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Smart technology for analysis and monitoring of Cultural Heritage materials

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SmARTS (Smart technology for analysis and monitoring of Cultural Heritage materials)

Reporting period: 2016-07-01 to 2018-06-30

Technology used to characterize Cultural Heritage (CH) materials, decay processes and conservation treatments are usually expensive, not originally intended nor calibrated for CH science, and subjected to software (SW) and hardware (HW) copyright that limit end user capability to adapt devices to their specific analytical needs.
smARTS focuses on prototyping sustainable technology CH science. The aim is to develop devices based on free and open source SW and HW for monitoring and analyze surfaces in historical and archaeological artefacts and structures.
1. Prototype low cost and open source devices having architectural and analytical flexibility.
2. Knowledge creation, sharing and transfer
The smARTs project relies on the open science and technology paradigm. This approach implies that knowledge creation, sharing and transfer are implemented by enhancing the interaction with citizen science and makers movements (e.g. by means of free and open databases, DIY and instructables web sites, outreach events at FabLabs and makerspaces) and by activating traditional academic tools. This cooperation measures accelerate knowledge creation, sharing and transfer and comply with the main elements of Open Innovation 2.0 concept of the EU Commission: put users in the spotlight - as these are involved directly on the design and prototyping process; and create a well-functioning ecosystem by allowing strict collaboration of all the stakeholders involved and including end users.

Several devices for CH science were prototyped and validate. Each device is based on free and open HW and SW and the principles of economic sustainability. The smARTs devices are scientifically reliable and fully comparable to off-the-shelf-devices, and most of the technology produced is already in use or have been commissioned by CH end-users. So far, smARTS project generated technology transfer activities: a cartesian coordinated machine for automatic spectrophotometric and morphologic analyses, that is now used to inspect and characterize surface and colors of Catalan Modernist hydraulic tiles (private collection); indoor and outdoor environmental dataloggers (T, RH and DP) and several devices for remote and real time monitoring of structural changes in architecture (public body); indoor environmental dataloggers for monitoring T, RH, DP, and UV-Vis-IR light irradiance (public museums); a portable, automatic device for RTI analysis (public museum).
Work on: Analytical Techniques and selection of CH materials as case study (07.2016 - 01.2017)
Task: selection and study of analytical techniques, with specific focus on their adaptability and replicability under sustainable and inclusive paradigm. Special focus on analytical techniques for:
1. the acquisition of environmental data suitable for preventive conservation (i.e. Temperature, Relative Humidity, and Dew point; Particulate matter and Air quality; Light irradiation UV-Vis-IR).
2. the acquisition and characterization of morphological and structural changes and alteration of surfaces of several classes of materials and/or artefacts with special focus on stones, ceramics, and paintings (i.e. spectrophotometry, IR-thermal emission, UV-Vis-IR imaging).

Work on: Hardware and Software (10.2016 - 06.2017)
Task: choice, assembling and test of the HW components, and SW implementation. It includes the design and prototyping of microcontroller and analytical modules. The following analytical modules have been prototyped: environmental data acquisition (T, RH and DP); UV and Vis lighting system; video/imaging and stereo-imaging system; colorimetric module (using open HW NanoLambda sensor); IR thermo-response module.

Work on: Laboratory based validation of HW and SW (01.2017 - 06.2017)
Task: laboratory-based tests on microcontrollers and analytical modules assembled from October 2016, as well as on SW and GUIs. During this stage the analytical modules were tested to: check functionalities; calibrate them on certified reference materials; check analytical reliability; set-up of the analytical strategy to adopt during the case-study application.

Work on: Real-case validation (05.2017 - 04.2018)
Task: in site tests for technology validation, analysis on the state of conservation of selected materials, outdoor and indoor environmental monitoring, characterization of degradation phenomena on surfaces; mapping of morphological patters, etc.

Work on: Technology Transfer Actions (from 06.2018)
Task: provide to public and private CH related end-users the technology generated and validated during the project.

1. Low cost and open source devices:
- CNC machine for automatic spectrophotometric and morphologic analyses;
- semi-automatized portable device for Reflectance Transformation Imaging technique;
- multi task integrated system ROV for remote mapping and monitoring of structures and environments not easy accessible;
- environmental dataloggers (T, RH, DP; UV-Vis-IR light) for preventive conservation in museums and exhibition areas;
- portable devices for remote and real time monitoring of structural changes in architecture (displacements, motion and vibrations);

2. Knowledge creation, sharing and transfer:
- smARTs generated devices are totally open, which means that the end-user is provided by practical handbooks that allow friendly use of the technology, and step by step guidelines for building and/or customize the devices;
- smARTs project generated technology transfer actions to both public and private CH end-users, as well as allowed to establish an international network on mechatronic applied to CH which involves R&D institutions and enterprises;
- the knowledge generated from the smARTs project has become the backbone of a new research line called 'IT4HS-Inclusive Technology for Heritage Science' launched by the hosting research group.
The originality of smARTs' devices lies in their modular architecture that ensures analytical adaptability to specific artefacts, structures and environments. Modularity also ensures scalability, which is the possibility to prototype a technology potentially modifiable and implementable, rather than a closed system. Modularity and scalability allow put users in the spotlight - as these are involved directly on the design and prototyping process.
The smARTs project demonstrated that is possible to provide technology that overcomes the idea of exclusivity and closeness and embraces the concepts of circularity and inclusion. Basing its strength on knowledge sharing, it demonstrates that the convergence of technology acceleration, hyper-connectivity, and open and free access to data and technology, when combined with the global movement of citizen scientists, can represent a key factor in achieving truly sustainable development. The bottom-up approach allowed to re-shape the profile of the typical end-user: the principle target of smARTs devices is not customers, but proactive end-users. Although demonstrating an impact in cost-saving - with average cost reduction at least of 50% as compared to existing technology, the project demonstrated that is possible to go even further beyond economically sustainability and provide technology that can be easily assembled, adapted, customized, enhanced and, finally, re-shared.
smARTs project logo
ArtsExMachina, prototype machine for automatic spectrophotometric and morphologic analyses