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[dinosaur] T. rex skull rapid 3D scanning and replication (free pdf)

Ben Creisler

New in PLoS ONE:

Anshuman J. Das , Denise C. Murmann, Kenneth Cohrn & Ramesh Raskar (2017)
A method for rapid 3D scanning and replication of large paleontological specimens. 
PLoS ONE 12(7): e0179264.
doi:  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0179264

We demonstrate a fast and cost-effective technique to perform three dimensional (3D) scanning and replication of large paleontological specimens, in this case the entire skull of a Tyrannosaurus rex (T.rex) with a volume in the range of 2 m3. The technique involves time-of-flight (TOF) depth sensing using the Kinect scanning module commonly used in gesture recognition in gaming. Raw data from the Kinect sensor was captured using open source software and the reconstruction was done rapidly making this a viable method that can be adopted by museums and researchers in paleontology. The current method has the advantage of being low-cost as compared to industrial scanners and photogrammetric methods but also of accurately scanning a substantial volume range which is well suited for large specimens. The depth resolution from the Kinect sensor was measured to be around 0.6 mm which is ideal for scanning large specimens with reasonable structural detail. We demonstrate the efficacy of this method on the skull of FMNH PR 2081, also known as SUE, a near complete T.rex at the Field Museum of Natural History.