Thursday, January 31, 2013

Interesting and useful new tool

Centre for Image Analysis at Uppsala university has developed a very interesting tool that could be used for historical datasets. It is used to piece fragments of an object together and reconstruct the object. The obvius use could be for pottery or human bones, espacially sculls. The input to the system is 3d-scans of the different pieces. The software analysis the pieces and makes an rough alignment. Then with the help of a haptic device the researcher can put the pieces together and try to make them fit exactly.
This would be useful when working with very fragile objects that shouldn't be touched too much. Just 3d-scan them and then put the scans in this system and once it is there, they can be handled without risking any damage to the objects.
The Humanities lab sent them three pieces of a clay plate to test the system. Here is a video showing how the system is used.

We will soon send them 15 pieces of a scull that will be very interesting to see if the system can handle as well.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Visualizations for an exhibition

The Humanities lab are involved in a really interesting project at the moment. We work together with the Historical museum in Stockholm in preparing an exhibition that will start next year. Part of it is about the battle of Visby in 1361. Visby is the largest city of Gotland, which is a big island to the east of Sweden. In 1361 it was invaded by the Danish army and in the middle of the summer there was a terrible battle just outside of Visby. The local army, consisting mainly of peasants, boys and older men, was no match for the professional and experienced Danish army and it is estimated that 50% of the male population at Gotland at the time was killed in the battle.

A skull with 11 damages from three different weapons
The exhibition will tell an exciting, but also horrible and nasty story about how people was sacrificed, died, and was buried in several mass graves outside the city wall. The skeletal remains in the graves bear witness of terrible wounds. What happened on the battlefield? How was it to be in the heat of battle, cornered between the high wall and the Danish army? The Historical museum would like to envisage some of this and we are helping out with part of the visualizations. 

A chopped off foot
First we are 3d-scanning some of the skeletal remains with clear traces of different weapons. It is three skulls, one arm, one leg and a chopped off foot. We are using a NextEngine scanner to do this job. Just to make sure, we have taken a lot of pictures as well, that could be used in PhotoScan.

The museum has hired an expert in medieval weaponry and weapon techniques and he has analyzed the wounds very carefully. Based on this analysis he could reenact the most probable movements with the most probable weapons used to inflict the different wounds. We, of course, put him in our motion capture system to record these movements so we can use them as a base for the animations that will be done to visualize what happened. 

The long axe is prepared with mocap markers