At the University of South Florida, students are using 3D tools like the Sense Scanner with Geomagic software, to learn the concepts and techniques used to capture and model 3D and imaging data. Anthropology graduate student Christine Bergmann works with ancient ceramics that are often fragmentary and fragile, and she is using 3D data to quickly capture all of the morphological characteristics, and examine traits such as surface markings, thickness, and volume. Bergmann has learned the digital thread process- which includes data capture, data processing and modeling, and visualization including 3D printing- by using easy tools like the Sense scanner and Geomagic software.

Working in USF’s Center for Virtualization and Applied Spatial Technologies (CVAST) labs, Bergmann is working with ceramics and collections from her professor’s archaeological work mostly conducted in the 1980s and 90s. Dr. Nancy Marie White is a professor at USF that has conducted extensive archaeological work all over Florida for decades, and USF’s CVAST and their students will continue to digitize and record her research collections and will soon share the resulting models with the world online. Bringing these long curated artifacts into the 3D virtual world is allowing for greater accessibility and is expanding research opportunities. Additionally, replicas can be easily produced from the final models, and pieces can be 3D printed to allow for tactile and better visual exploration, without handling or harming the original piece.

Dr. Lori Collins, Director of CVAST, says that this is a great example of how digital capture can provide new learning opportunities for students. “Not only are students learning more about ancient artifacts, but they are also learning about how technology can be used to preserve and bring the past to life for a much wider audience.”

Using the Sense 3D Scanner

USF Anthropology Graduate Student Christine Bergmann uses the Sense scanner and Geomagic software to capture surface measurements and details on a 500 to 1000 year old pot from an archaeological site in Florida.

Reviewing 3D Scan data with Geomagic

USF Anthropology Graduate Student Christine Bergmann (shown pointing), examines 3d data using Geomagic software, comparing model details.

Archiving historical artifacts with the Sense 3D Scanner and Geomagic

Artifacts, such as the ceramic vessel shown here, are often fragmentary and fragile making them difficult to handle and share. Using digital data capture and 3D modeling workflows that include the Sense scanner and Geomagic software, we can now easily share and manipulate delicate pieces, and even create replicas using 3D printing.