As it stands, the Roman Colosseum is one of the most impressive historical sites you can lay your eyes on. But imagine if you could see it in its full glory, as it was built nearly two thousand years ago.
Lithodomos VR wants to give you this kind of experience using headsets and, today, it’s getting the funding to do so. The Melbourne-based startup, formed in 2016, announced that it raised $900,000 AUD ($679500 USD) in a seed funding round, which it will use to expand beyond Australia and into Europe. It was founded by Simon Young and pre-seeded and incubated by Mktplce Ventures.
VR can help to educate people by letting them visit virtual museums and teleport across the world, but Lithodomos works with companies and archaeologists to accurately restore historic buildings inside VR. While it has its own apps, it’s also creating specific content for sites in Spain, museum intallations and more.
From today, you can see Lithodomos’ work in two mobile apps that are compatible with Google Cardboard. The first is a free experience that offers tours of landmarks like Arènes de Lutèce in Paris, the Temple of Venus and Rome in Rome, and the Odeon of Agrippa in Athens.
The second is a more focused, premium experience set in ancient Jerusalem. It digitally recreated the city as it looked 2,000 years ago, allowing you to explore the Western Wall some several vantage points. The apps offer information on their subject matter. Both require a VR headset to use, and we’ve reached out to the company about plans for launch on high-end devices.
The app was born from Young’s vision, inspired by studying the worlds of ancient Greece and Rome at the University of Adelaide. “These places were arguably the birth place of Western civilization and at their heart were their cities,” Young notes in an announcement blog from last year. “I remember studying the wonderful reconstructions in Browning’s “Palmyra” and trying to imagine what it would have been like to stand on those monumental streets, to experience the scale of the buildings and to see their wonderful proportions and sight lines with my own eyes. Thus began a quest to model them.”
This could be a key use of VR going forward, and essential to education programs like the Google Expeditions initiative that search engine giant is currently testing out at schools across the world.