THE SUBMERGED HERITAGE: A VIRTUAL JOURNEY IN OUR SEABED
Keywords: ROV, 3D models, virtual reality
Abstract. On 21 and 22 August 1972, a young diver near the coast of Riace Marina (South Italy) found two bronze statues representing one of the highest moments of the sculptural production and the most important archaeological discovery of the last century: the Riace Bronzes. The Geomatics Laboratory of the Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria sets a goal to relive and re-propose the experience of a real immersion and the exciting moment of the discovery: an immersive journey in the interest of interactivity in virtual reality. Immersive Virtual Reality tries to combine the real and the virtual world, even involving our senses. In other words, it allows us to enter into the scenery like the virtual reality one, but without being just simple spectators. We become protagonists and we can participate and decide what to do and how to do it. Unity 3D is the multi-platform development environment used. The scenarios and the objects included in the scene from three-dimensional models were realized through photogrammetric techniques (seabed and bronzes). Remote Operated Vehicles (ROVs) have been widely used in recent times by researchers to explore underwater environments, both in shallow and deep water, for different types of studies. The seabed was detected through the aid of an experimental ROV (realized in a broader project of agreement with the IPCF CNR Messina). The use of a grid of known dimensions assisted the ROV’s use in order to correct the effects of distortion effects obtained in water. The proposed app is still being perfected and completed.