Limitations of the UMW 3D Laser Scanners

So far the process of 3D laser scanning has been one of my group’s greatest challenges. We met with our technical support a couple of times to learn about the different laser scanners and how to use them. Feeling confident that we could successfully scan the objects, we arranged for the museum curator to bring the bicorne hat and the wedding shoe to UMW for us to scan last week. We tried to scan the shoe first and found that the laser scanner could not distinguish between the black heel and the black rotating platform of the scanner. Then we tried to raise the height of shoe by setting it  on a book covered with a piece of paper. The scan successfully captured the form of the shoe, but it did not apply color, resulting in a lumpy gray object. We found out that neither of the rotating scanners apply color, despite that being one of the requirements we listed when we were learning about the scanners.

Yesterday we decided to try to scan the hat at the James Monroe Museum. Initially, we were going to try to use the Xbox Kinect laser scanner. However, first we had problems connecting to the museum’s internet, and then we were unable to get the computer program to recognize the scanner. We ultimately decided to place the hat and its mount on top of a stool to enable us to scan it with the Structure Sensor scanner on the iPad. The base of the hat’s mount reflected light, so the scanner was unable to focus on the hat. Fortunately, we were able to cover the base with paper, allowing us to scan the hat. We found that the Structure Sensor was able to capture the hat’s form and overall color pattern. However, it was not able to scan a deep crevice created by the brim, resulting in a hole in the 3D image. The Structure Sensor was limited in that the image must be scanned at once and cannot be edited or stitched together with another image. Finally, we also had problems getting the file from the iPad because it had to be emailed and the iPad was not connected to the internet.

Hopefully we will be able to find out how to successfully use the Xbox Kinect scanner or be able to check out the school’s laptop since internet access is problematic for the iPad at the museum. We could also try to bring the objects to UMW where we could use either scanner, although it is difficult to find times that work for both the curator and the scanning expert when the room the scanners are in is not occupied.

Wikipedia and Creative Commons

Wikipedia: I decided to look at the history and discussion tabs for extensive subjects like the American Civil War and Thomas Jefferson. Curiosity also drove me to look at a controversial topic, so I looked at the history  and discussion tab for the 2012 Benghazi attacks. There actually seemed to be very little debate on each of these topics. Similarly, most of the editors seemed to be standardizing the format of the content and fixing grammar and punctuation problems. Occasionally, people responded to requests for additional citations by adding links to new sources. I was expecting there to be more content changes for the 2012 Benghazi attacks page. However, there was only one instance of someone deleting content without justification in the page’s recent revision history. Consistent with Jimmy Wales’s description of how Wikipedia works, someone who was watching the page fixed the deletion within minutes.

Creative Commons: Although my group would have to consult with the James Monroe Museum about which Creative Commons license they believe is most appropriate, I think the Attribution-Noncommercial license would probably work best. Since the objects are owned by a nonprofit, I do not see the museum wanting someone to use the 3D laser scans and videos for commercial purposes. However, the Attribution-Noncommercial license would allow people to improve or build on these resources for research and educational purposes. Not requiring users to license their new creations under the same terms as us would give them greater flexibility and encourage the use of our material.

3D Laser Scanning Project Updates

This week we searched for  plugins to allow us to embed the  3D laser scans in our Omeka website. The only plugin we found required  the browser to be able to support it, so we’re going to continue to search for plugins and use the SketchFab website to host the  scans if necessary. Fortunately, SketchFab is free and the scans would remain the propert of the James Monroe Museum.

Dr. McClurken also asked our group to consider ways to expand the scope of our project. After consulting with the museum, we decided to make short videos of the curator talking about the objects we scan. We plan on keeping the videos basic with a very brief introduction to the museum, object, and curator before cutting to the curator discussing the object. The video will end with links to the museum’s website and our project website.


Progress and Thoughts on the Laser Scanning Project

My group members and I have held several meetings to learn about UMW’s 3D laser scanners, objects at the James Monroe Museum, and digital tools to make our website. We learned that UMW has a variety of laser scanners including a portable scanner that attaches to an iPad, a portable scanner with a turntable for small objects, and a larger scanner capable of scanning a person. In our consultation with the James Monroe Museum, we decided that we are going to try to scan five objects including one of Monroe’s outfits, his hat, dueling pistols, a shoe, and a chair associated with Lafayette.

At the moment, one of our greatest concerns is finding ways to present the scans of the objects online. Because the museum prefers the Dublin Core system, we plan on creating a website for the project using Omeka. However, Omeka does not have a plugin for displaying 3D files. After consulting with the DKC, we think we might create a SketchFab account to host the 3D files, linking the pages to our Omeka website. Using SketchFab would also present new opportunities for attracting an audience. Our descriptions of the objects on SketchFab would be aimed at educating a broader audience and encouraging them to visit the James Monroe Museum, while our Omeka site would have a scholarly research orientation.