What if you could experience a concert while "driving" a car?

Rapidly developing 3D technology is revolutionising culture in ways that we are not yet even able to imagine.

Self-driving cars will become part of normal daily life by the end of the next decade at the latest. Once the news has been read and Facebook checked, what will the driver-turned-passenger do with all that extra free time, while making their way to the summer cottage for example? 

‘One thing you could do is enjoy a rock concert as a 3D experience using either holographic projection or 3D glasses, and you could decide for yourself which tracks you would like your favourite band to be playing there on their world tour’, suggests Professor Hannu Hyyppä. His research group is participating in the 3D Culture Hub project, which has the goal of building a 3D virtual technology test platform for the cultural sector. 

The precise 3D models are created by combining laser scanning and photogrammetry. In the laser scanning process, the rays bouncing off the target form a point cloud, and the camera joins to every point a picture taken from the same location. The method has been used to create models of the iconic world championship skiing tracks in Lahti. The interior model of Lapinlahti Hospital was used during Helsinki Festival in a lighting and sound installation in which the participants were able to hear the patients’ stories in their actual environment either on location or remotely. Methods were sought together with Jyväskylä City Theatre for getting new groups of people excited about theatre. 

‘The main consumers of theatre are people of the older generation – there are hardly any aged under 20. We gathered together our own backstage group of young people to come up with ideas for interesting things that could be done in the theatre’, says Researcher Matti Kurkela. 

‘Now visitors are able to explore the theatre as a virtual world and see, for example, what is happening in the wings. We are also gamifying the experience through using different stories’, says Cultural Producer Marika Ahlavuo. 

One of the benefits of virtual cultural experiences is that they are independent of time and place – instead of driving 500km to see an interesting exhibition, you can enjoy it from your own sofa. The group believes strongly that this will also mean an overall increase in cultural consumption. 

‘When the exhibits and exhibitions of Amsterdam’s Rikjsmuseum were digitalised, the number of visitors clearly increased. The opportunity to explore the collection beforehand attracted new visitors to come to the museum as well’, Hyyppä points out. 

The project involves dozens of partners from many different sectors. Aalto’s own research group also features a diverse range of expertise, from land surveyors to virtual technology wizards and from civil engineers to cultural experts. 

‘Multidisciplinarity is the name of the game. And of course we also have exceptionally interesting research topics’, Ahlavuo says with a smile

About 3D Culture Hub

  • Participating from Aalto are Professors Hannu Hyyppä and Matti Vaaja, Researchers Matti Kurkela and Juho-Pekka Virtanen, Cultural Producer Marika Ahlavuo and many others. The research group led by Hyyppä is also involved in the Academy of Finland’s Centre of Excellence in Laser Scanning. 
  • The project’s strategic partners are the Finnish Geospatial Research Institute, Yle, Humak and the National Museum of Finland. Other partners include Helsinki Exhibition and Convention Centre, Sick Oy, Nets, Geotrim and Metsähallitus, plus 20 other businesses and 10 universities.