Monday, August 31, 2015

Virtual Shipwreck Reconstruction

3D data of ship timbers
When repairing a bridge over the Nanticoke River, the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) discovered what appeared to be a remarkably intact 18th century shipwreck in the water.

From the Maryland Department of Transportation: “The inadvertent discovery of this shipwreck is an amazing opportunity to study early maritime history. It reminds us how Marylanders used to move goods and people across the region. It’s not every day we get to touch a shipwreck built more than 200 years ago,” said Dr. Julie Schablitsky, SHA Chief Archaeologist.  

But how best to document such fragile, and historically important materials? 3D scanning of the timbers will allow archaeologists from the SHA to digitally reconstruct this important discovery.

Direct Dimensions' scanner documenting large timber
 You can learn more about 3D documentation of cultural heritage sites here


Friday, August 21, 2015

3D Animation of Pterosaur Entertains and Educates at Toledo Zoo

In 2009 Julia Molnar, a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University brought us a set of bone castings from a well preserved pterosaur skeleton. For her masters thesis project, Ms. Molnar was studying the way in which pterosaurs would have taken flight. Very little is known about their launch sequence, and how such an enormous creature could vault into the sky without dragging its giant wings along the ground.

To discern how this might be possible, Ms. Molnar needed the following: to digitize the cast pieces, assemble correctly into a complete skeleton, and help formulate the 3D motion sequence for the ancient creature within the computer.The final result was a 3D animation showing the proposed sequence.

We often say that you should scan everything because you never know when you'll need the 3D data and the pterosaur skeleton animation is a perfect example of that.

Several years after we completed the project the Toledo Zoo added a pterosaur section to their reptile exhibit and they were looking for some way to show how the giant creatures would have flown. The launch sequence video was a perfect fit for their exhibit and the video is now being shown to the nearly million visitors that the zoo has each year.