Using the cloud to conserve art collections

By 10 diciembre, 2021Arts and Humanities

European project H2020 CollectionCare, led by the ITACA institute of the UPV university, has brought together over 170 research centres and companies from 40 countries.CollectionCare congress

The Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) has integrated wireless devices, big data and predictive analysis in the cloud (cloud computing) for the preventive conservation of art collections. International research groups have presented in the congress of European project CollectionCare, led by the ITACA institute, the latest technological breakthroughs in the study of the behaviour and degradation of cultural assets, environmental control and the design of preventive conservation of the collections.

The CollectionCare initiative, funded by the Horizon 2020 programme with a budget of six million euros for three years, is coordinated by the research team led by Ángel Perles, member of the Institute of Computing and Communication Technologies (ITACA).

The main goal of this consortium comprised by 18 institutions is “to develop a system for the preventive conservation of cultural items during their exhibition, storage, handling and transportation using low-cost wireless devices – by adapting the LPWAN technologies – to monitor the environmental parameters that impact the preservation of works of art,” says Ángel Perles, who works for the Department of Systems Computing and Computers (DISCA).

Data in real time for long-term recommendations

UPV teacher Laura Fuster explains that the devices being designed have sensors to monitor the temperature, relative humidity, light, ultraviolet light and environmental contaminants (NOx and COVs). These devices, she says, “upload data in real time to the cloud, which has a structure for their storage and processing, using algorithms of degradation models and preventive conservation standards in order to predict the damage to the materials and offer conservation recommendations for the long term”.

The innovation provided by this preventive conservation system is “the integration of these three fields: new technologies for the development of monitoring devices, cloud computing and big data, and the development of models of degradation,” says Laura Fuster, member of the Department of Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Goods at the Faculty of Fine Arts, and researcher at the University Institute for Heritage Restoration.

Connectivity, sensors and cloud computing

Over 275 representatives of 170 research centres, collections and companies from 40 countries gathered at the CollectionCare: New Challenges in Preventive Conservation, Predictive Analysis and Environmental Monitoring virtual conference. This gathering, which ends the European project, has made it possible to exchange highly specialised research, in which over a hundred researchers from the field of heritage, telecommunications and applied sciences have taken part.

Three large axes structure the programme, with over 60 communications: the needs and challenges of collections, the predictive analysis for the conservation of cultural heritage and connectivity technologies, sensors and cloud computing.

Today’s most relevant researchers in the key fields of this project took part in it, hailing from institutions of global prestige such as The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation (Copenhagen, Denmark), the Technische Universiteit Eindhoven (Holland), the Polish Academy of Science or the Fraunhofer-Institut, among others.

Furthermore, there was also the participation of institutions focused on protecting the cultural heritage, such as the Smithsonian Institution (USA),, the Getty Conservation Institute (USA), the ICCROM (Italy) and the Canadian Conservation Institute (Canada).

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