PalmitoAR: The Last Battle of the U.S. Civil War Reenacted Using Augmented Reality
Nguyen, Vinh T.
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Various efforts are used to preserve American history including relying on formal education, distributing information (text, video or visual aids) on social channels, displaying artifacts in historical centers or more recently, virtual reality applications posted on a shared medium. However, many of the newly developed applications are designed specifically for dedicated hardware rather than for a broad audience, thus creating a barrier for disseminating cultural values. In this paper, we propose a web-based Augmented Reality (AR) application, namely PalmitoAR, which provides an intuitive way of observing one of the most significant historical Civil War battlefields, Palmito Ranch Battlefield located in Cameron County, Texas. The proposed AR application is designed to resurrect a series of events through (i) a printed map of Palmito Ranch with embedded markers that enables viewers to experience the battle without being present at the site, (ii) a mobile device with a WebGL supported browser that allows 3D contents to be rendered, and (iii) an AR library (A-Frame.io) that enables enthusiasts to recreate similar work. Our methodology strongly relies on the benefits of a simple, robust algorithm for AR marker recognition to position 3D models in a specific context and time. As a result, the proposed AR application is complementary to existing work and provides a seamless experience for a wide range of viewers. We evaluated and improved the application with the help of twenty-six users to gather perspectives on the specific benefits of employing AR in learning about battlefields and reenactment. The technology acceptance model was adapted to access an individual’s acceptance of information technology.