A promotional video prepared by our consortium to showcase our project during the forthcoming JHEP2 Final Conference, to be held on the 11th of December in Rome, Italy.
SCHEDAR, short for Safeguarding the Cultural Heritage of Dance through Augmented Reality, is a research project funded by our national funding agencies, through the JPI CH. This project consists of five partners from three different countries, the University of Cyprus as coordinator, Algolysis Ltd, the University of Warwick, the University Rennes 2, and the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne.
Our project deals with the digitization, analysis, and dissemination of our dance heritage though augmented reality, and has three core objectives. The first is to make dance 3D digitization accessible to everyone, by providing low-cost efficient solutions for motion and mesh capturing. The second objective is to enable semantic and contextual analysis for motion indexing, and retrieval from large datasets, without the need of manual labelling and annotation of dance data. Finally, the last objective is to devise a highly immersive Augmented Reality platform for interactive dance teaching based on motion data reusability, holistic motion analysis, and advanced 3D character visualization.
We believe that working with accredited groups though international collaborations helps in the establishment of critical knowledge, and enhances the expertise of our consortium. International collaboration has enabled our researchers to access additional expertise and infrastructure, for example specific specialists in computer vision, sports science, or virtual museums, gain new perspectives on research from different disciplines, and build relationships with others in the field. This is critical for projects such as ours that deals with intangible cultural heritage, where by definition knowledge, and tradition has been transmitted between countries through the process of re-creation.
At the moment we are in the middle of the project, and so far we have achieved the goals and milestones we set at the beginning. We have developed methodologies for low-cost optical motion capture, and techniques for reliable pose reconstruction of complex and dynamic motions, such as in dancing. In addition, we devised a novel method for contextual motion analysis that organizes dance data semantically. Such a method puts the foundations for the establishment of the first digital dance ethnography. Our method is capable of exploiting the correlation between dances, and retrieving similar motions that are time-scale and temporal order invariant, a key feature when working with dances. In this way, we have portrayed the chronological and geographical evolution of dance, and unveil cultural similarities between neighboring countries.
One of the main novelty and impacts of our project is the use of emerging technology, to digitize, analyze, and holistically document our intangible heritage creations, that is a critical necessity for the preservation and the continuity of our identity as Europeans. Safeguarding our dance heritage in digital forms also helps in the dissemination to the youngest generation. The straightforward nature of the systems developed will facilitate, even the non-expert general public, to be able to engage intuitively with the dances, ensuring that the outcomes of this project will be widely accessible. Our project will enable the design of digital dance libraries, and the development of learning applications through gamification, such as virtual dance museums.
So, all together, let’s keep dance alive!