetic and proximity sensors to enable interaction with a virtual environment by moving the headset using the same technology as the Oculus Rift.

On the side of the headset are a number of controls including a touch pad, back button, and a volume rocker. Focal adjustment can be also be undertaken on the system.

VR Content can be viewed through an Oculus Home App.

The systems has a 96º degree viewing angle.

The Innovator Edition is available in two editions; one which just consists of the Gear VR costs £185 with a second containing a Bluetooth gamepad for controlling content within the VR environment costs £240.

Potenital
Like other VR systems it could be used to remotely view immersive photos/videos of excavations/cultural heritage.

Unlike the Oculus Rift the system is wireless.

Limitations
The Gear VR is designed to only work with the Galaxy Note 4, if the user already owns one then it is only an additional of £185, but the phone itself costs £600 making it an expensive purchase for use with the Gear VR. Although technically it has greater potential than Google Cardboard the fact that it only works with one phone severely limits its user-ability.

The system cannot be connected to a PC so all material has to be downloaded via the phone.

Kodak PixPro SP360 Action Cam

The Kodak PixPro SP360 is an action camera aimed at the extreme sports recording market.

It is able to record 360º 10MP photographs and Full HD 1080p Video using its curved lens. Using the Pixpro Remote Viewer App it connects to other devices with iOS, Android or Windows operating systems using Wi-fi and NFC (Near Field Communication) allowing both control of the camera and viewing of the images/videos. The images/vidoes can be viewed in a number of different modes – ring, dome, front 180º and rear 180º, 360º panorama and globe. The system also has motion detector sensor which starts recording when motion is detected.

Much like the GoPro camera the system comes with a number of accessories for attaching it to different devices as well as a waterproof case which aare available in the different bundles.

The PixPro SP360 costs $349 for the Explorer bundle for entry-level and the Aqua bundle for watersports and $399 for the Extreme Accessories bundle.

Potential
The camera is able to record much more than a standard camera without the requirement for multiple cameras and the images/videos created can be viewed/exported in a number of different modes. It is water resistant, can be attached to a UAV or a person allowing a wide range of recording possibilities.

Limitations
Although the system can record a 360º view images/videos with the camera pointing upwards it is only able to record a 214º images/videos while pointing towards a subject. The distortion of a domed lens may also impact on the quality of the results.

GoPro HERO

The GoPro HERO is a new budget camera in the GoPro range. It takes 5MP (mega pixels) photos which can be recorded up to 5 frames a second and records video at 1080p30 and 720p60. With its rugged case it is waterproof to 40m.

The interface has been made easier with the new QuikCature mode which allows the user to power on the camera and start recording by pressing a single button. Pressing once records video, while holding the button down for 2 seconds starts to capture time lapse photos.

http://shop.gopro.com/EMEA/cameras/hero/CHDHA-301.html

The GoPro HERO costs £99.99.

Potential
The GoPro HERO has much of the same potential as the GoPro HERO4 which can be read here.

At only £100 its potential for budget wearable technology in archaeology is enhanced greatly, with the cost of 3 GoPro Heros being less than 1 GoPro Hero4.

Limitations
Up until now one of the major limitations of the GoPro has been the price, but with a GoPro costing £99.99 this drawback has been removed.

There are limitations to this budget model though, the camera is only 5MP as opposed to the GoPro HERO4 which is 12MP, which is quite a low level of recording for a modern digital camera. It will limit the amount of information recorded in a photograph, and hence any 3D models created from the results.

GoPro HERO4

The GoPro HERO4 is a new camera in the GoPro range, it consists of two separate models, the silver and the black.

Silver

The silver model includes a built-in touch-screen display, previously this had been available as an extra which connected to the back of the camera, the black model does not come with this.

It captures photographs with its 12MP camera at speeds up to 30fps and records video at 1080p60 and 720p120.

Black

Professional Video up to 4K30

It captures photographs with its 12MP camera at speeds up to 30fps and records video at 4K30, 2.7K50 and 1080p120.

Both models have built-In Wi-Fi + Bluetooth allowing connection and control from other devices using the GoPro App, Smart Remote2 and more.

With their rugged case they are waterproof to 40m.

The silver version of the camera is £289.99 while the back is £369.99.

Potential
The GoPro camera was designed with the extreme sports industry in mind, but it has since find a place in a number of other disciplines.

The size, weight and portability of the GoPro camera has meant that is had become the mainstay of the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) industry with the camera becoming standard on many quadcopters. The user can see what the camera sees by either using the on-board wi-fi and an app on tablet computers or phones; or a fpv (first person view) system which can be sent wirelessly to either a video monitor or video goggles. Motorised gimbals can be used to both, stablise the camera to remove any shake caused by the UAV, and to change the direction the camera is pointing in mid flight.

The GoPro also has great potential as wearable technology in the trench:

  • The camera comes with a number of mounts out of the box, including ones that can attach to hardhats, but other mounts are available including a chest harness. These could be used to record the excavation process by attaching GoPro camera to the archaeologist excavating; the video could be used to record video but the individual video frames, or photographs, could be used to create a 3D photogrammetry model of the excavation. The combination of head and chest mounted camera may provide enough images to make an accurate model of the excavation. The rugged plastic housing can protect the camera from anything that it comes across in the trench.
  • If a complicated or important excavation was being undertaken or an important artifact was being lifted the excavator could have a live conference with an expert who could advise them on the best way to excavate it.
  • Experimentation with aspects of wearable technology has been undertaken on the Portus Project in Italy under the auspices of the University of Southampton.

The use of the GoPro is not limited to a single camera, the Dual HERO System is a case that allows two GoPro camera to be put side by side which allows 3D footage to be created using the GoPro Studio editing software.

GoPro Dual HERO System

The 360heros series of GoPro mounts clips a number of cameras together allowing spherical video recording with up to 14 GoPro cameras, the videos recorded can be stitched together in video stitching software to create immersive 360˚ videos. Mounts are available for everything from the top of helmets, to UAVs, underwater recording and even for recording 360˚ 3D with 14 GoPro cameras.

The system can record immersive videos on the ground, in the air and underwater which can viewed in a video player online – http://video.360heros.com/website/users/webplayer/videodetails.php?vid=59

The Freedom360 provides a similar system.

A GoPro has even been attached to a shovel while archaeology is being undertaken – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ht0RR94O9jY&feature=youtu.be

It has been used in underwater test of sfm (structure from motion) – http://arc-team-open-research.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/extreme-sfm-underwater-archaeology.html

Limitations
The HERO4 Black provides the user with a highly portable camera capable of recording 4K video, it does however come at a high price which limits the potential of using multiple cameras in an immersive recording system, the cheaper HERO does provide this opportunity however.

Raspberry Pi Model B+

The Raspberry Pi Model B+ is the latest model in the Raspberry Pi stable of computers. It is a credit card sized computer that can run a number of operating systems including Linux and Android, it was originally aimed at teaching children computing, programming and electronics but has been embraced by a whole community of people interested in its potential.

Raspberry Pi Model B+

With the GPIO (general purpose input/output) pins on the board many different electrical devices can be controlled; from turning an LED (light emitting diode) on and off to driving motors and taking readings from distance measuring devices. This makes it very useful for controlling robotics such as UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) and Rovers.

By the inclusion of a battery pack it can be made completely portable, with the computer being controlled remotely via Wi-Fi using a wireless dongle and using either the SSH (Secure Shell) command prompt interface or the VNC (Virtual Network Computing) virtual desktop application, you can even use your mobile phone – http://www.raspberrypi.org/piui-control-your-pi-with-your-phone/.

The model B+ costs around £25.

Camera Module
Although the Raspberry Pi itself comes with no digital recording capabilities out of the box, for another £25 the camera module can be purchased and used to record video at 1080p30, 720p60 and VGA90 modes and images can be captured with its 5 megapixel camera.

Potential
The previous versions of the Raspberry Pi have already been used in robotics projects such as controlling Rovers and UAVs to controlling photographic recording stations. With extra GPIO pins and a more powerful computer this potential can be added to.
http://makezine.com/2013/07/06/the-raspberry-rover/
Rover

http://www.botched.co.uk/
UAV

It can be used to make cheaper versions of technology which already perform a usefully function; such as this gigapixel camera rig which takes overlapping DSLR photographs with preset motorised rotation and elevation of the rig set by the software on the Raspberry Pi, with the rotation being also controlled by the Raspberry Pi using a stepper motor whose rotation can be set accurately. The images can later be stitched together in software. A commercial version of this system is the GigaPan EPIC Pro gigapixel camera rig which costs $995. The software for the project is free to download. Free software solutions for stiching panorama photos together also exist, such as http://hugin.sourceforge.net/ and Microsoft’s ICE (Image Composite Editor) http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/groups/ivm/ICE/
Gigapixel Camera Rig
An example gigapixel image using the rig can be seen here.
Gigapixel
An example of a GigaPan capture undertaken with an EPIC Pro by the author and a colleague on the site of Netley Abbey in Hampshire as part of a recording project can be seen here.

Netley Abbey - GigaPan

Maker movement companies such have Adafruit have embraced the Raspberry Pi designing by building and selling many addons, including motor controller boards and touch screens.

Limiting factors
The Raspberry Pi can run many useful pieces of software but it is limited by it’s processing power, although multiple Pi’s could be used for different parts of a project.

360cam

The 360cam kickstarter project is a 360˚ Full HD camera, it is designed to take 360˚ horizontally and 300˚ vertically photographs and video with the systems 3 185˚ fisheye lens 8mpx cameras.
It provides images at a 4096 x 2048 resolution and video at 2046 x 1024 resolution at 30 fps h.264 mp4 and can record video for 60 minutes. The system can stitch images together in real time inside the camera, the files can also be exported to other 360˚ photo and video software. It also has the ability to stream Live video over WiFi.

During the recording process multiple images can be taken at different exposure levels providing high dynamic range photographs, which allows more variation in texture and colour to be recorded which can be used in the study of archaeology and cultural heritage.

The WiFi allows the 360cam to be controlled remotely with Android and iOS mobile phones and tablets.

http://www.360.tv/


One of the accessories for the 360cam is an underwater lens cup allowing 360˚ photographs and video to be taken underwater.
360cam lens cup
It can be easily attached to another kickstarter project, the HERO+ intelligent drone, with an optional mount for an additional $80.

With the 360cam Oculus Rift video player it is possible to view the immersive videos created using the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset.
Oculus Rift

The system costs $499.

Potential
The 360cam has great potential for the immersive recording of everything from archaeological excavations to walk-throughs of historic monuments. Its ability to be simply played in an Oculus Rift player adds significantly to the presentation possibilities of the video, although the current Oculus Rift Development Kit is another $350. The underwater lens cap allows the recording of photographs and video underwater adding potential for maritime archaeology.

Whether the overlap of the individual images can be used to create a photogrammetry model of the subject matter of the recording will have to be tested.

Limitations
The cameras of the 360cam are only 8mpx so the images provided would be of a much lower size than the similar Panono Camera.

Only a mount for the HERO+ drone can be purchased, but a mount for other UAVs could be printed using a 3D printer or manufactured in another way.