Wednesday, November 25, 2009

3D Scanning Newsletter - November

November's newsletter has been sent out and is also posted on our website.

Case studies this month include:

Reproducing a Rare Darwin Bust - In honor of the 150th anniversary of On the Origin of Species and 200th anniverary of his birth, the National Academy of Sciences commissioned a replication of a one-of-a-kind bronze Darwin bust.

3D Imaging Brings Robots to Life - 3D laser imaging technology helps rapidly create a digital CAD model of hand-sculpted robotic components for Hanson Robotics.

Monkey Skull Sculptures - 3D scanning of primate skulls helps artist create sculpture series

Click here to read the full newsletter.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thankful in 2009

Despite the economic challenges of this past year, Direct Dimensions has been fortunate to have had a very successful 2009 – our 15th year in business! In the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, we would like to express our thanks to:

Our great customers - thank you for entrusting us with your ships, your sculptures, and your airplanes and everything else you send to us, or send our team out to scan for you, including Northrop Grumman, Jeff Koons Studios, Carlson & Co, Lockheed Martin, FBI, Clark Construction, Harley Davidson, Nurad, International Truck, John Milner Associates, National Gallery of Art, Praxair, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, and all of our other new and returning customers!

Our great vendors - thank you for providing us with top-notch 3D products and for all of your support including Basis Software, Dimensional Imaging, FARO Technologies, Geomagic, Innovmetric, Konica Minolta, Kreon, Laser Design, Pointools, Rapidform, Verisurf, and Vialux.

Our great employees - thank you for all of your creativity, initiative, dedicated long hours, last minute travel, and all of your hard work everyday. It is very much appreciated.

Our employee’s families - thank you for sharing your loved ones with us, probably more than you’d prefer.

Our friends and partners at SME, CMSC, SPAR, GBTC, ARC, Trilumen, and especially Mimic Studios, practically our L.A. office.

And a special thank you to Gene Roe for supporting us so often in his blog. Gene puts out a fantastic blog about the 3D scanning industry called Lidar News at which everyone should check out.

And thank you all for reading our monthly newsletters and regular blog postings, and please have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Digitally Preserved and Reconstructed Coffeehouse Now Complete!

This Friday, November 20th is the grand opening celebration for the newly reconstructed Charlton's Coffee House in Colonial Williamsburg. It is the only structure of its kind, an authentic 18th-century coffeehouse, in the United States.

You can read about the events planned for opening day here.

Direct Dimensions was lucky to be involved as part of the pre-construction team, utilizing our 3D technologies to help document the coffeehouse's 18th century foundation.

To learn more about how, keep reading.

Case Study: Digital Preservation of Revolutionary Coffeehouse
In the summer of 2008, Direct Dimensions visited Williamsburg, Virginia to document the condition of the existing remains of an original ‘coffee house’ that George Washington was known to frequent.

This particular coffee house, owned by Richard Charlton during the 1760's, was one of several that had flourished in the area due to their popularity in London and abroad. Coffee houses of that time were known for more than their coffee, tea, and chocolate served to the colonials - they also hosted informal and spirited intellectual conversation. This activity made Charlton's coffee house one of Williamsburg's political and business ‘hotspots’ of the time.

DDI worked with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to laser capture what remains of the coffee house’s stone foundation. Of the original structure, only part of the brick foundation and some wooden fragments are still intact. We scanned the exposed foundation and the earthen floor with our Surphaser HSX spherical scanner.

This unique scanner captures extremely accurate and high resolution data over a medium-range (2-10 meters). The Surphaser is a non-contact laser scanner so none of the delicate centuries-old foundation was harmed during the data capture process.

The raw 3D ‘point cloud’ data gathered in Williamsburg was then digitally modeled back at the Direct Dimensions facility in Baltimore, Maryland. The final surface mesh model can be used to analyze the archaeological features found at the site.

Additional digital preservation projects:
Historic Site Scanning
Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers


Friday, November 13, 2009

Software Overview and Tips for Dense Point Cloud Processing

Last month we posted a presentation that Michael gave at SME's Aerospace Measurement, Inspection & Analysis Conference on Reverse Engineering Airplane OMLs. One of the issues that often comes with large scan jobs, such as airplane scans, is how to handle massive amounts of 3D scan data.

At that same conference Michael and Peter Kennedy, our production manager and a specialist in processing data from large jobs, also gave a presentation on tips and software for dealing with dense point cloud data sets. You can view the presentation below.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. We're happy to help!


Friday, November 6, 2009

TEDx MidAtlantic 2009

We had a wonderful experience at TEDx MidAtlantic, meeting and talking to new people, exchanging ideas with them, and of course, imaging them in 3D with our new face imaging concept.

All of the speakers were thought-provoking, but we really connected with the presentation by the first ever CTO for the Federal government - Aneesh Chopra. Mr. Chopra spoke primarily about utilizing technology to improve peoples lives, particularly through medical technology and innovation. He even briefly talked about facial prosthetics which is a topic that has always been very important to us at Direct Dimensions.

Also, if you had a ShapeShotTM 3D face image taken at the event, you will be receiving an email shortly with a link to your very own personal website with your 3D face.

It was really a special day. Thanks to Dave Troy and all the TEDx MidAtlantic volunteers for making it all happen.

Direct Dimensions' President Michael Raphael poses two attendees for their ShapeShot


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

3D Model of Lincoln's face included in "Lincoln, Life-Size"

Last summer we had the opportunity to scan an amazing piece of history: an original life mask of Abraham Lincoln cast in 1860 by Leonard Volk. The life mask is owned by the Kunhardt family, who are 5th generation Lincoln scholars, and was scanned for research purposes for a documentary they were making. You can read about the original Lincoln lifemask project here.

High quality renderings of the digital model made for the documentary have subsequently been used by Philip B. Kunhardt and Peter W. Kunhardt in their book Lincoln, Life-Size.

The book examines images of Lincoln's face, each page containing various portraits at life size. As the owners of one of the largest 19th century photo collections, the authors have a specific interest in comparing how Lincoln’s actual appearance fares against artistic renderings of the man, as well as the often-distorted daguerreotypes and photographic media of the mid-1800s.

Lincoln, Life-Size is being released today and can be purchased online or at a bookseller near you. If you want to see some incredible images, photographic and digital renderings, make sure to check out this book.

Additional 3D Lincoln reading:

Lincoln Memorial: Digitally Preserving America's National Monuments

Bringing Lincoln To Life in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian