Digitization is also indispensable in the fields of art & culture. The challenge: Preserving our cultural heritage digitally for posterity and making it accessible to the public today through accurate 3D scans.
(Darmstadt) How to safeguard our cultural heritage for the future is one of the most important topics of the European Year of Cultural Heritage. The important role of digitization is undisputed. From October 10–14, in parallel with the Frankfurt Book Fair, TheArts+ trade fair will focus on cultural assets and intellectual property in the digital age through networking between industry and the cultural scene. The Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research IGD will present its 3D scanning technologies, developed especially for digitizing cultural assets.
The term digital twin has long been established in industrial applications. Making a digital replica of all cultural assets should be a stated goal. Significant works of art endangered by environmental influences and disasters can be secured in their current state using digital “3D preservation” while also opening the door to worldwide research. Only a fraction of cultural-historical collection objects can be examined in museums. Comprehensive digitization can make previously unpublished artifacts accessible to the public through online catalogs. 3D models can also provide valuable data and make damage patterns more visible for restoration. This requires a realistic recording of all properties such as geometry, texture, and physical-optical material properties.
The Cultural Heritage Digitization Competence Center at the Darmstadt-based Fraunhofer IGD presents its newly developed 3D scanning technology CultArm3D-P at TheArts+. The robotic arm automatically scans the geometry and texture of previously unknown objects up to 50 cm in size. This is done on the basis of photogrammetry, that is, using methods that determine the dimensions and distance of an object based on image recordings. The 3D results are high-resolution and generally do not require any post-processing. Intelligent algorithms use a first scan to determine which others are needed subsequently. This allows the scan arm to independently plan the views required and capture any object with the optimum number of scans without the scanner having the CAD models. The result is a significantly reduced scan time of a maximum of 15 minutes. This unique feature makes CultArm3D-P the optimal and flexible solution to digitize any object in 3D. Within the framework of the project “Digital World Views Online: 3D Models of Historical Globes,” the robotic arm scanner will take over the 3D acquisition of historical earth and celestial globes from the archives of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena and the Anna Amalia Library. Only through colorfast and detailed digitization will the sometimes 800-years-old globes be virtually accessible to enthusiasts.
Visitors to the trade fair can see the benefits of the new scanning technology and learn more about the technological background and potential fields of application from on-site experts by visiting Fraunhofer IGD in Hall 4.1 at Booth Q90. On Wednesday, October 10, 2018, the head of Fraunhofer IGD, Prof. Dieter Fellner, will participate in a panel discussion on “How new technologies change the role of culture” in a micro-conference.
The photogrammetry-based scanning arm is a further development based on the digitization incubator CultLab3D, a development from the team of Pedro Santos that earned the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europe Nostra Award 2018. All stakeholders have emphasized the need for digitization at various events within the Year of Cultural Heritage. Implementation in practice, however, is difficult. Cultural institutions often have little experience or even fear of contact with new technologies such as 3D scanning — quite apart from the fact that the necessary financial resources for the acquisition and training of new programs and for the provision of necessary storage capacities are missing. Currently, a national research program for cultural heritage does not exist in Germany. This makes the development of new technologies with high image standards a tedious process and research ends up backlogged – along with the cultural institutions themselves. A desirable outcome of the European Year of Cultural Heritage would be concrete measures to develop digital infrastructure in the cultural sector.
Fraunhofer IGD at The Arts+
October 10–14, 2018, Frankfurt am Main
Hall 4.1, Booth Q90