The Alife Bestiary: An AR Object Recognition Project on the Archivolt of Alife

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The archivolt of Alife being exhibited as a part of the Brummer Collect in the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University is an enigmatic artifact with many unknown elements. Specifically, the iconography, one of the aspects of the archivolt that has not been explored by many scholars, has several possible interpretations to each of the animals depicted. Despite the amount of information that can be presented as interesting knowledge, scholarly discourse and research involving an artifact is generally not presented to the public due to the complexity of the information. Therefore, by using augmented reality and object recognition technology, this thesis aims to present the multiple iconographic theories regarding the key animals on the archivolt of Alife in a dynamic manner, giving users insight on how to view the iconography by making scholarly information more accessible. The digital component of this thesis uses the newest object recognition algorithm provided by ARKit to build an interactive app that allows the viewers to see “info cards” directly overlaid on top of the iconography. Although the current state of AR technology still has limitations regarding buildability and malleability, the usable prototype of this application was successfully produced and is subject to future expansions and experiments.





Liu, Chang (2019). The Alife Bestiary: An AR Object Recognition Project on the Archivolt of Alife. Master's thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from


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