RAMALYTIQUE (a.k.a. Multirama AR)
A Tablet to See the Lost in Translation

    Takehiko Nagakura (MIT)

Development and installation:
    Takehiko Nagakura (MIT)
    Woongki Sung (MIT)

as part of a collaborative research with
    Dr. Daniel Tsai (MIT)
    Prof. Howard Burns (Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa)

    February-June 2013 (original development with ARToolkit)
    February-September 2014 (revision with Vufolia)
    January 2015 (exhibit for MIT WOLK Gallery exhibition)
    November 2015 (exhibit at Ba-Tsu Gallary in Tokyo for Autodesk Tokyo Popup)

Augmenting Architecture through Multirama

Proposed exhibition of Palladio's architecture projects

Movie info: mp4, 480x270, 92 seconds

Watch this video at YouTube

Palladian Villas in Multirama AR

MIT Faculty Exhibition (February-April, 2015 at WOLK Gallery)

Movie info: mp4, 480x270, 135 seconds

Watch this video at YouTube

Project Overview

Certain artistic objects such as architecture are difficult to present in museums.
A building obviously is too big to fit in an exhibition room. And more importantly, removing architecture from its location to display in a museum would lose a good part of its artistic essence since architectural design is strongly tied with its specific site and surrounding context. Alternatively, use of traditional scale models, photographs, videos and drawings is a way of translating the original into useful representations commonly deployed by architects. But these methods fragment the building into isolated forms of different media, and ordinary audience is often left clueless about the original architecture. For instance, it is difficult to relate a sectional drawing with a scale model of the building, or to locate the viewing position of a photograph on the floor plan.
What are almost lost in this translation and cause difficulties are the spatial relationships amongst the architecture and various forms of its representations. This project is an effort to regain those "lost in translation", or the relationships between architecture, site context, plan and section drawings, scale models, and digital 3D models. We designed Ramalytique (previously named MULTIRAMA), a system that uses marker-based augmented reality technology to synchronize the viewing angles of all those media. A viewer looks at a scale model through the camera of a tablet computer and can interactively turn on and off various representations overlaid on the live video feed of the model.
On a table, the proposed installation displays 3D-printed partial models of elegant country-side villa projects designed and built by Palladio, one of the most famous Renaissance architects in history. Its augmented representation incorporates photogrammetric models sampled through field trips on the building sites as well as drawings left in Palladio's classic canon, The Four Books of Architecture.

System Composition

The system uses marker-based augmented reality technology. A user looks at a partial 3D-printed model of a building through the camera of a hand-held device.

Display example

Multiple models on a table can be exhibited simultaneously to work with a tablet. A flat panel monitor is placed to share the augmented view in the tablet with bystanders.

Interface on tablet

The system allows a viewer to choose different media overlays including site context, plan and section drawings, digital 3D model and photogrammetric model.

Further Development

The system currently uses 3D printed scale models as reference. A museum of architecture may use a capital of column, a piece of furniture, and other fragments from any target building for augmentation with Ramalytique. Using drawings such as plans and sections is also possible.


The development of this project has been supported by generous gifts and fundings from the following organizations and individuals.

Department of Architecture, MIT
SUTD IDC Pilot Research Grant
Daniel Tsai
Evelynn Doone

Special Thanks to
Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura Andrea Palladio
Guido Beltramini
Professor Antonio Foscari

2013 All rights reserved.    Last modified: Jan. 30, 2014 by TN