Accessibility and 3D technology in cultural heritage
Nowadays, technologies are revolutionizing the way we live, how we communicate, how we create. New frontiers and possibilities that let us think about new shapes and, especially in the case of 3D printing, give us the opportunity to carry out projects in a easier, faster and cheaper way, that extend to everybody the accessibility of our work.
But the charm of the ancient crafts, requiring an extreme patience and attention to details, will always be unchanged, especially in Italy, a land so full of artisan knowledge and history. Being able to look at and experience first hand the creations of those who lived hundreds, even thousands, of years ago is not only a privilege, but a right.
Dealing with the cultural heritage is not new for 3DZ, which counts major collaborations in the field, among which the Cultural Association 3D Lab, founded in 2014 to support 3D ArcheoLab, a project born to enhance the cultural heritage of our museums relying on innovative technologies that enable the fruition of the works even to those excluded until now. Thanks to the solutions offered by the 3D printing, scanning and modeling, is now possible to really guarantee the accessibility of the collections, both in terms of experience and economically.
The interest of 3DZ Group in cultural heritage preservation has always been turned on, as in the case of our participation as a sponsor in TechnologyForAll, the main Italian trade show dedicated to smart technologies. Ensuring support and collaboration to this kind of innovative companies is a priority, particularly when we are talking about companies that see in new technologies a means of improving some life issues.
Urn 3D scan and reconstruction. Tactile museum for the blind and visually impaired. (3D ArcheoLab)
Giulio Bigliardi, 3D Archeolab co-founder, provides training and online divulging in the field of cultural heritage and, with the 3D Lab Cultural Association, was one of the winners of the regional competition Incredibol! 2014/2015, with a project submitted together with La Griobussola NPO and Emanuel Demetrescu.
Tells Bigliardi: “Thanks to this contribution and to the collaboration of the Superintendence for Archaeological Heritage of Emilia-Romagna, we finally have the opportunity to apply our ideas in two museums: the National Etruscan Museum of Marzabotto and the National Archaeological Museum of Ferrara”.
Accessibility and 3D printing: a true tactile experience
One of the proposed solutions to enhance accessibility concerns the setting up of a tactile path for blind people and visually impaired.
Bigliardi says: “We believe that access to our cultural heritage is everyone’s right, but we know that unfortunately most of our museums are not yet equipped to guarantee the full fruition of their collections to people who are blind or visually impaired.”
The path consists of 3D printing replicas, tactile cards and audio guides. Some of the most interesting and representative findings of each museum were then intended first to the scan then to the 3D printing.
Già nel blog 3DZ si era parlato di casi riguardanti l’uso della scansione in 3D per il restauro, in cui sempre 3D Archeolab ci aveva illustrato i lavori svolti nella chiesa Castello di San Martino dall’Argine, o i recenti utilizzi delle nostre tecnologie nell’archeologia (Fossile di balena stampato in 3D, Dinosauro per la prima volta ricostruito con scansione e stampa 3D).
Bigliardi continues: “We use the 3D printing technology to make copies in real scale of museum collections in order to set tactile paths for the blind and visually impaired integrated with traditional itineraries. To ensure a true tactile experience, we use materials as similar as possible to the original: as ceramic, marble and bronze.”
Attic crater detection dating III cent.B.C. (Spina’s necropolis)
The detection of the crater is part of the project and the finding dates back to a period between 540 and half of the third century BC. It is currently preserved in the National Archaeological Museum of Ferrara.
The survey of the crater has been done using an Artec Eva 3D scanner (distributed in Italy by 3DZ). Artec 3D Scanners are a family of three-dimensional scanners easy to transport, easy to use and very handy, particularly suitable in situations with logistics difficulties, as the Museums, where it is not always possible to move the findings from the windows or put them in the ideal scanning position.
In addition to these qualities there is the high 3D scanning speed, which in this case made possible to digitalize the finding in a few minutes: the scanner essentially behaves like a 3D camera that captures three-dimensional shapes by simply filming an object with the device. In fact, the software provided together with these systems can recognize the geometry of the solid and automatically align the 3D images detected without the use of any kind of marker.
Another interesting feature is the ability to capture simultaneously both the shape and the colors of the scanned object. This will automatically produce a texture to apply to three-dimensional model, getting a virtual model identical to the original one and absolutely realistic.
In conclusion, in a few minutes and in an easy way, it was possible to get an incredibly accurate detection of the finding, in scale and with an high definition coloured texture, ready to be published on-line or to be 3D printed in a format that ensures to everybody the accessibility of the work.