Through virtual reality (VR), students from the Northwest University in Xi’an, capital of China’s Shaanxi Province, can “visit” archaeological sites while sitting in the classroom.
Supported by a foundation, the university set up a VR teaching lab where the excavation sites can be reconstructed and the students can observe the features of various ruins and grasp the basic procedures and methods of archaeological investigation and excavation.
VR technologies simulate a virtual environment that resembles reality. Wearing equipment such as helmets and glasses, users feel as if they are actually in the location that is being simulated.
According to Ma Jian, deputy head of the university’s School of Cultural Heritage, researchers can establish 3D models based on real data collected in ruins and tombs. With the help of VR equipment, students can have a better grasp of the knowledge in the books.
The VR technology has ben used in many courses including archaeology and cultural relics protection in the university.
China’s VR market expanded 164 percent year on year to reach 16 billion yuan (around 2.3 billion U.S. dollars) in 2017, data showed. The market is likely to exceed 90 billion yuan by 2020, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.