Venice Time Machine: The Future Has Arrived in the World of Historical Science

When deep personal passion about a social or environmental issue enlists a great idea how to make a difference on the ground, we are on the path toward high-impact philanthropy. And as rethinkers for over 220 years and patrons of the arts, we are always looking for innovative ways to make a difference in society.  We pioneer “out-of-the-box” ideas that make full use of technology, which often open up completely new possibilities.

Backing the Venice Time Machine (VTM), at Fondation Lombard Odier, we are proud to bring the power of technological progress to the world of historical science. As part of Fondation Lombard Odier’s strategic collaboration with École politechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), the Foundation has co-financed this international scientific “BigData” programme launched by the EPFL with the University Ca’Foscari of Venice.

What is VTM and what does it seek to achieve?

The State Archives of Venice contain 80 km of shelves filled with over a thousand years of administrative documents. Treasures include a hand-written document by Galileo, then Professor of Mathematics in the University of Padua. To develop the telescope, he requested financial support from the Venetian senate. The document describes its various uses. Academics already needed funds for research then.

As the information economy reshapes how we work, think and connect, it also transforms how we conduct research. VTM will digitalise Venice’s archives and give them a new, virtual existence on the Web in the coming years. Where scientists had to travel to examine fragile documents on site, they can then start to access history from the Cloud. You can see how VTM’s massive digitisation works in this video. An advance tomography technique will soon even allow reading the content of ancient manuscripts without physically opening the pages. The future has arrived to history.

Important information

This document is issued by Bank Lombard Odier & Co Ltd or an entity of the Group (hereinafter “Lombard Odier”). It is not intended for distribution, publication, or use in any jurisdiction where such distribution, publication, or use would be unlawful, nor is it aimed at any person or entity to whom it would be unlawful to address such a document. This document was not prepared by the Financial Research Department of Lombard Odier.

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