Case Study: "Backup Ukraine" - Preserving Ukraine's Heritage Augmented Reality Experience

Jens, PM @Hololink

Introduction

In times of conflict and crisis, the preservation of cultural heritage becomes an urgent priority. The ongoing war in Ukraine has placed countless monuments and historical sites at risk of destruction. To address this critical issue, tech companies Hololink and Polycam, in collaboration with the agency Virtue, have developed "Backup Ukraine," an innovative augmented reality experience that allows users to see and interact with Ukrainian monuments in their own space. By harnessing the power of 3D scanning and augmented reality, the project aims to safeguard Ukraine's cultural heritage for future generations.

Background

The conflict in Ukraine, which began in 2014 and escalated with the Russian invasion in 2022, has taken a devastating toll on the nation's historical landmarks and monuments. With the constant threat of damage or destruction due to the ongoing war, the need to document and preserve these invaluable cultural assets has never been more pressing. In response to this crisis, the "Backup Ukraine" project was initiated, using groundbreaking technology to digitally capture and virtually safeguard Ukraine's monuments.

Project Description

  • 3D Scanning: The heart of "Backup Ukraine" lies in the 3D scanning of Ukrainian monuments. Polycam developed scanning technology, embedded in the Virtue app that runs on any smartphone.
  • A set of especially chosen 3D scanned monuments are available in an Augmented Reality Experience created by Hololink. 
  • Using the "Backup Ukraine" AR experience, users can select from a variety of preserved Ukrainian monuments and place them in their immediate surroundings. Whether it's in their garden, living room, or a local park, users can explore these monuments in full scale, walk around them, and examine them from every angle.

Benefits

  • Preservation: "Backup Ukraine" acts as a digital sanctuary for endangered Ukrainian monuments, offering a lifeline to these precious historical artifacts in times of uncertainty.
  • Accessibility: By bringing these monuments into users' personal spaces, the project makes Ukrainian culture and heritage accessible to a global audience, raising awareness about the ongoing crisis.

Impact

  • Cultural Preservation: "Backup Ukraine" has already digitally preserved hundreds of monuments and objects, ensuring their legacy is protected even if they face physical destruction.
  • Awareness: The project has garnered significant international attention, drawing awareness to the ongoing war in Ukraine and the importance of preserving cultural heritage. Visit the website here: https://poly.cam/ukraine
  • Global Engagement: Users from around the world have engaged with the experience, fostering a sense of solidarity with Ukraine and its people.
  • The experience has one numerous international awards, including the GRand Prix at Cannes and several Clio and Pencil awards for design and impact.

Conclusion

"Backup Ukraine"  stands as a testament to the power of technology to safeguard cultural heritage during times of crisis. By combining 3D scanning and augmented reality, this project not only preserves Ukrainian monuments but also educates and inspires users worldwide. As the conflict in Ukraine persists, "Backup Ukraine" serves as a beacon of hope, ensuring that the beauty and history of Ukraine's monuments endure for generations to come.