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3D digitisation finds use for museum archiving

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A system for making digital scans of 3D objects, with uses ranging from the digitisation of museum pieces to allowing scientists to scan in natural objects for further study, has been developed by high-tech company 3DDynamics.

3DDynamics, located near Antwerp (Belgium), develops hardware and software solutions for digitising any object. Its Mephisto Extreme system, consisting of a high-quality projector and two synchronised digital cameras, projects a raster onto the original object which is captured by a digital camera from Allied Vision Technologies. From the projection of the raster onto the object, the Mephisto Software derives its volumes with the highest possible precision and generates the virtual model.

A high-resolution DSLR camera from Canon's consumer line records the object's surface colours and patterns, which are then transferred by the software onto the 3D model.

A Pike F-210B digital camera from Allied Vision Technologies provides high-quality image data to ensure a high-precision scan. The camera is equipped with a highly sensitive Kodak sensor with HD resolution. Image data is transferred via a high-speed IEEE1394b interface to the system PC at a rate of up to 30fps.

'We found a top-flight, dependable camera in the AVT Pike, one that is best equipped to meet our high demands,' said Aivaras Grauzinis, CTO of 3DDynamics. 'Above all, the high image quality, especially the high light sensitivity with low noise, is essential for the quality of the scan. At 30 images per second at HD resolution, the image rate is more than satisfactory.'

The plug-and-play functionality of the FireWire connection also played an important role in camera selection. 'Mephisto Extreme is a portable system used by people who aren't necessarily experienced with professional imaging technology. The easy networking of the components with standard connections used in consumer electronics, like USB, FireWire and VGA, raises the comfort level for users,' continued Grauzinis.

Mephisto Extreme is the result of seven years' worth of research and development, and has already been in successful use in different applications for several years  – digitising biological samples in medical technology that are either dried, in wax or conserved in formaldehyde, is one example. Mephisto Extreme has also been used in dentistry. The Mephisto line includes other scanner models for every budget, using either the AVT Pike or AVT Guppy digital cameras.

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