Demo Space

The Demo Space is located in the open space close to the Schiciano Auditorium

Schedule of the Techno-Demos: Monday – Tuesday, noon – 2 pm



Dig@Lab (Maurizio Forte, Nevio Danelon, Nicola Lercari)


The name Dig@Lab recalls the main goal of this research lab, which is “digging for information”, looking for new interpretations at the intersection of archaeology, cybernetics, heritage, computer science, neuroscience, cognitive science, art and history.

More specifically, we are interested in investigating how the information is shaped, elaborated, stored and then culturally transmitted by different societies, with a focus on ancient civilizations. We like to say that the past cannot be “reconstructed” but  “simulated”, then performed by digital simulations.

The demos will involve the use of desktop virtual reality systems such as Oculus Rift and Z-Space.



Regium@Lepidi 2200

Vulci 3000

3D Digging at Çatalhöyük



Duke immersive Virtual Environment (Regis Kopper)

The DiVE came on-line in 2005 representing the fourth 6-sided CAVE-like system in the United States. The DiVE is a 3m x 3m x 3m stereoscopic rear projected room with head and hand tracking and real time computer graphics. All six surfaces – the four walls, the ceiling and the floor – are used as screens onto which computer graphics are displayed.

The DiVE offers a fully immersive experience to the user, who literally walks into the virtual world. The user – typically a researcher, educator or student – is surrounded by the display and can interact with virtual objects. Stereo glasses provide depth perception, and a handheld “wand” controls navigation and virtual object manipulation.

The DiVE is currently undergoing renovation, through the NSF Major Research Instrumentation program. Aiming at keeping on the forefront of technology, the revamp of the DiVE will bring 12 high definition projectors, with a combined resolution of over 22 million pixels (it used to be 6 million pixels). The higher resolution, combined with a brand new motion tracking system and upgraded render nodes, will allow unprecedented content to be displayed in the DiVE, such as complex data visualization and abstract information. The new DiVE system is expected to come online in the early Spring 2015. 

Besides the DiVE, Duke offers other virtual reality infrastructure, including two Oculus Rift head-mounted displays, a zSpace immersive workbench, motion trackers, data and pinch gloves.

The director of the DiVE is Dr. Regis Kopper. For more information and inquiries, please visit




The oldest artifacts on Earth fall from the skies.  Over 10,000,000 meteorites weighing 100

grams each hit our planet every year.  Most fall in the oceans but one third fall on land.  Fossils of the first condensed solid matter in the solar system, their recovery is a much more economical way to sample extraterrestrial materials than expensive sample return missions to space.  To aid in the recovery of meteorites on the ground, night sky cameras are used to track meteoric fireballs during their luminous descent, and when their light is extinguished Doppler radar is now used to monitor their dark flight as swarms of meteoritic debris settling down on Earth.  Radar, originally designed to measure precipitation, now monitors the rain of rocks from space.


Wired! Visualizing the Past (Kristin Lanzoni)

Wired! is a group of faculty, staff, post-docs, graduate and undergraduate students who apply cultural and historical visualization technologies and methods to the study of material culture, art, architectural, and urban history. Through a collaborative, laboratory approach, we ask new questions and expand upon emerging lines of inquiry about material culture in man-made environments. Our practices in digital art history and humanities scholarship transform both teaching and research, as well as providing new methods for communicating knowledge to a broad public.


Visualizing Venice

Visualizing Venice is an interdisciplinary, multi-year, cross-cultural collaboration that supports mapping, 3-D modeling, and representations of change over time in Venice ( Kristin Lanzoni will show several projects that demonstrate how a new approach to traditional art historical material prompts researchers and students to think about the field in innovative ways. The first of two videos animates a digital reconstruction of an insula in Venice that includes the significant mendicant church of Ss. Giovanni e Paolo and the Scuola Grande di San Marco. It translates archival study and onsite research into 3D models. These are superimposed on seven different historical map layers in order to show urban transformation over time. A second video features the Accademia zone, an area that also included a mendicant church and an adjacent lay confraternity, which were converted into the present day Accademia museum following the Napoleonic occupation. In addition to these collaborative, inter-institutional research projects, Visualizing Venice participants are committed to preparing students for the scholarly use of digital tools. Venice Virtual World, an initiative that involves Nicola Lercari from Duke’s Dig Lab, demonstrates one such project. Its purpose is for students to recreate the life of early eighteenth-century Venice and construct an interactive, educational virtual world. This project uses Open Simulator to recreate an area in the district of Cannaregio, and it engages students in questions about historical understandings of this zone of the city, its physicality and spatial relationships, and how the city would be navigated both on foot and on water.