Monday, May 14, 2007

Direct Dimensions Aids Johns Hopkins in Rebuilding Soldier's Nose

In October of 2007, Johns Hopkins University anaplastologist Juan Garcia, M.A., approached Direct Dimensions with a unique and timely project: to aid him and a team of medical staff at Johns Hopkins in creating a new nose for Senior Airman Michael Fletcher, a soldier who had been injured while stationed in Iraq. Using the Konica Minolta 9i laser scanner, the DDI team was able to scan a model sculpted by Garcia, and the resulting data was used to produce a new, fully-functional nose.

Fletcher was injured in August 2005 when his Humvee flipped over on a highway near Camp Bucca in Southern Iraq. While his body armor was able to protect most of his torso from being crushed, Fletcher lost his left arm and was left with a disfigured midface as well, including his nose. Despite many complications and over 40 hours logged in surgery, Fletcher decided against a detachable prosthesis and decided instead to work with Johns Hopkins to rebuild his nose. The reconstruction would be one of the most complex ever accomplished by Hopkins staff, requiring not only the best surgical expertise, but convincing aesthetics as well. Enter Juan Garcia, a medical illustrator specializing in facial prosthetics. He took a silicone impression of Fletcher’s damaged nasal area, and from the silicone impression made a stone model upon which he could sculpt Fletcher’s new nose. Using photographs of Fletcher before the accident for reference, Garcia spent over two hours carefully sculpting a new nose from hot wax that was then fitted to the stone model.

Once the wax nose and the stone model were fitted together, the results were scanned by Glenn Woodburn on-site at Direct Dimensions, using the Konica Minolta 9i laser scanner. This scanner provides a high-speed and high-accuracy scan that is ideal for digitally capturing organic shapes. Most often used for reverse engineering purposes, the Minolta 9i was used to scan Garcia’s nose model because it is ideal for capturing medium to large objects while retaining accurate color data. This was not the first time that Garcia had worked with Direct Dimensions-- previous collaborations produced several prosthetic ears and functional nose pieces, as well as research data for the creation of prosthetic hands.

After the completion of the digital nose guide, the resulting data was sent to the Berger laboratory at the United States Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground, which is located in Gunpowder, Maryland. The nose was fabricated into a clear plastic model, which was then attached to Fletcher’s face. It was this plastic model that was used as a base for Fletcher’s final reconstructive surgery. Lead surgeon Patrick J. Byrne, M.D., and his team used Fletcher’s own bone, cartilage, skin, arteries and veins to reconstruct the nose, which is fully-functional. His last sutures were removed on May 2, 2007, and any further minor sculpting and contouring procedures will be done at an outpatient clinic.

More On This Story:

DDI on CNN: Direct Dimensions Helps Rebuild U.S. Soldier with 3D Imaging Technology

Feature report on CNN, Anderson Cooper 360° at 10 p.m. ET, Monday, May 14. Two-part series on CBS-WJZ in Baltimore on the 11 p.m. newscast, also on Monday, May 14 and Tuesday, May 15.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Tomb of the Unknowns, Arlington National Cemetery

The Tomb of the Unknowns, located in the Arlington National Cemetery contains the remains of unidentified soldiers from several of the United States’ direst military conflicts, and serves to memorialize all American soldiers who have not been identified in death. The marble sarcophagus of the tomb, based on a design by architect Lorimer Rich, was erected in 1921, following the consecration of similar monuments in France and Great Britain to the memory of World War I’s unidentified fallen soldiers. On Armistice Day that year, the first soldier, who had given his life in World War I, was interred in the tomb. At present, the tomb also contains the remains of soldiers who gave their lives in World War II and the Korean War. First Lieutenant Michael Blassie, who gave his life in the Vietnam War, was identified and exhumed in 1998. The monument is one of our nation’s most visited, boasting an estimated 4 million visitors annually.

In the late 1980’s, it became clear that the monument was rapidly eroding. Studies performed in 1999 show several cracks, the most severe of which measured 28.4 feet long, with an average width of 2.52 millimeters. The crack extended partially through the block of marble, and would eventually run clear though, causing a total collapse within 20 years.

Direct Dimensions Gets Involved

As part of the conservation effort Arlington National Cemetery tapped Direct Dimensions to scan the tomb in late 2004. On November 30, scanning commenced, using the Konica Minolta and our FARO Arm with a Perceptron laser. The scan was completed by engineer John Kelbel and industrial designers Jeff Mechlinski and Glenn Woodburn over two days, using the FARO Arm’s Perceptron laser scanner to capture highly-detailed data from the tomb’s intricate relief panels. This data can be used to exactly replicate the tomb at any scale, from a miniature to a full-sized reproduction. Below, sculptor John B. Andelin creates a small-scale model using the data captured from the scan.

Click to download the official DDI Tomb Press Release.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Featured Project: KAL’s Virtual George W. Bush Head

Renowned cartoonist Kevin “Kal” Kallaugher came to Direct Dimensions with a caricature sculpture of George W. Bush’s head. His intention was to make a virtual, interactive puppet. Here at Direct Dimensions, we laser scanned and delivered a perfect 3D digital model of Bush to Kal so that his team at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) could move into the next phase: animation.

With the help of UMBC’s Imaging Research Center, Kal was able to use the data provided by Direct Dimensions to create a system that makes the virtual Bush head move with the assistance of two human-controlled joysticks. The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, featured a retrospective of Kal’s work—Mightier Than the Sword: The Satirical Pen of KAL, which included the Virtual George W. Bush on display.

Product Focus: The Kreon Zephyr

The Kreon Zephyr scanner is ideal for scanning very small objects. It can be used as a digitizer on a laser scanner and features an accuracy range of 0.001”. Direct Dimensions uses this scanner in a wide range of projects, including the Virtual George Bush project, and highly-detailed work, like miniatures and engine blocks.

Training classes are available for this product, either in our offices, or yours. For further product and purchasing information, please download our Product + Service Catalog, or call 410-998-0880. Ask for Charlie Matlin for training class schedules and purchase details.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Round 1...

Well, here it is. The first test for us.