Autodesk Helps Museum Capture 3D Digital Models of Egyptian Mummies

Reality Capture Experts Working to Create Ground Breaking Interactive Exhibit

The Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities (Medelhavsmuseet) in Stockholm, Sweden is pioneering an entirely new way for visitors to interact with a collection of six ancient mummies. Instead of staring into glass cases to see only the surface of each mummy, what if visitors could operate a large touch-screen, digital table display allowing them to rotate 3D images and explore the inside secrets each mummy holds? Thats the goal behind a remarkable digital reality capture project that kicked off this month and will lead to a ground breaking, interactive permanent exhibit slated to open in February of 2014.

A dream team of experts has been assembled to tackle the challenge of making the Museums vision of an interactive 3D exhibit a reality. Contributors include representatives from the Interactive Institute Swedish ICT, Norrkping Visualization Center C, the Center for Medical Imaging and Visualization (CMIV), the Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities, FARO (maker of advanced computer-aided measurement and imaging devices and software) and Autodesks Tatjana Dzambazova, senior product manager in the Reality Capture group.

Each artifact was set up in a room surrounded by white screens to provide a neutral background for digital photos to be imported into Autodesk ReCap to generate 3D models.

The team has already achieved several milestones in just two weeks of work this month. The first step involved forensic experts scanning each mummy using state-of-the-art dual energy Computer Tomography (CT). The dual energy CT scan not only revealed the interior in very high detail, but it also revealed the type of material from which different objects inside the mummy are made. The dual energy technique enabled these objects to be visualized individually in greater detail than ever before.

Early visualization of CT scan – forensic experts scanned each mummy using state-of-the-art dual energy Computer Tomography (CT)

Next, Tatjana and colleagues from Interactive Institute Swedish ICT and FARO conducted a surface scan using a combination of photogrammetry and laser scanning to digitally capture the intricate surfaces, colors and textures of the multilayered mummies (the Egyptians would wrap the body in multiple layers of cloth, and often encase the body in multiple coffins, or sarcophagi). Digital photo and laser scan data was then imported into Autodesk ReCap to help create High-quality 3D data.

Autodesk ReCap software simplifies the process of documentation by creating contextual 3D digital data of physical objects and environments with laser scans and photos, said Tatjana. This mummy exhibition is a new exciting application of reality capture technology because it demands incredible quality to deliver interactive, highly appealing visual content to engage visitors.

With the initial reality capture phase complete, the next phase of the project will be to bring all of the interior and surface data together to provide the foundation for the innovative real-time digital, interactive table display experience to be developed by the Interactive Institute Swedish ICT.

For More Information

Read the Interactive Institute Swedish ICTnews release announcing the project and the webpagededicated to the project

See a fun time lapse videoand photos of the photo capture process. Source: Institute Swedish ICT

See video of two preliminary 3D models created using Autodesk ReCap Photo and a video showing first mesh results received from Autodesk ReCap, and rendered in Autodesk Maya. Source: Autodesk + Institute Swedish ICT

See a video of the interactive digital table display (called the Inside Explorer) developed by the Interactive Institute Swedish ICT, and that will be used to stage the 3D mummy content.

Read feature on the project posted on the Museums Facebook page

Visit Autodesks websitefor everything about Autodesk ReCap, a remarkable reality capture technology introduced this year that makes it possible to quickly create intelligent 3D data from photos and scans.