albino crayfish

First Live Animal Scan!

Along with scanning archeology and cultural heritage, one of our objectives to is produce highly accurate 3D models of endangered and threatened species. One very interesting class of animals are those that live deep in underwater caves and are known as "cave adapted" species. These animals are similar to their open water counterparts but often have specialized sensory organs (they are usually blind since there is no light deep in the caves) and lack color pigmentation. Some are also thought to potentially live much longer than their open water cousins.

Since some of these cave adapted species have been found only in a single cave (over even just in a single room in a single cave!!) they may be some of the most rare animals on Earth. Because of this, the typical biological studies that require capturing and removing the animals from their environment could very much impact the entire population. With our 3D scanning techniques, we are able to build a very accurate 3D model of the creature so that researchers can study the physical attributes without needed a captured specimen in the lab. Along with modern DNA analysis from a very small sample or even just through sampling the water around the animal, we can learn a lot without harming the creature.

We only need to keep animals like this crayfish in the glass dome for the duration of the scan (~30 minutes) and can then release them unharmed. Special thanks to my dive partners on this scan in the caves of Florida: Jill Heirnerth and Tom (the crayfish wrangler) Morris.

human cranium

Digital Preservation Project Founded

The Digital Preservation Project was founded in order to utilize high-tech imaging for the protection and preservation of archeological, cultural heritage, and natural finds that are in critical danger of being lost forever. This includes archeology and heritage objects that are in harm’s way due to conflict, looting and environmental changes. It also includes species that are endangered or threatened.

Our primary means of "digital preservation" include extremely high accuracy 3D digital scanning using non-contact methods such as photogrammetry as well as gigapixel spherical imaging to capture a 360 view of a site in its current condition. We custom develop many of the hardware and software tools for these projects in order to get the best results technologically achievable today.