ENGINEERING students from the Phitsanulok-based Naresuan University (NU) have successfully developed a cellphone application that renders 2D and 3D “augmented reality” images of “Wang Chan” in its days of glory, so people standing among the ruins can better imagine what this palace looked like during King Naresuan’s time.

It is hoped that the app will offer a new, easy approach to learning about this historic palace, which was King Naresuan’s birthplace.

NU vice president for research, Pupong Pongcharoen, said the app was part of the university’s varied practical studies aiming to benefit Thai society via modern technology.

The “augmented reality” technology is considered very important for studies in different disciplines, especially in terms of cultural heritage such as ancient ruins, he said.

Helping people step into the past glory of ancient sites, such as Wang Chan where King Naresuan the Great was born and brought up, could help turn them into key provincial tourist destinations, he said.

Wasin Panyavuttrakul, director of the university’s Institute of Mekong-Salween Civilisation Studies, said the institute, which participated in local and regional culture conservation, has served as a key player in the Wang Chan revival over the past two or three years via activities such as seminars and studies, including designing the palace’s appearance and mapping.

The institute also collaborated with the NU Faculty of Engineering to produce the phone application to show people what Wang Chan looked like, he said.

The appearance was derived from a study by the institute and NU students Kan Photprasart and Yongyos Chucheep, while computer engineering students Narin Boonrae and Theerawat Hinkaew developed the Android application.

Narin said the project, under the consultation and guidance of computer engineering lecturer Paisarn Muneesawang, resulted from a combination of Wasin’s 2D and 3D creation of Wang Chan’s appearance and augmented technology.

Once the application is turned on, it maps the 3D model into GPS information at the Wang Chan site to show users images of the palace from different angles. The app will be ready for download in May and could serve as a model for other ancient sites, he added.

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