CORDIS - EU research results

SILKNOW. Silk heritage in the Knowledge Society: from punched cards to big data, deep learning and visual / tangible simulations

Project description

A new way to explore and experience silk heritage

Europe’s ancient silk heritage was once a symbol of progress and innovation. Now it teeters on the brink of extinction. Despite the efforts of specialised museums, a lack of resources and networks hinders effective preservation. The EU-funded SILKNOW project will create an intelligent computational system called the Virtual Loom. Specifically, it will digitally model ancient weaving techniques. This ground-breaking approach will enable users to explore and experience silk heritage through visual and tangible simulations. Advanced search tools, automatic visual recognition, and multilingual access to digital data will enhance the user experience. SILKNOW’s multidisciplinary team, comprising experts in various fields, seeks to bridge the gap between heritage preservation and the needs of museums, education and tourism.


Silk was a major factor for progress in Europe, mostly along the Western Silk Road’s network of production and market centres. Silk trade also allowed for exchange of ideas and innovations. Punched cards were first used in Jacquard silk looms, long before modern computers were even imagined. Today, too, fashion and high-end textile industries have a huge impact in the EU, reaching €525 billion in annual turnover. Silk, however, has become a seriously endangered heritage. Although many European specialized museums are devoted to its preservation, they usually lack size and resources to establish networks or connections with other collections. SILKNOW aims to produce an intelligent computational system that goes beyond current technologies in order to improve our understanding of European silk heritage. This legacy will be studied, showcased and preserved through the digital modelling of its weaving techniques (a “Virtual Loom”). Users will access the resulting information through visual and tangible simulations, and experience vastly enhanced search tools, providing better results through automatic visual recognition, advanced spatio-temporal visualization, multilingual and semantically enriched access to existing digital data. Thus, SILKNOW will improve the understanding of EU heritage and its rich diversity, applying next-generation ICT research to the needs of various users (museums, education, tourism, creative industries, media…), and preserving an intangible heritage (ancient weaving techniques) for younger generations. Its research activities and outputs will have direct impact in computer science and big data management, focusing on searching digital content in heterogeneous, multilingual and multimodal databases. SILKNOW will be possible only with the close cooperation of a multidisciplinary team, including areas as ICT, text analytics, image processing, semantics, big data, 3D printing, art history, terminology, textile fabrication and conservation.

Call for proposal


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Net EU contribution
€ 615 880,50
46010 Valencia

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Este Comunitat Valenciana Valencia/València
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 615 880,50

Participants (9)