Technological progress is a double-edged sword of the 21st century. Some people turn it into a boon, creating marvelous innovations that positively revolutionize the way humanity exists. On the other hand, some people take advantage of it to devise and implement cunning and fiendish plans. A good example is a cultural and natural heritage, preservation of which is closely dependent on modern technologies.
Strangely enough, people have found a precarious balance between the destruction and preservation of culture. Vandalism and theft have always been common issues when it comes to objects of historical and cultural value. Continuous wars and a strong desire for money are the causes, but there is more to that than meets the eye. World heritage sites face threats on a regular basis, and nature is to blame.
Earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, and hurricanes lead to severe and sometimes irreparable damage. Luckily, people have found a way to preserve the past with technology often used by archeologists and professional art and antique restorers. Let’s look at how cutting-edge inventions help save, protect, and revitalize our heritage.
10 ways cutting-edge technologies help preserve the past
- 3D modeling
A 3D printer is a magical box that can work miracles out of nothing. With the appearance of professional 3D modeling software programs, scientists started to recreate artifacts and relics with the help of printers. Nowadays, this technology is a must for the majority of modern recreation projects, as it can be used for both construction and design.
- 3D scanning
3D modeling usually includes a scanning process that is meant to obtain high-resolution images of objects. Three-dimensional measurement is performed without doing any harm to the surface. 3D scanning is especially helpful during the restoration of seriously damaged pieces when you need to solve a puzzle by joining separate parts together using computer software.
- Remote assessment
Ordinary people use satellite images in the form of maps. Scientists, however, make more use of imagery. Using footage, they document and track changes happening in certain areas. In the end, they get lots of essential data needed for future analysis and comparison, which is especially helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Language preservation
These days, many indigenous languages are dying. Due to globalization and the extinction of local cultures, many minor communities lose their languages and thus cultural identity. To help speakers contact each other, Kevin Scannell founded Indigenous Tweets, a website destined to record minority language messages on Twitter. The site now encompasses more than 250 languages in total.
- Audio-visual digitalization and preservation
Videos and photos are the basic tools to preserve the past in digital form. You can find plenty of photo and video materials dedicated to places, buildings, monuments, and fine sculptures that no longer exist. Furthermore, the Internet is full of digital archives that are basically virtual libraries of websites and their content.
- Aerial prospection & photogrammetry
The term ‘aerial prospection’ speaks for itself. To put it simply, it is the archeological observation of excavation areas and different architectural complexes from a high viewpoint. Usually, archeologists use drones with built-in cameras. Photogrammetry is pretty much the same thing, though the pictures are made by a photographer. Then, you can look at photos in great detail.
- Data visualization
Data visualization means creating a digital model of an object. This is another form of preservation, requiring some competence in graphic design. You can make a copy of any building and save it as a file. In some sense, video games contribute to the preservation of the past, as developers often create models of iconic buildings.
- Optical microscopy
Archeologists encounter a variety of materials that cannot be observed with the unaided eye. To collect data about the microstructure of the material, they use innovative microscopes, such as a stereoscopic microscope and a 3D digital video microscope.
- X-ray generator (portable)
You probably know what an X-ray machine is. Now imagine that it is portable so that you can use it everywhere you want. It is worth mentioning that it is completely safe when used in accordance with the instruction. A portable X-ray generator allows looking under the surface of ceilings and walls. The recording may show invisible defects or joints that you would not normally see without special equipment.
- Transparent panels
Tourism is a major source of income for every country, but people sometimes neglect the safety rules when they visit tourist destinations. To prevent vandalism, scientists started using transparent panels made of steel and reinforced glass. That is how you can feed two birds with one scone.
The past cannot be changed, but it can be preserved
There is a saying, “The past is in your head. The future is in your hands.” It seems like the past is not only in your head but also in your hands. Present-day technologies allow people to protect and conserve remnants of the bygone days. In other words, humanity is now directly responsible for its past, present, and future alike.