Researchers Invent Digital Museums with Medical Imaging Technology

by Express Systems

Wednesday 20th of April 2022

Researchers Invent Digital Museums with Medical Imaging Technology

Dave Blackburn, a professor at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, oversees more than 200,000 examples of countless small animals that hold earthenware vessels, cartons of bones, and tanks filled in rooms loaded with snakes and crocodiles.

His favorite part is making those things more widely used to increase their reach. Blackburn and his team use imaging techniques, such as CT scans and light-based scans, to capture your photos both inside and out of animals. Using a computer algorithm these 2-dimensional images are rendered with realistic 3D representation. These models are then uploaded online where they are accessible to everyone.

He stated that schoolchildren abroad, or artists from abroad, can actually use these things as part of whatever they are trying to do. For use in art exhibitions or museums, and teachers who try to teach a particular concept in the classroom. 

Having these 3D models that people can share digitally explodes the impact they can have on the world.

USU researchers have recently received funding from the National Science Foundation to acquire a microCT scanner, similar to the one used by Blackburn, to be installed next month. Helen Bond Plylar, who is doing a PhD in the Department of Biology, said she would use the equipment to study the limbs of snakes that can sense heat.

Dr. Bond said that a large percentage of her dissertation research relies heavily on access to the scanner. For her and for her work, it will allow her to explore the differences in habitat and blood supply to the parts of the boas and python hole. 

“The scanner will allow me to look at the perfect animals and give a clear picture of what is going on inside without damaging the template, ”she added.

In addition to being able to visualize the interior of the models, researchers at USU are now able to join Blackburn in making their findings accessible to the wider community.

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