The Humanities & XR: A Semester of Research

book with features that have come to life.

Karp Library Fellow, Ayiana Crabtree ’22 joined the Studio X team in February 2021 as our inaugural XR Research Fellow. For her first research project, we asked Ayiana to focus on XR and the humanities. Immersive technologies share a natural connection with STEM fields, and the planned Studio X space will also be located on the first floor of Carlson Science & Engineering Library. However, Studio X supports all faculty and students on campus and fosters an interdisciplinary community of practice. Immersive technologies require a diverse range of expertise and perspectives, and the humanities and humanistic social sciences bring a much-needed critical eye to this emerging field.

Further, humanists have already been leveraging these tools and methods in their research. For example, at the UR, Elizabeth Colantoni, Associate Professor of Classics, uses virtual reconstructions to visualize Roman topography. Mike Jarvis, Associate Professor of History, also uses immersive technologies for archaeology research to not only understand the past but to virtually archive historical sites for the future.

In order to broaden Studio X’s reach to other humanities and humanistic social science faculty and students, Ayiana conducted research to find ways these disciplines can benefit from and engage with immersive technologies. This ranged from a blog post describing use cases, a focus group with RCL Learning Initiatives Librarians, and a student survey. View these findings and more in her semester-recap presentation below!

Presentation Slides

Studio X User Needs Findings 2020

Mostly blank Scrabble tiles with a few that spell out Assess.

Over the course the spring and fall semesters of 2020, Studio X staff conducted interviews, surveys, and focus groups to understand the needs of UR faculty and student stakeholders across disciplines. The findings of which were used to inform Studio X’s fall pilot programming as well as future services for the planned space slated to open in fall of 2021.

View the detailed findings:

Faculty Interviews

Student Survey

AR/VR Graduate Students

Check Out the Studio X App!

Examples of the various screens for the Studio X app.
screenshots of the Studio X user interface.  Shows the home screen, the select an experience (AR or VR) screen, an instruction screen, and a screen that demos an augmented reality experience of a fox dancing in the Eastman Quad.
Studio X Screenshots

In preparation for the launch of Studio X, try out our new app where you can fly around the Eastman Quad in a virtual reality (VR) experience, select the augmented reality (AR) experience of engaging with a digital model of a groundboi or quadfox, and learn about University history through curated content from University Archives, RBSCP. Now featuring dynamically updated content!

Available on the Google Play Store and the App Store.

VR / 360 Features

  • Google Cardboard-enabled streaming 360 video of curated VR experiences developed at UR (requires WiFi or data connection).

AR Features

  • Interact with different UR-inspired 3D models.
  • Capture images or video and share it via #URXR.

Subscribe to push notifications for news on updated models and 360 / VR experiences!

Hunt-Lenox Globe in 3D

zoomed in etching of a ship with a person at the front

This post was originally published on the Digital Scholarship Lab’s website.

Hunt-Lenox Globe
A photo of the Hunt-Lenox globe.

The Digital Scholarship Lab collaborated with the Lazarus Project to produce a 3D model of the New York Public Library’s Hunt-Lenox Globe, which dates from ca. 1510. Considering the size of the globe–it is only 5 inches in diameter–the 3D model not only facilitates access to the historic object but it also allows viewers to explore details of the globe otherwise hidden by its size and the bronze armillary sphere that contains it.

The Lazarus Project has recently imaged the Globus Jagellonicus from the Jagiellonian University Museum in Krakow, of which the DSL has also produced a 3D model, and is planning to image the Erdapfel from the Germanic Museum in Nuremberg. Ultimately this will result in 3D representations of all three of the world’s oldest known terrestrial globes.

Expanding capacity for 3D representations of cultural heritage objects

As a means of providing access to these artifacts, the DSL is expanding upon the 3D viewer originally built for the Ward Project to add features such as VR capability and annotations. The goal is to produce a presentation platform designed for 3D representations of cultural heritage objects that allows for virtual “guided exhibits” of the objects as well as independent exploration. The expanding toolset is designed to provide domain experts with the ability to uncover surface information about an object and disseminate their findings to a wider audience.

A rendering of the Hunt-Lenox globe in the DSL's 3D viewer.
A rendering of the Hunt-Lenox globe in the DSL’s 3D viewer.

Features of the 3D Viewer

Selections of the Hunt-Lenox Globe in the DSL’s 3D Viewer

Detailed view of the globe highlighting text that reads, "Here are dragons."
“hic sunt dracones” (here are dragons)

Dynamic lighting tools to highlight areas on the object

Tools of 3D reviewer that highlights an etched fish

Analyzing tools help viewers explore textures. Can you find the shipwreck?

Lighting options on the 3D viewer reveal details not readily apparent on the original.

Applying the 3D viewer's lighting tools to highlight details on the globe