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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

3D virtual space promotes Vietnamese betel nut culture

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – Backed by a European Union (EU) initiative, RMIT University researchers have brought the Vietnamese betel nut culture to global audiences through a three-dimensional (3D) virtual experience.

Ten artifacts of the betel nut practices from the Vietnamese Women’s Museum collection were turned into 3D objects in the RMIT-led project.

Launched in 2021, the initiative was completed by Dr. Emma Duester, Ondris Pui, and Michal Teague at RMIT University Vietnam. It is part of an event titled, “Built with Bits,” launched by Europeana, an EU flagship initiative to support digital transformation in the cultural heritage sector.

Ondris Pui, RMIT associate lecturer and the project’s technical leader, said the 3D objects were created with photogrammetry. 

“Around 100 to 200 photos of each artifact were taken from various angles with a mobile phone. The photos were then fed into a software to be processed into 3D models,” added Pui. 

The RMIT researchers then added them into virtual and augmented reality spaces for educational purposes. 

Michal Teague, RMIT associate lecturer and the project’s content curator, said that the team also included artifacts from other countries such as Sri Lanka, New Guinea and India “to offer a comparison between different betel nut cultures.”

With mobile phones, computers and virtual reality headsets, visitors to the 3D virtual space can rotate and zoom into individual artifacts. They can type text messages, scribble notes, add emojis and voice chat in the 3D space.

RMIT researchers are also partnering with the Vietnam National Fine Arts Museum and Vietnam National Museum of History to digitize artifacts into 3D models and provide innovative solutions to showcase them to the public. 

The virtual exhibition project was awarded the Europeana “Beyond Borders Project,” which is awarded to participants outside the EU for projects that use the Europeana open license content and have relevance and originality, according to Dr. Duester.

“To my knowledge, we are the first group from Vietnam to win the award,” she added.

Visitors can access the 3D Vietnamese Betel Nut Village at https://hubs.mozilla.com/scenes/3p9Eh2D

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