For the fifth consecutive year The Cyprus Institute participated to the annual European event Researchers' Night. The event’s main objective is to bring the public at large and researchers together, and to present and explain science in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. It offers the opportunity to discover research facilities and equipment that are usually not open to the public, show the most recent technologies and instruments with the guidance of scientists, participate in experiments, watch demonstrations and simulations, and exchange ideas with the researchers. Hundreds of events took place in 32 EU and neighbouring countries.
The Cyprus Institute participated with two activities:
Autonomous Flying Platforms
The Institute’s fleet of Autonomous Flying Platforms for Atmospheric and Earth Surface Observations (APAESO), scientific equipment used during the flights, photos and video material as well as flight results were presented to the public. The ground control station, which operates essentially as a control operation facility during the flights, was also on display.
The platforms are equipped with navigation sensors such as GPS, accelerometers, altimeter, wind speedometer and electronic compass. The maximum flight altitude is 5 km and the flight duration can be up to eight hours. The weight of the platforms varies between 15 and 25 kg. The main objective of the project is to develop unmanned aircrafts entirely for civilian purposes. The autonomous flying platforms are able to provide various dimensional and three-dimensional measurements of atmospheric and earth parameters for applications such as the following: determination of physical, chemical and radioactive parameters of the atmospheric concentration of aerosols and dust, topography, observation of archaeological sites, contamination detection, high-resolution characterization of the sea surface (biology, waves, currents). The UAVs can also serve in surveillance applications such as traffic monitoring, fire identification on forests border and natural resources monitoring.
New Light on the Past - RTI Technology
Visitors of the event had the opportunity to see and experiment with the innovative Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) Technology, recently acquired, which enables the capturing of detailed surface properties from high-resolution images (link to website). RTI allows researchers to study artifacts in great detail without being restricted by fixed lighting angles. The result ensures that high-quality digital versions of these materials can be consulted by scholars worldwide. RTI is a product of the close collaboration between CyI, the University of Illinois and the University of Southern California in the framework of the European Program LinkSCEEM-2. The acquisition of this new sophisticated imaging equipment is of particular importance for the study and protection of Cyprus’ Cultural Heritage. The Cyprus Institute is one of only five institutions worldwide with this technology, and Cyprus the only country in the wider region. This will enhance Cyprus’ presence in the European Digital Library EUROPEANA.
The RTI technology has already contributed to the study of world heritage treasures such as the Antikythera Mechanism, prehistoric wall paintings, inscriptions from Persepolis, reliefs from Babylon and others.
The Cyprus Institute in collaboration with the Cyprus Antiquities Department, Cyprus Museums and Cultural Institutions is working for the systematic documentation of artifacts and art works aiming to study and protect them. The high-resolution digital photos will be stored in sophisticated databases. This initiative will enrich the presence of Cyprus to the European Digital Library, EUROPEANA.