SPOTLIGHT ON: CrossCult & EMOTIVE project collaboration meeting

The EMOTIVE ATHENA Research Center and CrossCult University of Peloponnese teams met on 28th of February and 1st of March 2018 for a two day technology demonstrations, exchange of ideas and definition of concrete collaboration points between the two projects. The meeting took place at the Department of Informatics and Telecommunications of the University of Peloponnese in Greece.

The EU funded “CrossCult: Empowering reuse of digital cultural heritage in context-aware crosscuts of European history” project ( aims to spur a change in the way European citizens appraise History, through fostering its re-interpretation in the light of cross-border interconnections among pieces of cultural heritage, other citizens’ viewpoints and physical venues. It seeks to increase retention, stimulate reflection and help citizens appreciate their common past and present in a more holistic manner.

The EMOTIVE perspective to cultural heritage can be considered as complementary to the CrossCult one, as it aims to investigate the ways that emotional engagement can foster this deeper reflection and meaning making.

The EMOTIVE team demonstrated the Çatalhöyük on-site experience and received useful feedback on the pre, on-site and post visit aspects. We also had the chance to test the CrossCult pilot mobile application in the wonderful Archaeological Museum of Tripoli and reflect on the different perspectives of the appearance and clothes in Ancient times and today.

It has been a creative two day meeting and a start for a hopefully fruitful collaboration between the two projects.


Getting ready to test the Çatalhöyük experience


Testing the Çatalhöyük experience
Outside the Archaeological Museum of Tripoli

CrossCult & Emotive Workshop

The European H2020 projects “EMOTIVE: Storytelling for Cultural heritage” (  and “CrossCult: Empowering reuse of digital cultural heritage in context-aware crosscuts of European history” ( would like to invite you to a EU projects workshop in order to explore possible collaborations between EU funded projects relevant to Cultural Heritage. In particular, we will explore possibilities for exchanging tools, technologies, know-how, methods and best practices, in order to significantly improve our efficiency and better manage resources.

Issues to be discussed fall under these three broad categories:

  • Humanities (e.g. content creation, experience evaluation and related methodologies & techniques, user engagement (pre/post/re -visit))
  • Technology (e.g. personalisation, onsite/offsite tools and technologies, authoring tools, new forms/enhanced digitization)
  • Dissemination / Exploitation (e.g. business plans/IPR suggestions, living labs, common strategies, publications, advertising our projects and attract more users -e.g. adver games)

If you wish to participate in this Workshop please complete the following sheet with the relevant information by April 16th, 2018.

The meeting will take place in Athens at the premises of the University of West Attica  ( on May 14th,  2018. The agenda will be sent to participants after the end of registrations.

For any inquiries please contact:

SPOTLIGHT ON… ISTI-CNR at Maker Faire Rome

Members of the EMOTIVE team rounded off 2017 with a very successful appearance at MAKER FAIRE ROME – The European Edition 5.0, in December.  

Our project was represented by the Visual Computing Lab of the ISTI – CNR, who showcased their contribution to EMOTIVE: flexible molds technology for fast and cheap reproduction of cultural heritage artifacts by means of casting.

Paolo Cignoni, CNR Research Coordinator, explains: “The technology enables the automatic design of molds that can be 3D-printed using flexible plastics. The molds are then used for casting accurate reproductions of small and medium size artifacts using cheap material like resin or even gypsum. One of the significant benefits of the technology is that the molds can be reused multiple times.”

CNR’s use of the classic casting approach allows it to overcome the limitations of current fabrication techniques, like FDM 3D printing, which requires hours to create a single reproduction. Instead, with CNR’s approach, a non-skilled user can prepare a cast reproduction on demand in less than an hour.

“The CNR stand was crowded throughout the event,” Paolo continues, “as we displayed fabricated copies and flexible molds, which attracted a large number of visitors asking for more information about the technology and the use of replicas in the context of enhanced museum visits.”

Maker Faire originated in 2006 in the San Francisco Bay Area as a project of the editors of Make: magazine and has since grown into a significant worldwide network of both flagship and independently-produced events. Today, it’s a forum for professionals to show what they‘re making and share what they’re learning.

December’s Maker Faire in Rome was attended by over 100,000 visitors, all keen to check out the latest tech inventions and innovations. We’re delighted to see such interest and enthusiasm for EMOTIVE’s work at the event!

Happy Holiday from EMOTIVE

We have had the most amazing year, filled with inspiration and many fascinating stories to share. The first year of EMOTIVE project was truly amazing, have a look here!

Thank you all for your support and kind words throughout the year. Have a Happy Holiday and a fantastic New Year!

the EMOTIVE Team

Project Newsletter, December 2017

This is the second EMOTIVE bi-annual newsletter to keep you updated on the happenings of the EMOTIVE project and ‘emotive storytelling’ in general. It includes insights into our work, updates on our progress and links to many exciting topics related to the project, storytelling and cultural heritage.

Click here to read the Emotive Newsletter December 2017. 

the EMOTIVE Team


Click here to read the Emotive Newsletter June 2017. 

Subscribe to EMOTIVE Newsletter here.

EMOTIVE one year later

On 26 November 2016, members from eight institutions and companies gathered at the offices of the Athena Research Institute to meet, greet and kick-off the exciting EMOTIVE project. Just over a year later and the team are hard at work, developing and testing, writing and publishing, connecting and collaborating. The EMOTIVE project is well and truly underway!

To mark the occasion we created this EMOTIVE infographic to share some of the highlights of the very successful first year of the project.

You can also view / download a PDF version (2.5MB) here.









Our work: INRIA’s experience of the Emotive project to date

Our team GRAPHDECO at Inria is very excited about working in the multidisciplinary EMOTIVE project, and having the opportunity to work with our cultural and technological partners who are one of the best in their areas respectively. We are also pleased to contribute to the development of authoring tools for creating compelling emotional experiences.

The work performed here in our group is about developing new algorithms and techniques that push forward the process of rendering 3D environments by using actual photographs of a given real-world scene. This method is called Image-Based Rendering (IBR) and its main advantages are that 3D designers are not required to design the scene and that the final rendering is photorealistic i.e., the scene does not look like as if it were made for an old video game.

3D designers are skilled technical people and designing virtual environments takes a large amount of effort and time. Our technique simplifies the process of authoring these virtual experiences and, at the same time, makes them look even more real.

One of the big challenges with IBR is that taking the correct photographs is not an easy task. To address it, GRAPHDECO are developing algorithms that allow lay users to create a 3D representation of a scene using regular cameras. Our algorithms process these images and allow them to be edited. For example, we can remove people from pictures so a scene can be rendered as if no one was there.

The EMOTIVE project has also brought up new, interesting challenges that we hadn’t previously considered. For instance, our working pipeline was not able to process more than a few hundred pictures before. However, when our partners took over a thousand photographs for the reconstruction of Çatalhöyük, we had to develop new techniques to handle that volume of images. This has made our technology more robust and ready to use in a wider variety of datasets.

EMOTIVE is a very enriching experience, giving us the opportunity to showcase our technology out of academia, allowing us to be exposed to industry, expand our partners and plan for future tech transfers.

We are looking forward to see the first prototype of the offline experience for Çatalhöyük in the alpha release that will be by January of 2018.


EMOTIVE collaborators with the other members of the GRAPHDECO group during their recent retreat
Screenshot of the Unity plugin that the GRAPHDECO is developing


Blog post written by George Drettakis and Sebastian Vizcay from Inria EMOTIVE team. Find out more about the Inria team here.

EMOTIVE Meeting in Dublin

On 26 November 2016, the members from all eight partner institutions and companies gathered at the offices of the Athena Research Institute to meet, greet and plan the work ahead. A year later, this time in Ireland, the team met again to follow up on project work to date and plan for the review of its first year in action. The 2017 gathering took place on 2-3 November in Dublin, where one of our partners, Noho, is based. The meeting took place in the Science Gallery in the city’s famous university, Trinity College.  


Our first day began with a warm welcome from Noho, after which it was straight down to business. EXUS began with a review of project progress, summarising the achievements in year one and discussing overall workflow to date. We then moved on to WP2 and topics such as dissemination, communication and exploitation. This included a follow-up on the EMOTIVE Communications activities outlined in one of the public deliverables from earlier this year: D2.2 Communication material cycle #1.



After a break we began discussions on the preparatory work for the project’s annual review in early 2018. The last topic of the day was an update on the Çatalhöyük chatbot, ChatҪat, from the University of York. An online chatbot experience for Çatalhöyük, the chatbot was first trialled in June/July this year using Facebook Messenger. It is now being elaborated and further evaluated, and our preliminary results will be presented at the Computing Applications in Archaeology conference in March in Tübingen, Germany. In the meantime, you can find out about more about the EMOTIVE application of this type of experience in our public deliverable D5.1 Conceptual Framework & Guide.

The Facebook Page of the Çatalhöyük chatbot

In the evening of the first day, team members visited the Noho office for a drink before dinner. Some recent projects were set up for VR fun and play. As you can see from the pictures below, there was an abundance of screens, headsets & laughter!



Day 2 was largely dedicated to discussion of pilot experience prototypes with a focus on the onsite experience at the Hunterian and three different types of experiences at Çatalhöyük: onsite, co-located and virtual. There will be a new deliverable published on this topic in the next month or two – keep an eye on social media or our Publications & Deliverables to find out more!



Despite our busy agenda, several members of the EMOTIVE team managed to attend and present papers at the VSMM Conference 2017 during their visit.

The International Society for Virtual Systems and Multimedia is a unique cross-disciplinary organization for the exchange of cutting edge research in new media and virtual and augmented reality applied to everything from art to architecture, medicine to engineering, and archaeology to cultural heritage.

Below you will find the details of the three papers. Keep an eye on our Publications & Deliverables page, where we will add the papers once they are published.

Diakoumakos, I. P., Katifori, A., Kourtis, V., Karvounis, M., & Ioannidis, Y. (2017). Demonstrating the use of the alphabetic telegraph through a collaborative AR activity. In Proceedings of 23rd Int’l Conference on Virtual Systems and Multimedia -VSMM 2017 (forthcoming). Dublin, Ireland: IEEE.

Lambrakopoulos, G., Begetis, N., Katifori, A., Karvounis, M., & Ioannidis, Y. (2017). Experimental evaluation of the impact of virtual reality on the sentiment of fear. In Proceedings of 23rd Int’l Conference on Virtual Systems and Multimedia -VSMM 2017 (forthcoming). Dublin, Ireland: IEEE.

Perry, S., Roussou, M., Economou, M., Young, H., & Pujol, L. (2017). Moving Beyond the Virtual Museum: Engaging Visitors Emotionally. In Proceedings of 23rd Int’l Conference on Virtual Systems and Multimedia -VSMM 2017 (forthcoming). Dublin, Ireland: IEEE.




Showcasing EMOTIVE storytelling about Romans at the Antonine Wall at European Researchers’ Night – Explorathon 2017

European Researchers’ Night, or Explorathon as it is known across Scotland, has become an established event in researchers’ public engagement calendar going from strength to strength across Europe since 2005 when it started, and since 2014 in Scotland. It is funded by the European Commission under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions programme and it is an opportunity for researchers to showcase their work the last Friday in September in a public engagement extravaganza.

The EMOTIVE team spans France, Greece, Ireland, Italy and the UK which gave us the opportunity this year to take part in European Researchers’ Night more than once in the same day across Europe. The Glasgow University team jumped at the chance to set up a stall in the Hunterian Museum, one of the Explorathon venues, in order to let museum visitors be the first to try out the prototype of our EMOTIVE digital story about Ebutius, a Roman centurion who left his mark on the Antonine Wall. Visitors were able to hear Ebutius tell tales of his time in the Roman army stationed in Caledonia while looking for evidence from objects on display that have inspired our research.

Meanwhile, in Athens, our ATHENA research team took the opportunity to show Ebutius’ story to Greek visitors to their stall, in a remote demonstration of the same story at the local European Researchers’ Night.

In Glasgow, apart from a range of adult visitors visiting our stall and the exhibition and giving us valuable feedback, the Explorathon team and Ruth Fletcher, the Hunterian Student Engagement officer helped us also arrange a visit from a primary school class from Castlemilk in East Glasgow. A group of 27 keen and enthusiastic 11-year-olds accompanied by their two teachers helped test Ebutius’s story using the app in the exhibition. Not only that, but they also participated in the story-design process assisting us in the development of a new story about Verecunda, a local slave girl who also lived during that period and whose gravestone is on display.

The Glasgow EMOTIVE team was assisted on the day by Sara Perry from the York team, who travelled north to give us valuable insight about the whole process, and 12 student volunteers from Glasgow University’s Museum Studies MSc, who were at least as enthusiastic and keen as the schoolchildren and did an excellent job facilitating the story-design process and evaluating the use of the app.

The Hogwarts-like entrance to the Hunterian Museum and some of the amazing objects on display from the collection of William Hunter, the museum’s founder, were not missed by the pupils who appeared initially awe-struck by the whole experience.

Once settled in the main hall of the museum, we split the class in two groups and asked the first to try out Ebutius’s story on the android handsets we had set up, and invited the other half to engage in some creative writing and drawing to test some of our research on writing stories about historical characters, in this case, Verecunda. The groups then swapped over so that everyone could try both experiences.

Judging by the relative silence and engaged concentration from the Ebutius group in the Antonine Wall display and the audible debate and creative buzz from the Verecunda end of the museum, the engagement with both activities from the school group was a great hit! One pupil commented that “I felt like I was there. It was quite strange because it felt like he [Ebutius] was talking to you in real life”, reassuring us that we are on the right track with our EMOTIVE research, testing the potential of digital storytelling for bringing history to life and encouraging an empathetic engagement with heritage and the past.

We followed our morning session with an afternoon introducing general museum visitors to “Ebutius’s Dilemma”. We gave this title to the story we designed together with Breffni O’Malley, from our NOHO partners in Dublin, as we set the scene a few days before the Romans abandon the Antonine Wall to retreat further south, so Ebutius needs to decide if he will follow the army and leave the family he has created with a local Caledonian girl, or if he should become a deserter and stay with his family. This resonated with most of our visitors and encouraged strong emotional responses. A lot of them were keen not only to take part and try the story but also to talk to us about why we had developed it and what they enjoyed about it. They were also eager to share with us what choice they had made for Ebutius’s dilemma. A lot of them filled in the feedback postcard we had designed expressing how the story made them feel. Some mentioned that the story made them consider the objects on display differently and pay closer attention to objects that they would have otherwise overlooked. One visitor wrote “I thought this was really good! It broke the glass wall that separates the viewer from the object in a museum. Really interesting!”

The experience helped us identify some glitches with the audio and the navigation of the app, but much fewer than we expected from an early prototype.

Nearly 40 visitors tried out our EMOTIVE digital story in the Antonine Wall display at the Hunterian Museum on that day, providing us with valuable insights from actual visitors about what they enjoyed, didn’t like and early formative evaluation that we can feed back into our next steps in the design and evaluation process.

All in all, a very successful event that helped us engage with a variety of our end users and target audience and gave use a lot of ideas for our future work.

Blog post written by Maria Economou and Hilary Young from the University of Glasgow EMOTIVE team.

SPOTLIGHT ON… Research Group GRAPHDECO & the INRIA’s paper at the SIGGRAPH 2017

GRAPHDECO ( is a research group at Inria Sophia-Antipolis (, focusing on research in the domain of computer graphics.

We develop novel solutions for image-based rendering techniques, in particular developing solutions that will allow highly realistic virtual experiences of existing sites, such as Çatalhöyük.

Another research focus of the group is on head-mounted display (HMD) technologies, and in particular perceptual studies to determine which display solutions reduce fatigue for virtual reality.

In particular, we focus on one known source of discomfort: the vergence-accommodation (VA) conflict. The VA conflict is the difference between accommodation (focus at the screen) and vergence (eyes turning towards a target at a given depth).

We have recently published a research paper on this topic and a video which was presented at the prestigious ACM SIGGRAPH conference this summer, and will appear in the top journal of our field ACM Transactions on Graphics.

We developed a new device that allows us to measure accommodation (the actual focus of the human eye) when viewing an HMD screen, and performed experiments on different viewing conditions, including a design with focus-adjustable lenses.

Our results show that only the focus-adjustable-lens design drives accommodation effectively, while other solutions used by previous systems (e.g., depth-of-field blur) do not drive accommodation to the simulated distance and thus do not resolve the VA conflict.  Our results also show that focus-adjustable lenses reduce discomfort significantly more than other solutions.

This research result is important in guiding choices of display technologies in virtual and augmented reality settings, such as those in EMOTIVE.

Accommodation and Comfort in Head-Mounted Displays (SIGGRAPH 2017)