Aug
03
2017

3D Technology Reveals the Face of Ancient Peruvian Female Ruler

FARO’s 3D Laser Scanning Technology used in reconstructing the face of a mysterious mummy, known as the Lady of Cao. She is believed to be a female leader of the Moche Civilization in Peru, which ruled more than 1,700 years ago.

Moche culture flourished approximately a thousand years before the Inca civilization in northern Peru. In 2005, a tomb was discovered in a mud-brick ruined pyramid near Trujillo, a city on the northwest coast of Peru known for being a site of the prehistoric Moche culture. Inside of this tomb was an intriguing bundle of cloth. This bundle preserved a mummified female body covered in elaborate tattoos – of snakes, spiders and supernatural motifs — along with jewelry, ornaments, crowns, and two scepters. This woman is now known as “The Lady of Cao”, the only known female ruler of the Moche Civilization.

The Lady of Cao mummy is currently in display in the Museum of “El Brujo” Archaeological Complex, near to Magdalena de Cao town, in northern Peru.  To preserve the mummy, she’s kept in a climate-controlled chamber and can only be viewed indirectly with the aid of a viewing window and mirror.

Wiese Foundation, the entity that sponsors the Museum, wanted the visitors to be able to admire the Lady of Cao more freely and have a permanent digital record of her remains for further preservation. To achieve this, the museum contacted the world’s most trusted source for 3D technology, FARO®. Through FARO’s state-of-the-art 3Dsolutions, it was possible to build a digital model of the mummy, 3D print a replica, and, using specialized software and forensic anthropology techniques, perform the facial reconstruction that would reveal to the world, for the first time, The Lady of Cao’s face.

To achieve this goal, FARO and Wiese Foundation, along with 3D Systems®, Grupo Abstract and ARQ 3D+, assembled an international team of experts formed of archaeologists, anthropologists, forensic scientists and 3D technology experts.

The process began by 3D scanning the mummy’s face using a turnkey 3D scanning solution tailored for forensic anthropology, crime lab, and medical examination applications. This solution consisted of  high-resolution, fast-speed 3D scanners, the  FARO Design ScanArm®  paired with 3D Systems’ Geomagic®Wrap and Geomagic®Freeform® software.

Here’s a breakdown of the digital reconstruction process:

  • The FARO Design ScanArm was used to digitize the mummy by 3D scanning the surface area and collecting thousands of accurate, high-resolution digital points.
  • These digital points, known as point clouds, were then processed in the Geomagic software to create an accurate and realistic 3D model.
  • Forensic artists and anthropologists used photographs and anthropological investigations of the Moche Civilization descendants to generate hand-drawn sketches of the features of the face of the Lady of Cao.
  • The 3D model and anthropological drawings were then combined in the software and a full facial reconstruction occurred
  • Once the Lady of Cao’s virtual face was constructed, the team used numerous ethnographic research documents to add the final finishing details such as pores, wrinkles, expression, details in lips, eyes, forehead, eyebrows, and hair.

 

Thanks to this effort of this multidisciplinary talent and state-of-the-art 3D technology, the face of this remarkable and historic character of pre-Hispanic culture has been brought to life and revealed to the world.

If you want to learn more about the use of FARO’s 3D solutions in forensic reconstruction and cultural heritage preservation, click here.

Jul
24
2017

ARENA2036

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the motor car in 2036, FARO along with other key stakeholders have formed a private partnership named ARENA2036.  The main objective of ARENA2036 is to prepare the the way for the automotive production of the future in order.

The factory of the future must be able to optimise itself in order to be more flexible and agile than the current rigid production lines. FARO innovation manager, Dr. Denis Wohfeld is organising the Digital Shadow project which involves an updated actual model of reality that can enable the planning and simulation of the factory of the future.  He believes that this can be done by having sensors that scan the shop floor and also access the IT systems from the whole network and hardware installations. This will allow the data to flow together to form one model, a virtual representation of the entire factory.

In order for the factory to evolve with Industry 4.0, expert measuring and imaging technology to support the reshaping of production processes and working environments is required. FARO offers a wide variety of high precision solutions including tactile measuring arms and laser scan technology for the non-contact recording of objects. In addition to the measuring technology, FARO also offers various software solutions that provide a platform for integrated communication between all measuring systems as well as interfaces to all common software applications. This allows users to record measured data very quickly in multi-sensory mode, helping organisations to cut costs for system integration.

The technology that FARO provides can strengthen companies at wage-intensive locations and therefore secure jobs. Moreover, by relieving employees of monotonous routine tasks that can be hazardous to their health, freedom is created for areas of work that requires their creativity such as product development.

Read More.

Jul
07
2017

Sacred Scanning Interiors

Toward the end of last summer, after he had finished his scans of Baroque churches in Rome and Turin and was back in his Meyerson Hall office, Andrew Saunders began sending massive batches of data to the cloud. He had scanned the interiors of each sumptuous church from multiple vantages, using a top-of-the-line LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) scanner. At the high-resolution setting he used, each scan comprised about 15 million points, with less than a centimeter separating each point. The trick was to get all the scans to mesh together, without overlaps or gaps.
“We’d send 200 million points to the cloud—up to 90 gigabytes—and two or three days later, we’d get back an email” from Autodesk, a California-based software firm, recalls Saunders, an associate professor of architecture. “One time it has a smiley face and says, ‘Congratulations! Your mesh worked. You can download it.’ Other times, after two days you get a frown face that says, ‘Sorry, it didn’t work.’ It’s really kind of a blind process.”
But once they meshed, he says: “All of a sudden you’re seeing these churches as nobody’s ever seen them before.”
 
Space may seem infinite, ubiquitous, even timeless.But confine it to the interior of a soaring, wildly complex Baroque
structure—say, Guarini’s Church of San Lorenzo in Turin—and it becomes, in the right hands, with the right technology, something else altogether.
“It’s essentially an argument for space as an object,” says the 42-year-old Saunders, who speaks openly and quickly, with a certain professional dryness. That argument is at the heart of his Baroque Topologies project, which he unveiled at Charles Addams Hall last winter, and which he is now writing up in book form. (Publication details are still being worked out.)
Even the term space, as a component of architecture, is relatively new, he points out. “Frank Lloyd Wright in the ’20s was the first one to really use it. It’s kind of a contemporary concept, and I think it’s continuing to change.”
For those inclined to regard space as an object as gaseous academic theory, consider this: you can, with the right technology, print out the objectified space on a 3D printer. (On a reduced scale, of course, which is a good thing for any building housing that printer.) It’s the equivalent of filling each church to the top with Jell-O, shrinking it down to a tiny fraction of its original size, and removing it. Except that Saunders’ translucent photopolymer resin molds have far more detail and articulation, right down to the non-space that had been occupied by altar cherubs and high-flying angels.

On the computer screen, these digital renderings are protean, morphing at the click of a mouse from solid 3D printouts to

ghostly X-rays to a sort of internal death mask. They are also strange and toothsome eye candy.
The images “force us to see complex buildings with fresh eyes,” says Joseph Connors, a professor of art history and architecture at Harvard who specializes in the Italian Renaissance and Baroque. “Their beauty and their strangeness shock us into new recognitions of buildings we thought were familiar. They reify space, making it into a sculpted substance in which the contained takes on life, even when the enclosing container is peeled away.
The buildings always had a strange beauty, but now they have shock value too,” he adds. “It is as though the familiar bust of Homer on our desk were suddenly replaced by the brain of Homer.” At times, the freshness borders on hallucination. One rendering brings to mind an ornate Japanese robot. Another suggests a rococo decanter. A third, an exquisitely decorated fire hydrant. “It’s something that leaves us curious, excited, and perplexed at the same time,” says Guido Zuliani, an architect who teaches at the Chanin School of Architecture at Cooper Union. “Because it’s all new, and because of the beauty of these things, it may be deceiving, but there is an intellectual chain—in terms of the Baroque, in terms of architectural analysis, and in terms of a different model of understanding an architectural object.”
Unlike Renaissance or Modernist architecture, the Baroque is “so completely complex,” says Saunders. “It has so much articulation. It’s always about blurring thresholds between painting, sculpture, architecture, the city.” In a recent talk, he described the space of Baroque interiors as a “maelstrom of pressure and forces with a paradoxical desire of purely mathematical speculation and religious mysticism bound in a taut envelope.”
Connors paints an eloquent picture of what we perceive when we enter, for example, Bernini’s Sant’ Andrea al Quirinale and gaze upwards: “the dome we see is a fiction of superimposed structures: ribs inside coffers that diminish perspectivally to
expand the surface that covers us.” Saunders’ models, he explains, not only show such vaults “with the clarity of a high-resolution photograph, but they also show the space the dome contains. We have the illusion that we can run our hands over space and feel its contours and inflections.” For Saunders, those “deep, withdrawn, interior spaces are really amazing to study because they’re so cut off from the exterior.”
“They’re just their own sort of worlds,” he adds. “Any kind of light, even natural light, is usually indirect or very far or bouncing back.
You never get a direct view out of them—they’re just kind of deep chasms that you enter into.”
Before traveling to Italy last summer, Saunders flew to Florida for a training session on the FARO Laser Scanner Focus 3D X 130, which can scan at nearly a million points per second and has a range of 130 meters.
“I found that it’s being used mostly in criminology and surveying,” he says. “In architecture and historic preservation, it’s used to look at a very specific piece, not an entire building.”
Had he been forced to buy the scanner, it would have wiped out the entire $50,000 University Research Fund grant he had procured to cover his expenses in Italy. Fortunately, FARO agreed to lend him one for a month, gratis.
Autodesk also allowed him to use, among other things, its ReCap (for Reality Capture) and ReMake software. Without their ability to generate high-resolution meshes, he says, he never would have been able to make the renderings.
“Autodesk has been a huge, huge help,” he adds. “Right now this is a very big realm, not just for Baroque historical analysis—which it is but even for the industry: engineering, architecture. Because they’re trying to figure out how to work with this large amount of data within their typical tools for making construction documents or representation. The stuff that we’re doing wasn’t even possible to do
weeks ago. We’re working with Autodesk and changing the algorithms for how they’re processing all of this stuff.”
Autodesk was thinking mainly of industrial designers and engineers when it started its cloud computing service, he explains. “They’re scanning a lot of infrastructure, oil platforms, things with a huge number of pipes and services, and they want to make sure that what- ever new thing they’re putting in doesn’t collide with anything. So they scan them and make them into meshes, and use them for collision detection. Then all of a sudden 18 Baroque churches start rolling through. And they’re like, What is this stuff? They got really interested.”
Tatjana Dzambazova, Autodesk’s senior product manager and “technology whisperer,” confirms that when she and her colleagues “started making the tech, we were thinking of architects, engineers, contractors.” But, she adds, “disruptors like Andrew show us that when smart, curious, caring people are given new technological tools, they think of ways they can push the boundaries of their profession, which so often go beyond what we, the makers of that same tech, ever had in mind.”
During his time in Rome,  Saunders focused mainly on the churches of Borromini, Bernini, Cortona, and Rinaldi. Then he headed north to Turin, where Guarini represented a “natural progression from Borromini, about 50 to 100 years later,” he explains. The progression “basically charts an evolution of the Baroque central plan in High Baroque from 1600 to 1700 in Rome, and then 1700 to 1750 in Turin.”
One doesn’t just wander into those venerable edifices and start scanning, though. Permission requires supplicating local and national layers of state and church bureaucracy. “That was one of the most challenging aspects,” he admits. “It started slowly, but then I started to make really good contacts and was able to access quite a few.” By the time he left Rome, he had been able to scan most of its important Baroque churches, apart from those in security-crazed Vatican City. One morning, at the Church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini in Rome, he made his way into a tiny underground crypt—the Falconiere Crypt—designed by Borromini.
“Not many people know about it,” he says. “You have to go into this two-foot passageway to get down there. So I went down into it, and I scanned it, and I came back out.”
Tried to, anyway. By then a “full-on mass” was under way.
“I just couldn’t come out with my scanner in the middle of mass,” he says. “There was no way to escape. So I spent the entire mass underground in this crypt. It was very small, and kind of creepy.”
Back in the old days of scanning —say, two or three years ago—“people had to use physical targets,” Saunders explains. “You would have to plant spheres around the site, or targets that you would pin up on walls. When you came back to register the scans, or composite them together so that they overlapped, you would have to find the spheres yourself and kind of stitch the pieces back together. But now the software and algorithms have gotten so advanced that they can find patterns and automatically register
and scan and put everything together.”
Even so, “in the case of someone like Bernini, where there’s so much figuration and columns within columns, you could scan for days and still miss parts,” he acknowledges. “So one of the things my research assistant [Ariel Cooke-
Zamora GAr’19] has been doing is patching and cleaning up all these areas.”
In Cooke-Zamora’s view, the Baroque Topologies project has transformed laser scanning “from a surveying tool to a
representational one,” with serious benefits for architecture students.
“I’m very lucky to have been one of the first people to see these churches in this way,” he says. “Orbiting around the point cloud grants the viewer perspectives that have never been seen—not even by the architect himself.”
Connors compares some of Saunders’ digital renderings to certain “astounding drawings” by Borromini, which “give us
the impression that we are seeing through structures as in an X-ray.” This same quality, he adds, “is evident when we see, in Saunders’ models, [Borromini’s] buildings as though they had turned to glass and we could look through them as we fly above them. They are images that grab us by the shoulders and shake us into new perceptions of Baroque architecture.”
When he taught a graduate seminar on Baroque architecture this past spring, Saunders and his high-tech renderings were able to address a longstanding problem for students of the genre. The architects left no blueprints behind, and had often improvised as they went along. As a result, he says, any plans they did draw up usually “have little to do with what actually gets built.” True, there are plenty of photographs to study, but those two-dimensional representations seldom capture the full three-dimensional realities.
“Oftentimes I found that an architectural drawing of, say, Bernini’s Sant’ Andrea al Quirinale did not match the existing form of the church,” says Cooke-Zamora. And until now, “a student doing a formal analysis of these works would have had to model the space using existing—often scarce or inaccurate—reference images.”
“We went from students finding four or five photographs and squinting at them, trying to figure out what the three-dimensionality is, to printing fragments by someone like Vittone—not having to visualize; just 3D-printing it, like they’re printing pieces of this church to analyze,” says Saunders. “It’s kind of mind-blowing.”
The scans make for a “night-and-day difference,” he adds. “Within two weeks, the students really know the difference between Cortona, Rinaldi, Borromini.”
“One thing I saw in some of the work of Andy’s seminar was the possibility to deconstruct the object differently, to understand differently the layers and strata of this kind of activation of space,” says Guido Zuliani. “The work raises the possibility of taking certain moldings or decorations and analyzing them separately from the rest of the building with incredible precision, which will elimi-
nate some of the ambiguities or guessing that is normally done.
“It is a little bit early to understand the range of possibilities,” he adds, “but the range is really big.”
For Saunders, teaching the only course in PennDesign’s Master of Architecture sequence that covers architectural history before 1850—and doing it with laser scans and 3D printouts—is a rewarding kind of time warp.
“I enjoy that,” he says simply. “It’s very Baroque.”
Jun
23
2017

3D Scanner Company of the Year

We are delighted to inform you that FARO has won the award for the 3D scanner company of the year !

“Given the standard of our fellow nominees competing for the prestigious 3D scanner company of the year award, we were delighted with our success,” enthused Dave Southam, Regional Manager Europe North at FARO Technologies. “As FARO scanners are particularly suited to the demands of the 3D printing industry our sales in this exciting global sector continue to grow at a phenomenal rate.

 

Read More.

Jun
07
2017

FARO Tracer M Laser Projector for Factory Metrology

FARO has recently launched the Tracer M Laser Projector. This new solution allows users to reduce the expensive delays associated with the alignment and assembly of large components, help improve process precision, and negate the need for physical templates and hard tooling.

The Tracer M uses Advanced Trajectory Control (ATC) to deliver fast projection. ATC provides superior dynamic accuracy and a rapid refresh rate which minimizes flicker. Photogrammetric targets are used to enable the best fit alignment of the projected image onto the surface or object, thereby allowing the projected image to be consistent with the CAD model.

For larger assemblies and for use in space-constrained areas, multiple Tracer M projectors can be controlled from a single workstation to provide large-scale virtual templates in one coordinate system. The risk of human error and costly scrap during assembly is significantly reduced, in addition, manufacturers are able to avoid the time and expense associated with using large, heavy templates.

 

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Apr
04
2017

Point clouds point the finger for law enforcement and public safety

Daniel Oxley, Account Manager – Public Safety, Europe North, FARO Technologies UK Ltd discusses how the ability to precisely scan and capture important macro and micro crime- and incident-scene information can revolutionise forensics and legal proceedings

Advances in 3D scanning technology and its associated hardware have created a new paradigm in the ability to interrogate crimes and incident scenes in more detail than ever before. As well as measuring and preserving minute details, the technology will also speed up forensic processes and save significant legal time and costs.

With applications in arson, crime, homicide and accident analysis, to name but a few, the technology also removes many of the human factors and accidental biases that could skew or hinder subsequent investigations. By providing unaltered, unambiguous and unbiased total-scene coverage, the level of detail on offer really is a game changer.

Photos on their own are no longer adequate. The investigators may not photograph the whole scene or could accidentally miss items that may be vital to the ongoing investigation. With FARO’s 3D scanning technology this is no longer an issue, as it will record everything. Users cannot only capture the scene a lot quicker – saving up to three or four days and significant labour costs – but they will also have complete scene data. What is more it is all measurable. This is essential for automotive collisions or for comparison to personal-interrogation data from crime scenes, relating to suspect location, reach, attitude and position.

Primary point cloud data can be captured using an ultra-portable FARO S Series Laser Scanner, which scan can a scene to an accuracy of ±1 mm. Offering minimal set up, the unit is also self-levelling so is incredibly easy to use. Complementing the S Series scanner, and for hidden or tight-access areas, the Faro Freestyle Handheld Laser Scanner can provide extra detail for specific areas in static crime scenes or, thanks to its impressive portability, for crush events in vehicle accidents, where deformations can be easily recorded for further analysis. When additional levels of accuracy are required, for finer details in shoe prints, bite marks or tooling scrapes, the FARO Forensic Scan Arm is a portable contact/non-contact measurement system that offers a resolution of 0.05 mm – less than the thickness of a human hair.

To process and present the cloud data, FARO offers dedicated 2D- and 3D diagramming and advanced animation software, like FARO Zone 2D, Crash Zone, Crime Zone or the SCENE software. For example, using SCENE’s intuitive ribbon-based approach, users can leverage the software to not only view the scene, but also calculate suspect heights based on photos. Using optional modules, blood spatter origins can also be determined, as can bullet trajectories. Finally, for crime scene visualisation, in courtrooms for example, FARO’s Video Pro plug in for SCENE, allows users to navigate to any point and view scenes from any angle. Floors and roofs can be removed and videos can be created that can be shared and viewed on line or with virtual reality headwear.

With many judicial and law-enforcement applications already in place – including deployment by the International Criminal Court in Holland – 3D scanning is the new benchmark for fast, easy and accurate collection of vital scene data and it is already making a real difference in the world of forensics.

 

More information is available at http://www.faro.com

Mar
03
2017

Scan2Print

FARO, 3D Systems and Canon 3D Printing, will be co-hosting a Scan2Print event on Thursday 4th May 2017.

Taking place at the Canon Open Experience Centre, Uxbridge. the free event’s program will focus on the exciting opportunities delivered by the latest 3D Printing and 3D Scanning technologies, to enhance the efficiency of product design processes.

Real life customer examples will illustrate how informed manufacturers, engineers, and product designers are combining 3D Scanning and 3DPrinting to achieve record levels of productivity, efficiencies, and cost-reductions.

FARO’s advanced 3D solutions enables fully digital workflows by capturing real world geometry for the purposes of empowering design. The company’s advanced technologies allow innovations to be realised, faster design cycles to be completed, and not least, they enable users to become more competitive.

 

Date: 4th May 2017
Time: 9:30am – 2pm
Location: Canon Open Experience Centre, Uxbridge

 

Click here to view the Agenda.

Register here.

 

Feb
23
2017

Baroque Topologies

FARO Technologies are thrilled to have aided Andrew Saunders, Associate Professor from the University of Pennsylvania to accomplish his mission of collecting a digital archive of Baroque art and architecture.  Saunders, who works in the Department of Architecture travelled to Italy for six weeks in order to scan and archive some of the most prominent Italian Baroque architecture. Following the University of Pennsylvania’s commitment to ‘advancing the public good–both locally and globally–through art, design, planning, and preservation,’ the purpose of this project was to discover a superior method to digitally explore highly complex baroque architecture.

By using a FARO Focus3D X 130 laser scanner, data was captured showing the prospering evolution from the early and high baroque in Rome extending to the late baroque in the Piedmont Region in Northern Italy. The archive includes work from Francesco Borromini, Bernardo Vittone, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Pietro da Cortona Guarino Guarini, and Carlo Rainaldi. Precise 3D models were produced of the interior spaces of various churches which can now be viewed in full colour.

Taking into account that there were many challenges during this project, Andrew Saunders pointed out that the project would not have been possible without the contributions it received from its co-workers including FARO, Autodesk and the Italian contacts that made it possible to gain access to the scans.

FARO made a significant contribution to this project by providing a Focus3D X 130 laser scanner. This ultra-portable device allows users Topologies, FARO, University of Pennsylvania, baroque art, FAto record complex structures delivering realistic and true-to-detail scan results. The high resolution scanner has a range from 0.6m up to 30m and a distance accuracy of up to ±2mm. It also has a one million points per second scanning rate enabling fast, straightforward and accurate measurements of objects and buildings. FARO also offered software and training to those who had the responsibility of operating the laser scanner. The purpose of these scans was to create a comprehensive digital archive of the work. High resolution scans using the FARO Focus3D X 130 allowed verification, calibration and discovery of Baroque topologies.

Saunders stated, “The ability to capture, record and simulate increasingly larger sets of data, coupled with remote access to cloud computing and progressively more affordable additive fabrication technology, provides new opportunities and methods for understanding and assessing complexity and representation in architecture.”

The results from this project are extraordinary in many ways. The data that has been collected will now create digital access to some of the most prominent churches in the world, in a way that has never been available before. Furthermore, the captured scan data will allow experts to carry out reverse engineering of the algorithms behind the truly astounding baroque architecture.

However, the project is still not yet completed. It is intended that the archive will be used for in depth analysis and comparisons between the Italian churches. Moreover, The University of Pennsylvania School of Design will now work with Autodesk in order to make the archive available to the public as well as other students and scholars.

To access interactive 360 degrees views of the baroque architecture please click here. 

Feb
10
2017

Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office

The Clackamas Criminal Reconstruction and Forensic Team (CRAFT) is an inter-agency team with one full-time and 18 on-call Reconstructionists. They have traditionally been called in to investigate fatal and serious injury crashes in Clackamas County and to assist with crime-scene investigations. Because fatal crashes were causing lengthy roadway closures, the Clackamas County, Oregon CRAFT team was challenged with limiting road closure time and opening roadways faster. As a result, the team decided to use the FARO Focus3D X 330 scanner as a solution to thier problem.

clackamans county sherrif's office 2

The capabilities of the laser scanner have allowed for a more flexible approach to utilizing the CRAFT resources on a variety of calls, including those they otherwise had not been able to re-spond to prior to adopting the scanning technology. Criminalist O’Neil commented on how effective the FARO scanner is at capturing crash and crime scenes, “By using the scanner, we spend less time on the scene, we get better data, and we can use a smaller crew. I prefer to have two people to set targets and move the scanner, but, if necessary, I can do it all myself.” O’Neil calculated that using the FARO Focus3D X 330 scanner has saved the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) more than $28,000 in overtime costs injust 16 months of operation.”

CRAFT is now called out to scan scenes whenever there is an officer-involved shooting, an officer-involved crash, or where a county or city liability may exist. The Focus3D X 330 provides the investigators with a unique ability to accurately verify line of sight issues in a crash or shooting incident. According to Criminalist O’Neil, “In an officer-involved shooting, you can position the view of the point cloud to be at the officer’s eye level. As you move through the cloud, you can see the scene exactly as they saw it.”

 

Read More.

Feb
02
2017

Digital Time Capsule of an Experimental Lighthouse

There are quite a number of structures unique to London: Big Ben, the London Eye, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, to name a few. But even the most ardent of Londoners may not be aware of their city’s one and only lighthouse, which has been unassumingly tucked away in London’s East End since 1864. Maybe the lighthouse’s lack of acclaim is due to the fact that it doesn’t serve as a lighthouse at all.  Or that it never has, actually. From the outset, Trinity Buoy Wharf Lighthouse served as an experimental hub for pioneering lighting techniques to be implemented in lighthouses and lightships along the entire coast of Great Britain. The lighthouse’s design and construction was the brainchild of Sir James Douglass, who is best known for his work on the fourth Eddystone lighthouse at Rame Head. But Douglass was far from the only eminent Briton to work at Trinity Buoy Wharf Lighthouse. When oil and gas lighting were deemed obsolete, Michael Faraday, best known for his discoveries in electromagnetism, was commissioned to create and test different designs for electric lighting and lenses. He even set up a workshop on-site to have direct access to test his ideas.

lighthouse london blog pic

Beyond boasting an impressive historical record, the lighthouse is also an extremely well-preserved example of Victorian architecture, making it the perfect subject for a new technique in heritage preservation. It is an all too common and devastating development when a structure, which once stood in pristine condition, falls into such disrepair that it can no longer be visited or recognised. Any record that would have been pre-emptively collected would likely have been limited to photographs, written documents and short videos, none of which allow a visitor to experience the structure as it once stood.

Taking advantage of recent advances in cutting edge technology, a team of visual and audio engineers aims to change this trajectory. Using a laser scanner, the team first captures the dimensions of the structure of interest. The data is converted into a 3D model which is then rendered into a virtual reality environment. Using a virtual reality headset, a user is able to effectively “step into” the structure as if walking around the actual site. Strategically placed audio clips inform the user of the structure’s history, so he or she is left with a very powerful, immersive sensory experience highlighting the structure’s beauty and historical context. The team hopes that the project will set a precedent for heritage preservation so that more people can explore a repository of heritage sites as they currently stand rather than after they have fallen derelict, scattered as fragments, overgrown and forgotten.

To create the digital model, Adrian (pictured) used the FARO 3D X130 tripod-mounted laser scanner to gather point cloud data at 2mm precision of the entire exterior and interior of the lighthouse and adjoining chain store. The efficiency of the scanning allowed a general scan to be obtained in less than 6 hours.  For the more detailed objects like the singing bowls in the picture, Adrian used a FARO Scanner Freestyle3D. It’s hand-held design allows the user to capture all sides of an object in a single sweep rather than through multiple re-adjustments of a static scanner. The smaller size of Freestyle 3D also allows accessibility into hard-to-reach nooks and crannies that might prove impossible to capture with a static scanner. The only downside is looking like you are performing new-age yoga while gathering data. But who really cares when the data come out so darn good?



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