Using Augmented Reality for presenting historical sites

Timo Korkalainen,, @timokorkalainen

Technology Reseach Center,, @ututrc

WikiLovesMaps, 5.2.2015

Mixed Reality

Augmented Reality

  • Integration
  • Interaction
    • Both virtual & human counterparts
  • Immersive
    • Wearable, all senses
  • Personal
    • Profiling, SoMe,
  • Content!
    • Visuals, audio, digital storytelling

“I think it’s pretty easy to imagine that in the future we will have something that we can either wear — and it’ll look like normal glasses. And you’ll just be able to have context with what’s going on around you in the world and communicate with people and not have to disrupt your conversations by looking down.”

-- Mark Zuckerberg, Jan 14, 2015

Augmented reality and history

  • New possibilities for research of history?
  • A laboratory of history?
  • Testing and developing hypotheses
  • Interpretations vs. reality

Luostarinmäki Adventure


  • Open air museum in Turku
  • Buildings from the turn of the 18th and 19th century on their original locations
  • Dwellings of people with limited means
  • Opened as museum in 1940
  • Represents handicrafts and city life in the past
  • Protecting the authenticity: no texts or signs

Why an Augmented Reality Game?

  • To engage and motivate the visitors
  • To leave the physical reality intact
  • To bring the physical remains of the past back to life
  • To enable learning by doing and experiencing

Building the Story

  • What cannot be told or shown with traditional methods?
  • Original story written by students
  • Cooperation with the museum staff
  • Interactive script written with a visualization tool

Building the Game

Museum costumes

Museum staff

3D modeller

Character models






Actual location

Location modeller



Game designer


App developer

UI designer

The game

User Experiences

  • Concept well received
  • Very immersive, even too much
  • Technology needs improving
  • Commercial solutions viable soon
  • More tests will be done next summer, welcome to try it out!

Louhisaari Stories


  • Medieval estate
  • Main building from 1650s
  • Owned by Fleming and Mannerheim families
  • How to present the park and the garden?
  • 1820s and 1830s as the “golden age” of the manor

Directing Content

  • Lifelike animations require an actor
    • Motion capture cost-effective solution
    • Voice acting
    • What makes the characters seem lifelike in AR?
  • Choosing the real world locations for scenes
    • Viewing directions & distances, changes in lights etc.
  • Large augmented elements, not just characters

Between fact and fiction

  • Telling facts through fiction
  • Is it acceptable to deviate from the historical truth?
  • Real and fictional characters
  • Respecting the past vs. freedom of presenting

The Future

  • MIRACLE - Mixed Reality Applications for Culture and Learning Environments, 2015-2016
  • Diverse sites: indoors, outdoors, open space cities
  • Crowdsourcing, cloud services, content databases, metadata

ARea 15

Augmented reality in culture and travel

June 11 & 12, Turku, Finland

korkalainen - Google Slides