In our modern world, what happens to traditional craftsmanship such as pottery or to rare dancing styles typical for some regions in Greece, Romania or Wallonia? They fall gradually out of use and may eventually be completely forgotten. A European research initiative tries to prevent that.

The i-treasures project does not stop at making audio and video recordings of men and women who still possess these skills. Since the scientists are interested in multimodal analysis, modelling and recognition they use additional sensors of various complexity and detail, as project coordinator Dr Nikos Grammalidis from the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas in Thessaloniki explains: "Kinect sensors are easy to use and inexpensive but their accuracy may vary. For example, they cannot provide sufficient information about finger positions."

When high-accuracy is needed, such as recording the experts for Walloon and contemporary dance, a marker-based optical motion capture system is preferable, says Dr Grammalidis. This means that reflective markers are taped to the performer’s body. These are tracked by cameras and their position in the 3D space can be known on the sub-millimeter precision.

In some cases the researchers also use inertial sensors that are attached to the limbs. They can track the angles between the body segments. As it is not linked to vision, it is the only system that is able to capture the leg motion under a skirt.

The project, which also preserves rare singing styles from Corsica, Sardinia and from Mount Athos in Greece, has a total budget of €7.3 million over 4 years. The EU contributes €5.2 million.  

A report on i-treasures is featured on Futuris, the science programme of the pan-European television channel Euronews. It can be watched anytime online. On TV it was repeatedly shown until 17 July 2016.

Euronews video (4:20) - also available in DE, EL, ES, FR, HU, IT, PT and further languages

Euronews short video "Takeaway" (0:58) - English subtitles

Blog post by project coordinator Dr Nikos Grammalidis

Project website

Project video

Further project videos (e.g. the Pottery game)

Article on i-treasures for ICT2015

Project fact sheet