Haptic Virtual Reality Simulation Training for Conservation
Dr. Angela Geary, PhD (RCA) FRSA
Programme Leader in Fine Art Conservation
Northumbria University, UK
February 20, 2009
About the Webcast:
View webcast (53:48 minutes - requires Real Player to view)
About the Lecture:
Haptic interaction devices provide computer users with the physical sensation of touch. Typically, these devices simulate the force-feedback aspect of haptic sensation by exerting a mechanical response to user actions. This response allows virtual objects to be manipulated and touched as if they occupied real space. Force-feedback, experienced in conjunction with visual 3D computer models, can provide a highly realistic simulation of materials and objects.
Haptic interface hardware and software tools were beginning to become more accessible around 2003, when Dr. Geary began researching applications of haptics in the visual arts. Around that time, diverse research and technological development in the realm of haptic simulation was already being undertaken – particularly in the field of medical and surgical training. Such research informed and inspired the initial exploration of haptics simulation as a training tool in conservation. In collaboration with paper conservator Mark Sandy (University of the Arts London), a prototype simulation was developed of the removal of aged backing materials from the reverse of works of art on paper – a common and exacting treatment, with a steep learning curve. This was used to explore and test the viability of virtual haptic training for conservation practice. The lecture reviewed this research and reflected on some of the challenges encountered.
Dr. Geary's current role as Programme Leader in Fine Art Conservation at Northumbria University has presented an opportunity to consider afresh the training needs of conservation students. Discussion of some of the real-world haptic learning challenges that easel paintings conservation students face in the context of their practical training and explanation of why, in a recent workshop, students learned how to damage expendable paintings – to ultimately save others.
About the Speaker:
Dr. Angela Geary PhD (RCA) FRSA is an artist, art conservator and researcher. Her research interests span art practice, art conservation, science and technological disciplines and typically involve interdisciplinary collaboration and innovative applied research projects. Angela is Reader in Art Conservation and is Programme Leader for the MA Fine Art Conservation program at Northumbria University in the UK. She was formerly Reader in Virtual Interpretation and SCIRIA Research Unit Director at University of the Arts London. Since the 1990s, Angela has pioneered the development of accessible 3D computer visualization techniques for the documentation and interpretation of cultural heritage collections. Her current research interests include computer aided manufacture techniques in fine art practice, structural simulation of museum artifacts and ultra high-resolution digitization for fine art and cultural heritage applications. Dr. Geary is art lead and project manager on the Digital Art Capture (DAC) project. The research team, funded by the UK Government’s Technology Strategy Board, are developing a new scanning technology for large scale artworks, with UCL and partners including Tate, Henry Moore Foundation, Glasgow School of Art and Angela Flowers Plc. She is a consultant to several UK museum and cultural heritage agencies including the Museum of London, the National Trust and Historic Royal Palaces. Additionally, she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts in 2005.