3D history

Virtual models of historic settlements allow us to step into the past

Date published: 2012-11-14 12:00:00 PM

With the invention of the book, the Romans had to explore new ways to tell stories and represent and organize information. As the Canada Research Chair in Digital Humanities at Brock University, John Bonnett is addressing a similar challenge in the digital age. If scholars are to harness the computer's potential, he argues, humanities researchers must devise new ways to communicate in a virtual and augmented reality.

Bonnett’s research is devoted to just that purpose. By building virtual 3D models of historic settlements, he and his students are creating a unique record of the past that is revolutionizing the way we study and interpret history.

Bonnett is expanding his research to include the emerging medium of “augmented reality,” a term used to describe the phenomenon of digital objects being displayed in real space. Using special headsets and/or tablets, students can visualize history in a whole new way as they experience and interact with the 3D projection of an historic settlement.

Already highlighted in popular and academic periodicals, Bonnett's research has potential applications in the fields of education and commerce, and thus could wield a powerful influence in the cultural sector.