Pompeii’s Ruins Could Be Reconstructed by Robot

The RePAIR (Reconstructing the Past: Artificial Intelligence and Robotics meet Cultural Heritage) project is looking to mix machine-learning algorithms to solve the puzzles and human expertise to guide the AI.

via Scientific American

Scientists at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) have a plan: Send in the robot. Their project—dubbed RePAIR (Reconstructing the Past: Artificial Intelligence and Robotics meet Cultural Heritage)—melds robotics, AI and archaeology in an attempt to reconstruct architectural features of Pompeii that would otherwise remain incomplete, because they’re either too complex or would require impossible amounts of human labor and time.

Over the next several months, the IIT researchers and their collaborators at a handful of international universities will build, train, test and deploy a robot to piece together ruined wall frescoes in two buildings. In the first building, they know what the frescoes should look like because they were intact until recently. The investigators have no idea what the frescoes in the second building depict. Its fragments have lain in a storage room for decades waiting for someone—or something—to put them back together.

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