The Verge: Google will help preserve endangered historical sites in virtual reality. “Google has partnered with 3D laser scanning nonprofit CyArk to help preserve historical sites around the world that are at risk of irreversible damage or total erasure due to human conflict and natural disasters. The joint effort, called the Open Heritage project, will use CyArk’s laser-scanning technology to capture all the relevant data at a historical site needed to re-create it virtually, so it can be preserved and explored online either on a computer, through a mobile device, or while wearing a virtual reality headset.”
Phys .org: Interactive, downloadable and 3-D printable scans of newly discovered hermit crabs now available. “Today, a study published in the open access, open data journal GigaScience provides three-dimensional visual data from hermit crabs using the latest 3D microCT (Micro computed tomography) scanning technology. By making this microCT data publicly available, taxonomists potentially have more time and cost-efficient options for examining and comparing specimens for taxonomic research. With a shortage of trained taxonomists, this also provides new opportunities for education and training. To ease access to these data, the authors go beyond just describing the data collection and findings by providing downloadable, interactive files of everything in this study. For interested citizen scientists out there, they even include interactive web-based viewers and 3D printable file formats.”
The Globe and Mail: Free app turns your phone into a 3D scanner. This is a video that’s a little under two minutes long, and it is video-only. I dislike linking to videos without transcripts, but the technology in the video and the fact that the app is free (unless you want to print a scanned item) made me break my own informal rule.
LiveScience: Virtual Volterra: Ancient Amphitheaters and Temples Recorded in 3D. “The mountaintop town of Volterra in central Italy witnessed the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. Now, researchers are using the latest reality capture technology and software to preserve a 3D digital record of its ancient temples, theaters and other buildings for the future, and to gain new insights into how they were made…. Elements of the reality-capture project, including 3D models of the Etruscan arch and a stone pedestal from Volterra’s Roman theater, are also available to the public at a new website…”
This was on CNN at the beginning of January and I 100% missed it: Meet the scientists immortalizing African heritage in virtual reality. “The archaeological wonders of the world offer a rich window into the past. But many are crumbling, weed-laden and victim to vandalism and conflict. UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as those in Libya and Mali, have been caught in the crossfire of regional disputes. Concerned with the decay of African heritage sites, The Zamani Project, based at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, is seeking to immortalize historic spots in three-dimensional, virtual reality-ready models.”
Digicult: Reshaping The Experience Of Art: Digitization And 3D Archives. “The destruction of world heritage sites and artworks in Mosul, Iraq, in February 2015, sparked a global movement to digitize and preserve important works and monuments. Institutions and individuals were called upon to create, refine and disseminate digital scans of the lost works of art…. This process is transforming where we experience Art, as every scanned object is now accessible regardless of location, wealth or ownership. Previously bound to cultural institutions, the digital archive is now easily obtainable to viewers and can be manipulated, collected, and modified free of decorum. In a way it transposes the museum into the computer, peels off all our preconceived behaviors toward the object while granting us new powers on the works by allowing us to interact with the files.”
Google Blog: The British Museum and Google Arts & Culture: Decoding the secrets of the ancient Maya. “In the 19th century, the explorer Alfred Maudslay set out to capture and preserve the stories the Maya of Central America, one of the largest and most successful indigenous cultures in the world, with more than 2000 years of rich and vibrant history. For decades, he travelled through the region carrying tons of equipment on mule trains through the jungle and created the first glass plate photographs and plaster casts of some of the most important ancient Maya art from the region. More than 100 years later, Google Arts & Culture and the British Museum are picking up where Maudslay left off. Now, visitors from around the world can explore the Maya’s rich heritage online and learn about their achievements in art, architecture, astronomy, mathematics and language.”