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Ancient Olympia: Common Grounds



Role 

Technical Producer for HoloLens experience development team
Client

Microsoft
Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports

Collaborators

Ada (Concept)
Invisible Thread (Content, design)
Glowbox (Development)
Iconem (3D modeling, historic recreation)

Opportunity

The immersive agency Ada invited us develop the software for a HoloLens 2 experience showcasing 27 ancient Greek monuments digitally preserved and restored from present-day ruins as part of Microsoft’s AI for Cultural Heritage program. The experience would demonstrate the mixed reality headset’s capabilities by placing historically accurate 3D models of the monuments on a table model and bringing them to life with sound, animation, and interaction in the context of a museum exhibition in Greece.
Outcome

The immersive Microsoft HoloLens 2 exhibition invites people to walk through the digitally preserved site of ancient Olympia. There, visitors are transported back to 173 CE, where they are surrounded by the sights, sounds and virtual monuments of the Ancient Games. This multi-sensory tour is housed at the Athens Olympics Museum where audiences from all over the world can participate in this revolutionary experience.




The HoloLens experience installed at the Athens Olympic Museum.

Recognition




Process

We developed the HoloLens 2 app in Unity at the Glowbox studio in Portland, OR with the aid of a locally built model table that stood in for the table that would be installed in Athens, Greece. This allowed us to accurately design the holographic experience so as to minimize the time needed to install and update the experience on-site in Greece.



Screenshot of the Greek language version of the experience on a virtual table taken from the Unity editor.

We collaborated with a sound designer and Invisible Thread’s Portland-based VFX team to create the animated interactive experience. I worked with the producers from the VFX team and the principal agency driving the project to coordinate developers and designers, create and revise project schedules, write release notes, and extensively test the app.



HoloLens still from the exhibition in Athens, Greece.

In September 2021, I traveled to Greece with Glowbox’s lead HoloLens developer to install the experience at the Athens Olympic Museum. This was our time to integrate our software with the actual table model and the rest of the exhibition. While on-site I served as the point-of-contact between the developers working on the experience and the exibition producers, stress-tested and troubleshot the HoloLens app and mobile app for docents, and wrote technical documentation that has been used to train the exhibition’s docents.



Testing the HoloLens app on-site during installation at the Athens Olympic Museum.

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