Lloyd Bosworth : archaeologist | human | beard

We can replicate it for you wholesale

This is incredible. The video below, from the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research (Fraunhofer IGD), showcases what the latest 3D digitisation technology can achieve. Their CultLab3D modular scanning system can take a cultural artefact and produce a high resolution 3D model in just ten minutes. Amazingly, this system carries out all the post processing, image colour correction and texture creation automatically; all the curator has to do is place the object on the conveyor belt at the start, and remove it at the end.

Through automation, 3D digitisation can now be carried out at scales previously unheard of, bringing with it a reduction in cost. By bringing down the cost of 3D digitisation, Fraunhofer IGD claim to have made it financially viable for institutions to digitise whole collections.

A modular system designed for flexibility and future expansion

Currently, CultLab3D is using a two stage approach to 3D digitisation. The first stage, once the object has been placed on the conveyor belt, are sixteen cameras, each with a dedicated ring flash, mounted on two computer controlled arcs. These camera arcs move through a pre-programmed path, capturing over 7000 images at predefined degree intervals. The second stage uses a single camera mounted on a robotic arm to fill in the gaps and capture images from parts of the object that the main scan may have missed.

But this is not all. By being designed from the outset to be modular, the CultLab3D system can be flexible to the user’s needs and also incorporate 3D digitisation technologies into its workflow that are not otherwise commonly found. From 2016, when CultLab3D gets its commercial release, Fraunhofer IGD has plans to develop a CT scanner and multi-spectral imaging modules that can be added to the system.

3D digitisation with instantly usable output

Among the many reasons for the 3D digitisation of cultural artefacts is that it allows objects to be viewed by anyone with access to a smartphone, tablet or computer, from anywhere in the world. However, there has always been the problem that the higher the resolution of the 3D model, the larger the file that needs transmitting to the viewer’s device. Only through extensive manual post-processing and editing can a 3D model be made ready for online viewing.

To overcome this barrier, Fraunhofer IGD have developed a process called instant3Dhub that automatically optimises the high resolution data by simplifying and reducing the 3D model, while simultaneously retaining visual quality and texture colour integrity. Not only will CultLab3D produce 3D models with millimetre accuracy for research and preservation, but also ‘ready for the web’ models for sharing online.

An example of CultLab3D’s 3D digitisation output seen here with their online 3D model viewer showing the bust of Nefertiti.

An example of CultLab3D’s output seen here with their online 3D model viewer showing the bust of Nefertiti.

More information

For more information about the work that Fraunhofer IGD are currently involved in, visit their webpage here – https://www.igd.fraunhofer.de/en/Institut

CultLab3D also has a dedicated website here – http://www.cultlab3d.eu/

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