An unusual partnership between Microsoft and Greece’s Ministry of Culture and Sport is offering visitors the answer, launching an immersive tour Wednesday at one of the world’s major archaeological sites.
The program at ancient Olympia harnesses augmented reality technology that designers say has the potential to transform education, business and entertainment. Critics warn it will extend the invasive power of U.S. tech giants.
The culture ministry helped Microsoft map and build virtual representations at Olympia, a site used for nearly a thousand years to host the games in ancient Greece that served as the inspiration for the modern Olympics.
“It’s a milestone ... that helped us bring technology and culture and history together so we can preserve it,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a video message at the launch event.
Users can tour the site remotely or in-person with an online presentation and an augmented like mobile app at Olympia, seeing a virtual recreation of temples and competition areas as they walk through the ruins. At the Olympic Museum in Athens, they can use Microsoft’s mixed-reality HoloLens headsets that overlay visual information on top of what the viewer sees.
Tilt up and a towering statue of Zeus plated in ivory and gold comes into view; turn left and peer into the workshop used by the famed sculptor Phidias at the ancient sanctuary more than 2,400 years ago.
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