Visual and Innovation Design

Lorenzo Raffi creator of the Virtual Reality Bus

Lorenzo Raffi, RUFA lecturer in digital animation techniques and vfx, is one of the creators of the Virtual Reality Bus, the first of its kind in the world: an electric bus that travels through time through the streets of Rome.

With 16 seats on board and large magic windows that transform imperial ruins into jewels of antiquity, from the Imperial Forum to the Colosseum, from the Palatine to the Circus Maximus to the Theatre of Marcellus. Perfect, exactly as they were 2000 years ago, and still pulsating with life and scentsThis is the moving exhibition Roma Imperiale – Virtual Reality Bus, which from 23 June will offer the public an incredible journey through the monuments of the Capital reconstructed in 3D.

A 30-minute journey through time, realised by Invisible Cities, a start-up created by Arsenale 23 with the support of Linkem and formed by industry professionals: Giorgio Capaci (CEO , Art Director) Augusto Angeletti Latini (CTO, Software Engineer), Lorenzo Raffi (Lead Virtual Reality Development) Giorgio Lattavo (Lead 3D Artist) Simone Passacantilli (Lead VFX). The team collaborated with visual effects specialists, developers and archaeological curators to develop this red, fully electric, silent and small bus. Between sounds, music and an integrated fragrance emission system, specially developed by Integra Fragances, it guarantees 3D immersion with ‘Headset Free’ VR technology.

All the reconstructions of the architecture appear on the Oled screens superimposed on the windows, and from the motorised curtains one can admire the beauties of today and compare them with those of the past. In addition, thanks to the patented Movx (with 3 Gps, a three-axis accelerometer, a magnetometer, a velocimeter and a surface laser) it is possible to synchronise the speed and position of the bus in real physical space with those in virtual space, recording and reproducing every movement, curve, pothole or bump.

“This is a modern and unique initiative that we support to tell the millenary history of the Capital in a new guise capable of attracting further audiences,” said the Mayor of Rome, Roberto Gualtieri. “We are doing this under the banner of sustainability since the bus is a fully electric vehicle, respecting the environment and caring for the surrounding places”.

“Invisible Cities has revolutionised the world of virtual content use by creating a means that opens up new horizons for the valorisation of Italy’s archaeological, historical and artistic heritage,” said Invisible City president Ernesto Faraco. “Soon we look forward to other VR-Buses, not only in Rome, with new stages of a wonderful adventure whose ultimate goal is to change the way we live and learn about the history of our cities and bring future generations closer to our wonderful past. Being contemporary also means this: rediscovering our heritage based on millennia of history, taking the best from it, reinterpreting it and bringing it into the future”.

RUFA lecturer Lorenzo Raffi was one of the creators of the patent and head of the Virtual Reality department of the experience.



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