Creating Virtual 3-D Fossils
Laser Design Inc. RE-810 Laser Scanner
Suzanne Strait, Ph.D., specializes in vertebrate paleontology at Marshall University, located in Huntington, West Virginia. She became interested in scanning technologies while writing her thesis on the comparative anatomy of fossil mammal teeth.
Strait kept abreast on the development of scanning technologies, and when she heard about 3-D laser scanning, she knew that it would be ideal for her purposes: faster, more accurate, noncontact, and in 3-D. She envisioned creating a web site as a virtual museum where researchers could view fossils in 3-D and download functions so that they could manipulate, measure, and compare them. An online 3-D resource would be a valuable tool for researchers, giving them access to many objects without having to travel to remote locations.
In 2000, Strait’s project, funded by the National Science Foundation, purchased a RE-810 laser scanning system from Minneapolis-based Laser Design Inc., a supplier of 3-D laser scanning systems and services for more than 20 years.