This Old Digital City: Virtual Historical Cedar Rapids circa 1900

Digital Artefacts, The University of Iowa, and The History Center, in Cedar Rapids, have created a 3D immersive interactive museum exhibit called "This Old Digital City: Virtual Historical Cedar Rapids circa 1900" (TODC). TODC uses state-of-the-art real-time interactive virtual environment technology to immerse visitors in a 3D reconstruction of turn-of-the-20th-century Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Museum patrons sit in and operate a "time machine" to tour a twenty-five square block region of the city modeled in high resolution 3D graphics. As visitors tour the city, they are able to access multimedia content associated with buildings and other historically significant sites. The TODC work represents a new use of high-end virtual environment technology as an interface to historical archives.

U.S. Representative Jim Leach (R-Iowa) saw a demonstration of the in-progress TODC project and said "This is one of the most exciting learning techniques in America." and "It's barely at its potential for use." (Cedar Rapids Gazette 6/3/00)

The images below, captured during real-time display of the partially completed TODC environment, show buildings that no longer exist in Cedar Rapids. Models were created using black-and-white photographs, historical material and color information, blueprints, and insurance maps.

Other information about the project:

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

The image below shows an early artistís rendition of the TODC virtual environment. The final design includes 3 6'x8' rear-projected screens and the "time machine" interface vehicle depicted in the bottom sketch.

Copyright © 2000 Digital Artefacts L.L.C.