Engineering a Future for the Past

The Cultural Heritage Engineering Initiative (CHEI) is focused on “engineering a future for the past,” creating a novel, interdisciplinary research, education and training program to promote a culture of exploration and discovery with technological innovation to advance the development of diagnostic methodologies, analytical models, tools and systems for use in the documentation, analysis and conservation of historic artifacts. The past has shaped who we are and who we hope to be. Our team has demonstrated that a common desire to learn from, advocate for and preserve the past is a powerful enabler for collaboration and innovation. The material and intellectual products of that collaboration and innovation extend well beyond the world of ancient places. This activity can be a catalyst to attract and nurture talent in the form of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers who are eager to apply engineering skills to safeguarding our cultural treasures. Cultural heritage engineering can also seed interdisciplinary collaborations, create a sense of ownership, belonging and pride, foster self discovery and develop professional skills for the international workplace. CHEI shapes the field of cultural heritage engineering through an international research network that gives student trainees access to structures, historic monuments, works of art and other artifacts that, quite simply, are among the most valuable ever created.

CHEI is shaping the field of cultural heritage engineering, through multidisciplinary research, development and field-testing of fundamental concepts, techniques, tools and instruments. Our diagnostic imaging and synthesis techniques combine data from 3D surveys, multi-spectral imaging, sensing and computing to create a digital surrogate of the target environment, enabling and innovating data-enabled science and engineering.

CHEI conducts and supports global expeditions, operating in a broad range of environments, while concurrently exploring new direction in robotics and sensor payload systems for life-like data collection, computing for model creation, visualization and virtual reality, literally allowing researchers and the public alike to step into the arena of research and discovery and explore artifacts on their own terms.

CHEI closely works with scientists, explorers and stakeholders, including cultural institutions and museums, to create a scientific-baseline for an artifact or target environment, allowing for detailed inquiry, knowledge extraction, informed decision making and life-cycle management.

CHEI is uniquely equipped to provide expert solutions related to a wide range of challenges in aerial, ground and underwater imaging, data processing, visualization and analyis. From platforms and tools developed in-house for research, education and training, to technologies for use in hard-to-reach or hostile environments, our scientists and engineers can offer a broad range of research, development and deployment expertise and we are always interested in exploring new collaborations.

CHEI serves as a catalyst, bringing together an interdisciplinary team of students, postdoctoral researchers, research scientists, staff and faculty in collaboration with the public and private sector, to transform how world cultural heritage is assessed, monitored, preserved and restored.