3DKIOSK – The Epoch 3D Multimedia Kiosk
A museum curator decides to make a new exhibition on the Etruscan period. He hires a company that digitizes the tiny golden brooches and small pieces of precious jewelry he is going to present. From a recent excavation campaign he purchases the scanned 3D datasets of the different strata of the archaeological site where the beautiful historic artifacts were found, as well as laser scans of the remains of houses, pillars, statues, etc. He puts all the digital artifacts into the 3D presentation software, chooses a theme (skin) that fits with the look of the physical exhibition, and uploads the new presentation to the 3D multimedia kiosks via network. In the exhibition, visitors can not only inspect the real, small artifacts behind glass, but also their virtual counterparts and this interactively and from all sides. Moreover, they can have a quick look at the archaeological site where they were found, which includes also a transparent overlay with a virtual reconstruction of the site.
A museum science-fiction tale? Computer scientists from Bonn, Braunschweig, Leuven and Pisa want to prove that this is possible. In the 3DKIOSK project they are currently collaborating to realize an integrated turnkey solution, specially tailored for the needs and requirements of museums. They are convinced that much more is possible than what can be found today in average museums. Interactive 3D should be a standard in museums, and this objective calls for affordable and easy to use technologiesm from 3D capturing up to 3D presentation authoring and visualisation.
Indeed, 3D processing involves an entire chain of steps, from different techniques to capture 3D data, over ways to clean up these data and integrate the results into models, up to ways of visualising the models. 3DKIOSK wants to offer novel solutions for each of these levels. For the authoring of 3D presentations it wants to develop a kind of 3D Powerpoint, for instance.
At the level of 3D data acquisition, it ventures into the use of special setups to not only capture 3D geometry, but also surface reflectance characteristics. ”In a museum setting visitors are usually confronted with relatively small artifacts of relatively high cultural value, the products of sophisticated arts and crafts. But we found that current 3D acquisition techniques, especially the predominant laser-range scanning, are totally insufficient in order to capture the beauty and richness of the interesting precious small-scale artifacts,” says professor Reinhard Klein (Bonn) “Therefore we will concentrate on the acquisition, compression and rendering of small sized artifacts with complex reflectance properties.”
At the same time, engineers in Leuven will provide solutions that may yield less precise models, but that require minimal hardware and infrastructure. Users will be given access to 3D data generated automatically on the basis of images that they have uploaded. The project will also offer an entire pipeline to edit the 3D data that have been acquired, including registration, cleaning, decimation, and remeshing tools.
Once the artifacts are digitized they must be brought to the public. Our authoring software for 3D presentations will be specially designed for museum professionals. The rendering frontend integrates both a module for viewing massive meshes, and a module for the visualisation of models with captured reflectance properties. It will be built upon an extensible open source scene graph engine, the OpenSG library.