xR Environment
Building a Metaverse for Research
We are creating the open 'metaverse' for education and research communities. We call it the CyberArchWarehouse. It is an immersive collaborative environment running inside Unreal Engine 5 allowing archaeologists, researchers and students to come together, analyze and study digitized assets from archaeological artifacts to fully simulated digital twins of natural and manmade structures. The goal of this project is to create this platform and support an online community around it that integrates all these tools together for academic study and research. As a new avenue of digital exploration we hope to attract a diverse range of people that are driven to enter the Metaverse primarily out of a curiosity and desire to learn and study the rare and amazing digital assets representing many fields of research and academia. Besides developing new xR interactive tools and experiences ourselves, we see this as an opportunity to create a platform in which modular code (C++/Blueprints) can be injected within a running pre-packaged game allowing the community to contribute to its growth as a research, analysis, and visualization platform.
Digital Asset Repository
Access Digital Assets from Anywhere
We stream in all assets on the fly from our cloud server with ca. 8TB of mesh assets, point clouds, images and other data types. The end goal is to bring any type of archaeological data or application into VR where it can be studied as if present in the physical world. •Of particular interest is the integration of at-risk world cultural heritage and developing non-conventional tools to make it accessible to scientists, students, and the general public.
Collaborate as MetaHuman Avatars
Embodied Cyberarchaeology through Avatars and Online Learning
One of the real advantages of immersive collaboration is it enables embodied cognition and learning. However, we beleive this can only be acheived if you can see yourself (body, hands, feet) and colleagues as their true selves. We have developed a simple pipeline for anyone to create their digital twin as a photo-realistic avatar using Epic Games integration of MetaHumans. Coupled with your digital avatar we take full advantage of the latest tracking technology to delivery embodied multiplayer collaborative experiences within the CyberArchWarehouse. From within our platform we can already give lectures with streamed powerpoints and digital assets and tours. A major goal this coming year is to test an entire class lecture of 15 students within the CyberArchWarehouse all streaming into the lecture in VR.
Museum Digital Twins
Tour museums in a new way
One immediate avenue we see missing from the discussion on the open Metaverse is the role digital museums will play in creating virtual online communities. Our platform is perfectly suited to spin-off museum experiences to reach a broad audience. Physical museums of all branches (natural, cultural heritage, art, technology) have been focal points attracting visitors from all around the world for centuries and even generating annual revenues at scales of the film industry. As a first step we have partnered with the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem to recreate the digital twin of their museum along with taking visitors along a virtual tour of the archaeological sites from which all their digital assets originate. As a next step we are expanding our platform to be more easily configurable to create a digital twin of any museum. Most important we can create museums of digital assets and sites that are endangered or no longer have their physical counterpart.
WebXR Pixelstreaming
Harnesh the power of super computers in your headset
Currently a powerful PC is required to render the digital assets in the CyberArchWarehouse and stream to VR/AR headsets. We see this as an immediate hurdle to many researchers and students that would want to participate but do not have the financial or computational resources to do so. Therefore, we have developed at UC San Diego a Kubernetes build of UE5 that allows us to spin up a cloud computer to host our project through Pixelstreaming. UC San Diego is the main contributor to the Pacific Research Platform which is a conglomeration of hundreds of attached computers across the United States with the throughput and available resources that rivals and beats on many metrics AWS, Azure, Digital Ocean, and more. Best of all it is free for students and researchers. We have modified the Pixelstreaming plugin and simpleHMD plugin to enable what we call WebXR Pixelstreaming. Essentially any user with a VR/AR device can navigate to our hosted webpage and enter a WebXR session that streams head and hand position directly into UE5 and can stream back to the headset 4k 90fps stereo video.
Tutorials and Technical Videos
CyberArchWarehouse Technical Explanation
10 mins
by Neil Smith
This is a technical explanation on the various features currently being implemented in the CyberArchWarehouse.
Hebrew Union College Virtual Museum Technical Video
14 mins
by Neil Smith
This is a technical explanation on how we created the HUC Virtual Museum inside the CyberArchWarehouse.
Metahuman Creation From Facial Scan Workflow Pt 1
6 mins
by Sophia Boss
This is a tutorial on how to create a metahuman from a facial scan.
Metahuman Customization -- UE5 Workflow Pt 2
9 mins
by Sophia Boss
This is a tutorial on how to customize a metahuman.
Reconstructing Archaeological Sites and Artifacts in Unreal Engine 5 - Part 1
14 mins
by Adrian Rodarte
In this series of tutorials, I will show you how to create digital twins of archaeological sites and artifacts. In Part 1, I cover my workflow for RealityCapture to reconstruct a 3D model of an archaeological site. In this case, I reconstructed a section of the site of Tel Dan. This workflow involves aligning images, unwrapping, texturing, and filtering and their proper settings. I cleaned up and finalized the model to prepare it to be imported into Unreal Engine 5. I also show how I use a similar workflow to reconstruct museum exhibits in RealityCapture.
Reconstructing Archaeological Sites and Artifacts in Unreal Engine 5 - Part 2
7 mins
by Adrian Rodarte
In Part 2, I cover how to import a 3D object of an archaeological site into Unreal Engine 5. I go over which import options I adjust and how to create material instances to make a static mesh look great within a level.
Reconstructing Archaeological Sites and Artifacts in Unreal Engine 5 - Part 3
8 mins
by Adrian Rodarte
In Part 3, I cover how to import a 3D object of an artifact into Unreal Engine 5. I go over how to rotate a static mesh and adjust the pivot on MeshLab. Additionally, I cover how to permanently apply a material file to a static mesh.
First steps in a WebXR Pixelsreaming Session
5 mins
[Coming Soon] This is a brief demonstration of the WebXR Pixelstreaming plugin created for the CyberArchWarehouse.
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