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.