23 December 2010

Preserving Time in 3D

A computer science Professor hopes to use open-source software and super-high resolution photos to capture three-dimensional lifelike models of the world's treasures, effectively preserving their current state. Under the plans, a sequence of many thousands of super-high resolution photographs taken in batches from several angles would be stitched together to form detailed pictures and then rendered into 3D form. The effect would reveal minute detail of an object rendered in 3D, allowing future generations to view objects in their present state.

Researchers used a US$1,184 camera, an 800mm lens, a robotic arm and a free open-source application that combined some 11,000 18-megapixel images. The 150 billion-pixel photo was shrunk down to a small image to allow for manual smoothing out the brightness variation between the combined photos. The changes took about three weeks and then mapped onto a larger image. The 700GB photo took about a week to upload to the internet, and was processed with a standard PC beefed up with 24GB of RAM.

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