May.14, 2013

The Smithsonian has been using 3D printing and 3D scanning for some time now. What can you do to bring some of the Smithsonian's 137 million objects to life? The Smithsonian decided to use laser arm scanners to preserve its collection.

Vince Rossi and Adam Metallo, two researchers work in the Smithsonian's 3D Digitization Program Office, lead the project. They work with laser scanners to create high resolution, three-dimensional digital models of these objects.

"The main purpose of 3D scanning an exhibit like this is to have an archive of what an exhibit of this era might have looked," Metallo says. "This is a documentation for folks in the future to know what a museum experience here was like."

Vince Rossi and Adam Metallo are working full time to document, in very high three-dimensional detail, these priceless and important collections for future generation. They dream of digitizing all 137 million of the objects in the Smithsonian's collections. At the moment only 2% of the objects are displayed in its museums. And these 3D digital models could be printed and sent to local museums, or viewed digitally on a computer screen anywhere in the world.

"There's one specimen that's on display two stories up in the air," Metallo says. "Now, instead of a researcher having to get up on a scissor lift to look at it, we can just email him the digital model."

Watch the video below how the team captured a digital copy of the Philadelphia gunboat, America's oldest fighting craft.



Posted in 3D Scanning



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