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Hubei Provincial Museum
The Hubei Provincial Museum, located in the Wuchang District of Wuhan, Hubei Province, is the only provincial comprehensive museum in the province and one of the best-known museums in China, with a large amount of state-level historic and cultural relics. The museum is divided into three parts: Chime Bells Exhibition Hall, Chu Culture Exhibition Hall, and Comprehensive Exhibition Building. The most famous treasure is the Chime Bells, which is the largest bronze musical instrument ever discovered. With a set of bells of different sizes, it can play various tones of the musical scale.
  • In November 2019, SenseTime collaborated with the Hubei Provincial Museum and Suzhou Heyunguanbo Technology to create a brand-new experience for people to enjoy the music played with the ancient Zeng Houyi Chime Bells with augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. Given the historical value and significance of the Zeng Houyi Chime Bells which date back to China’s Warring States period between 400-200 years BC, the instrument had only ever been played on three occasions since it was unearthed from the tomb of the Marquis Yi of the Zeng State in Hubei Suixian County in 1978. The museum managed to record the original sound of chime bells for the application to reflect the true resonance of the relic. The relic is on permanent display at the Hubei Provincial Museum. However, unlike paintings, sculptures and photographs, musical instruments are functional objects that cannot be fully appreciated through their visual aspects alone - much of their artistic value comes from the sound that they are able to produce.
SenseTime created a new experience to play this ancient musical instrument with the application of advanced and highly accurate AR and AI algorithms. Museum visitors can now listen to the sound of the chime bells simply by pointing a camera-equipped mobile device at the real exhibit or images of it and tap on the virtual instrument projected on their smartphone screens to produce sound. The system involves the use of high-precision positioning algorithms to seamlessly integrate the real-life exhibit into a virtual instrument and allow real-time sound generation on users’ smartphones, as well as a realistic occlusion. SenseTime’s Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) system is also applied to ensure the steady projection of the virtual chime bells on mobile devices. With the help of SenseTime’ AI and AR technologies, the ancient melody of this precious musical instrument can now be heard again, providing the opportunity for the world to discover the beauty of Chinese traditional music. It also marks a giant step in the preservation of traditional culture.