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News article9 August 2022European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency2 min read

MeDryDive: Dive into the past without getting wet

Hidden from view and protected beneath the surface of the sea lies Europe’s fascinating world of underwater cultural heritage. New technology is making our underwater past accessible to everyone – divers and non-divers alike.

MeDryDive EU Project Video
©MeDryDive, 2022

There’s a way to experience a ‘Jacques Cousteau’ moment without ever getting wet. Imagine diving into the Mediterranean Sea to explore ancient shipwrecks and the remnants of past civilisations. It’s virtually possible to ‘dive in the past’ thanks to MeDryDive

The project was co-financed by the European Innovation Council and SME Executive Agency (EISMEA) under its COSME programme, now continuing through the Single Market Programme (SMP).

In an interview, Yanis Kalogiannidis, coordinator of MeDryDive, explains the benefits of combining innovative technologies with sustainable tourism development at Underwater Cultural Heritage (UCH) sites in Greece, Croatia, Italy and Montenegro.

What challenge is MeDryDive tackling?

Millions of shipwrecks and ruins are all part of our Underwater Cultural Heritage. These sunken sites present historical snapshots of life and death, revealing valuable information about wars, trade, innovation, migration, etc. The Mediterranean seabed hosts a great many of these global UCH sites.

The valorisation of these sites can offer distinctive and attractive experiences to visitors. It’s also beneficial to the residents of areas hosting the sites. Diving destinations, particularly underdeveloped islands and rural coastal communities, attract more tourists. The economic potential is also great, considering that there are about 6 million active scuba divers worldwide.

What key breakthrough technology has the project developed?

MeDryDive brings together two worlds (and respective markets): the Creative and Cultural Industries and Tourism. To make UCH sites widely accessible to both divers and non-divers, we developed a ‘dry dive’ digital repository of content that includes a serious game for mobile devices, virtual and augmented reality applications and promotional videos.

Our ‘Dive in the Past - The Game’ allows players to virtually dive into several UCH sites in the Mediterranean Sea. We also enhance the exploration of the underwater world with puzzles and quests, alternating between 2D and 3D environments. We developed an interactive leaflet for the exploration of the four sites (Croatia, Greece, Italy and Montenegro), as well as a VR application with cardboard glasses for a 3D exploration of the pilot sites.

What are the social or economic benefits?

MeDryDive’s tourism product is key to identifying strategic collaborations and suppliers to pursue our marketing and commercialisation. In terms of the tourism segments, the product is addressed to both the European and the global tourism market.

Most importantly, MeDryDive’s main vision is to raise awareness of a much-needed framework for facilitating the protection and valorisation of underwater cultural and natural heritage in accordance with the UNESCO 2001 Convention with great global economic, cultural and social impact.

MeDryDive boasts an outreach of more than 30 000 citizens and the active engagement of 22 organisations.

How did COSME support help MeDryDive?

Funding support assisted us in the development of new technologies. It also facilitated the business development process. As Dive in the Past was a business concept in the startup stage, funding was necessary to get it off the ground.

Finally, COSME helped us with the exchange of good practices among other projects under the same call through the organisation of dedicated events (COSME - TOURSYN Projects Networking Event).

Would you recommend COSME support to others and why?

Given the positive results achieved by MeDryDive, we would highly encourage other businesses to participate, especially small businesses that can collaborate with other stakeholders for offering added value services and products to the European market.


Publication date
9 August 2022
European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency