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Education Science

Smithsonian Releases 3D Models of Artifacts 47

plover writes "The Seattle Times reports, 'The Smithsonian Institution is launching a new 3D scanning and printing initiative to make more of its massive collection accessible to schools, researchers and the public worldwide. A small team has begun creating 3D models of some key objects representing the breadth of the collection at the world's largest museum complex. Some of the first 3D scans include the Wright brothers' first airplane, Amelia Earhart's flight suit, casts of President Abraham Lincoln's face during the Civil War and a Revolutionary War gunboat. Less familiar objects include a former slave's horn, a missionary's gun from the 1800s and a woolly mammoth fossil from the Ice Age. They are pieces of history some people may hear about but rarely see or touch.' So far they have posted 20 models, with the promise of many more to come." They even have a model supernova remnant.
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Smithsonian Releases 3D Models of Artifacts

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  • by Joining Yet Again ( 2992179 ) on Friday November 15, 2013 @07:09PM (#45439233)

    Well, that's a fairly sophisticated if culturally aware euphemism.

  • by grub ( 11606 ) <> on Friday November 15, 2013 @07:19PM (#45439291) Homepage Journal

    I want to print a 3D model of Washington's wooden teeth and put them in my RealDoll!
  • Yawn. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Wake me up when they've scanned the original Enterprise.

    • Wake me up when they've scanned the original Enterprise.

      That would be quite a feat, considering that that one was burned in 1777 [] to prevent it's capture by the British.

      • by matfud ( 464184 )

        History is funny like that. The George renamed the Enterprise. A whole slew of ships named after that captured ship. Some may say stolen. It was most cerainly an Enterprising appropriation :)

  • What about the secret bones in their basement??

    I hear they have bones of a long-dead race of giants with multiple rows of teeth and stuff.

    • by s.petry ( 762400 )

      According to reports, there were over 18,000 mummies sent to the Smithsonian, one a guy in a full set of copper armor with a copper crown. The Smithsonian claimed that they don't know what happened to them when sent inquiries.

      Numerous people in the 1800s started claiming that they should not send anything else to the institute lest they become "lost", but of course these city councilmen, archeologists, engineers, etc.. were just "crazy conspiracy theories".

      I think they should allow volunteers to start digg

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )
        Take your meds.
      • by Skater ( 41976 )

        How many American Indian artifacts are collecting dust? And those don't require any conspiracy theories to determine that they have a stash.

        They apparently have many in the facility in Suitland, MD, which occasionally does do tours, usually in conjunction with "____ history month" - for example they just did one for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Just hope none of the scanned historical artifacts happen to be guns or we're up for another round of hysteria.

  • bad license (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kevin Fishburne ( 1296859 ) on Friday November 15, 2013 @08:11PM (#45439717) Homepage []

    Hopefully those models aren't covered under their site's general license (bans commercial use), as it would be awesome to be able to use these in games.
    • No need to worry about how free it is. Autodesk did it.

  • These days, just bringing the STL file to school might get you expelled.

  • Try some of the links from the article.

    The system is really cool - you can rotate and view a mastodon skeleton (or supernova model) from any angle, it works in the browser, and it's really fast (on my machine, at least).

    You can change the material color/texture, change the lighting properties & angle, take a slice of the 3-d image(!), put down a measuring tape, add annotations, then generate a link to that image.

    I couldn't find a way to download the model, but you can file->save the web page, and it

    • Okay, it's even more awesome.

      On the downloads page [] you can download the models in various forms - point cloud, mesh, and so on. Different formats, depending on the method used to get the model data (cat scan, laser scan, photographic, &c).

      They mention in the about page [] that it would take 247 years of work 24/7 to capture the entire collection.

      We could hire 247 people and get the entire collection online in 3 years (8 hour shifts). At $50,000 per person, that's about $13 million per year(*). Compare to t

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I've always wanted to be able to virtually browse exhibits like this in 3D with full historic data on the side like this. This is awesome! Way to go Smithsonian!

  • I think it would be pretty cool, and possibly not that difficult, if gamers could discover some of these Smithsonian objects in the dungeons of RPGs. That really could add immersion and, well... a bit of reality!
    • Actually . . . if we could convince the game industry that it would be a good idea . . . then maybe they could provide the funding for it . . . ?

      Image Grand Theft Auto, with a character with "President Abraham Lincoln's face during the Civil War" stealing "a woolly mammoth fossil from the Ice Age"!

  • I'm going to use my 3D printer to print out my OWN artifacts and have my OWN Smithsonian and collect all that delicious entrance fee money...
    What do you mean its free to get in to their museums!?
    • I'm going to use my 3D printer to print out my OWN artifacts and have my OWN Smithsonian and collect all that delicious entrance fee money...

      With blackjack? And hookers []?

      • You jest, but there's probably a deeper conversation about property rights.... No one is up in arms about the wonton copying and reproduction of someone else's work since the original owners are long since dead.

        But wait 100 years and see what happens when someone wants to recreate a 2013 -era Nike shoe.
  • Back then it was fire, brimstone, and buckshot.

  • You just know next Halloween everybody with a 3D printer is going to be a very accurate Abraham Lincoln.

"Now this is a totally brain damaged algorithm. Gag me with a smurfette." -- P. Buhr, Computer Science 354