New Center for Cultural Heritage Technology opens in Venice

On November 19th, the Italian Institute of Technology, in collaboration with Ca’ Foscari University, inaugurated a new center of its network in Venice, with the purpose of developing innovative technologies and tools in the field of cultural heritage preservation.
The Centre for Cultural Heritage Technology at Vega Park (CCHT@Ca’Foscari) will become a new member of the IIT network, comprised of 10 centers in Italy and two Outstations – at MIT and Harvard.

New cutting-edge technologies will be developed to protect and ensure both the digital and the physical  preservation of cultural heritage in our country and all over the world, thanks to AI, machine learning and advanced  3D digitisation techniques.

Natural phenomena and human activities are endangering cultural heritage, which is arguably one of the main features of Italy. Venice, a symbol of this heritage that needs to be protected, will become a laboratory for the study and safeguard of architectural, artistic and archeological heritage, thanks to this new IIT network centre and to the competences lended by Ca’ Foscari. 

The centre will be operative from January 2019 and, once opened, it will employ more than 20 people, divided into administrative personnel, PhD students, postdoc researchers, and Principal Investigators (Senior researchers).

The scientific activity of CCHT@Ca’Foscari will follow the real needs of those who are actively involved in everyday preservation and restoration of cultural heritage. Competences gained from the IIT research teams working in the fields of materials science, computer vision, AI and machine learning, will be employed at many levels and with a multidisciplinary approach

The materials scientists involved in the activities, will analyze materials with the purpose of developing new protection systems that can shield artifacts or structures from different damaging  agents such as humidity, erosion or bacteria.

Through machine learning and virtual reality, cultural heritage can be digitized, thus becoming indestructable and everlasting. It can also be immortalized in its original context, so that it can be accurately studied, reproduced or restored in case it gets harmed due to natural or human-generated damage. To this end, innovative technologies will be tested - like sensors, devices and tools - increasingly cheaper, compact and accessibile from smartphones and tablets. 

CCHT’s  work will also focus on the promotion of Italian cultural heritage, amongst other things by employing AI, computer vision and advanced materials science to benefit culture dissemination.

“The key element of our new IIT center will be a multidisciplinary approach” stated Arianna Traviglia, Coordinator of CCHT@Ca’Foscari  “the people who will work here in Venice are going to combine their different backgrounds to obtain solid results that can satisfy real necessities of our cultural heritage”.

Francesca Favaro