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NVision Influences Science Behind Jurassic Series
(Southlake, TX - July 2015) “3D scanning has helped provide some of the real science behind the Jurassic Park series,” says Steve Kersen, President of NVision, Inc. “Paleontologist Jack Horner, a lead consultant on the series and inspiration for the series's character Dr. Alan Grant, bought his first 3D scanner from us when the process of digitizing bones and fossilized skin impressions was still in its infancy. Scanning fossils has helped advance our understanding of dinosaurs and how they lived. Much of that knowledge has been used in the Jurassic Park series, including the current blockbuster, Jurassic World.
“3D laser scanning a dinosaur fossil can reveal a great deal of the animal’s physiology. For example, a scanned bone that reveals scars where muscles were once attached can tell scientists about the type and function of muscles the dinosaur possessed and aid in understanding the animal’s biomechanics – how it walked or ran, how powerful its bite was.”
CT scanning – which is non-invasive, utilizing x-rays to produce 3D representations of both internal and external geometry – has also proven itself an excellent source for obtaining new information on dinosaurs. Scientists use CT scanning to look into dinosaur skulls and see the shape of internal cavities and bones, allowing new insights into brain capacity, the sounds the creatures might have made, and more. They can also CT scan a fossilized internal organ, like a heart, to analyze its structure. This would previously have been almost impossible to do without damaging the fossil.
Paleontologists utilize laser scanners to capture the dimensions and surface details of a fossil by translating the raw data into a 3D CAD file of the fossil. Scanning a fossil produces a point cloud consisting of many, perhaps millions, of XYZ and IJK co-ordinates. That point cloud is then converted into a triangulated STL (STereoLithography) polygonal file, in which the data is now a raw triangulated surface. The STL file is then used to create a 3D IGES/STEP/parasolid model, which is then converted into the required CAD format. Once created, the CAD file can be studied and measured from various angles in real 3D space and easily shared with other scientists.
Image above: Colin Ellis, NVision, scanning the back part of the frill of a Triceratops at the Smithsonian
NVision not only provided Jack Horner with his first 3D scanner, they have also scanned dinosaurs in the Smithsonian in order to create digital files for analysis and archiving. “One of the fossils we scanned was the frill of a Triceratops,” says Kersen. Laser scanning is now being used in the field to document and preserve potentially fragile fossils. Scanning an on-site fossil that has not yet been excavated creates a record of the fossil that can serve as a form of scientific “insurance,” should the fossil be damaged during the removal or preparation process.
“Never before has paleontology incorporated so many diverse technologies and disciplines, from advanced genetics to 3D digitization. Together, they are providing a wealth of scientific information on the Age of Dinosaurs, which we can enjoy in museums and books as well as on the big screen,” says Kersen.
For companies seeking the best 3D scanning services and equipment, NVision, Inc. (http://www.nvision3d.com) delivers on-time, on-budget solutions that drive innovation and transform performance. For more than 25 years, NVision has worked on some of the most difficult 3D engineering challenges in aerospace, oil & gas, medical and other industries. Our versatile team of experienced engineers is ready to provide comprehensive assistance with first article inspection, reverse engineering, system purchases and more.
NVision's clients include leaders such as Alstom, Boeing, GE, Lockheed, Lear, NASA, Porsche, Raytheon, Siemens, Toyota, and every branch of the U.S. military.