A software programming consultancy will be in charge of creating a virtual tour of the caves of Maltravieso, in Cáceres, and Escoural, in the Portuguese municipality of Montemor-o-Novo, through a 3D virtual reality recreation that will allow access to these rock art sites through an immersive and interactive virtual reality.

The Department of Culture, Tourism and Sports of the Regional Government of Extremadura, through the Directorate General of Libraries, Archives and Cultural Heritage, has allocated 95,041.32 euros to this initiative which is part of the First-Art Project, which aims to establish a framework for cross-border cooperation regarding these two caves, which are the only caves with Palaeolithic cave art in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula.

The experts who will carry out the work will apply the latest immersive reality technology through a tour that will be a combination of the real image and the 3D model. For this purpose, integral 3D scans will be used with SLAM technology and, on this support, characters will be included that will recreate the activities that prehistoric people carried out in both caves.

In this way, the public will take a free tour of both caves in such a way that they will receive all the information generated from the scientific research carried out in them, interacting with the characters that will guide them on the visit. The virtual tour will allow a greater number of people to get to know these two rock art sites without this entailing a risk to their conservation.

In the case of Maltravieso, the narrator will be Carlos Callejo Serrano, curator of the Provincial Museum of Cáceres, who in 1955 began the systematic exploration of the cave.

For the Escoural cave, the narrator will be Francisco Porteiro, a rural worker who collaborated in the first excavations of the Escoural cave and who worked as a guide for 30 years.

The aim of this work is to create a unique tourist product that links the virtual tours of both caves by means of software that will develop the recreation in virtual reality and that will later be installed in the 3D viewing posts.

The project, which will be completed by the end of 2022, will feature a system that will allow virtual teleportation to tour the cave without having to physically move around, but will also allow free movement with 6 degrees of freedom, within a reduced surface area of up to 6 square metres.

The public will be able to interact with the objects in the cave with their own hands through the virtual reality controllers and the tour will be available in Spanish, Portuguese and English. In addition, a reduced version of the experience will also be generated in 360º virtual tour format with photographs obtained from the virtual scenario, also prepared for use in virtual reality glasses.

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