Fraunhofer IGD from Darmstadt, Germany, works with Danish camera manufacturer Phase One to build the CultArm3D. A camera is mounted on a flexible robotic arm to scan objects which are then digitized. The digital copies can be stored for archiving without depreciation, shared with researchers, and showcased to visitors from around the world.
Artifacts to become timeless in digital formats
This helps museums, among others, to create digital twins of their inventory pieces and artworks so that they be browsed in virtual reality or through other means remotely. What is also special about the CultArm3D is that it can be transported, unboxed, and set up relatively easily, so that you don’t need to bring experts along, even if you’d only just rent the unit for some time.
Once set up, you place culturally relevant objects on the scanning platform, and the robotic arm will process the imaging work on its own, and the results can be viewed in 3D and saved in 3D-model file formats. Depending on the size of the object which needs to be scanned and converted, the CultArm3D can be set up in three different ways, accommodating small things like coins and tools just as much as larger-than-life statues of ancient times.
Improve research and leverage for virtual tours
But why is that even necessary? Pedro Santos, department head at the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research IGD, explains, “3D models are tremendously important for research and can help improve our understanding of objects and their origins as well as analyze their attributes. They also serve as the basis for visualization in virtual and augmented reality, and when using 3D printing to create true-color physical replicas”.
The system has already been tested in realistic environments. The Getty in Los Angeles, the REM in Mannheim, the Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel (MHK), the Saalburg, and the Keltenwelt am Glauberg have completed projects to digitize some parts of their collections. Next to archiving and remote collaboration, another potential use case could be to make the items available to a broader audience for research or to offer virtual tours for guests.
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Museums who are interested in using the CultArm3D can reach out to Fraunhofer IGD directly. Phase One plans to offer the product for sale in 2022.
Video: Teaser – The CultArm3D in action
Photo credit: All material shown is owned by Fraunhofer IGD and was provided to us with permission for press usage.
Source: Fraunhofer IGD press release