Explorer’s Walk: Designing an AR/VR Hybrid System for Visualizing Ancient Culture

Explorer’s Walk: Designing an AR/VR Hybrid System for Visualizing Ancient Culture



Explorer’s Walk is an Augmented and Virtual Reality hybrid project that allows visitors to view into a past civilization of the Ft. Ancient peoples in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. This project explores and shares the design, methods, choices, and construction of both the Explorer’s Walk VR and Explorer’s Walk AR applications.

Project Team

Graduate Researcher – MFA Thesis Project
Joseph Chambers

Faculty Advisors
Maria Palazzi, Professor of Design, Department of Design, ACCAD Director
Robert Cook, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Department of Anthropology
Scott Swearingen, Assistant Professor of Design, Department of Design, ACCAD
Vita Berezina-Blackburn, ACCAD

Student Collaborators
Jiaxing Gao, MFA Candidate, Department of Design

Project Description

Visitor uses augmented reality which highlights where artifact was discovered and unearthed.

Explorer’s Walk uses both Augmented and Virtual Reality to create an interactive and immersive journey that connects a visitor to the past. Immersive technology can provide a way of seeing into the past and interacting with a digital work in a way a visitor cannot in person. The design decisions shared in this project are based around the challenges of creating educational context within the Guard dig site, a location of Ft. Ancient peoples who lived in a village near the Little Miami River. Both archaeological researchers and general public visitors access this active archaeological dig site to learn more about Ft. Ancient culture and to visit the Archaeological Research Institute museum which is home to many Ft. Ancient artifacts. 

Visitor using VR headset to glimpse at site as it appeared 1000 years ago.

The research highlights the challenges facing immersive designers today as they strive to create a more vibrant and dynamic experience for the public. Ultimately, the main issues consist of finding a way for visitors to get more involved as a participant.


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