The San Francisco Exploratorium has long been a place for kids and adults alike to explore science and technology, but it is moving. The Exploratorium is moving to the historic Embarcadero waterfront at pier 15 in 2013 and closing the current location in the Palace of Fine Arts in a couple weeks.
One of the people that the Exploratorium helped get interested in science and technology was Autodesk’s very own Brian Mathews who is now the Group CTO for the IPG group. Brian mentioned it made such an impact on him that he wanted to help document the existing Exploratorium in 3D using Reality Capture methods such as laser scanning and photogrammetry for historic preservation.
Laser scanning is where stationary laser scanning equipment such as the FARO Focus 3D projects a laser beam and captures the x,y,z coordinates and other attributes at a very high speed. The highly accurate points captures create a 3D point cloud that can be used as a digital reference of the objects and space.
Photogrammetry is where you take a series of photos and then software creates a 3D textured model. Autodesk currently has a free photogrammetry software for computers as well as the mobile iPhone and the iPad named 123D Catch where you can take photos of an object and create a 3D model. Brian is using an advanced unreleased version of the technology we are working on.
Having the Exploratorium captured forever in 3D will preserve not only how it was configured to help with planning exhibits at the new location, but also preserve it for historical record purposes long after the old location is gone. One could even later print the objects in 3D physical models.
Check out the video that includes Brian and the Reality Capture from ABC 7 KGO in San Francisco (you do have to bear through a commercial first grrr)
Exploratorium preserving past, preparing for future