3D Imaging in the Digital Studio

Digital Scholarship and the Boston College Libraries are dedicated to expanding the use of 3D and immersive technologies on the BC campus for the purposes of creating accessible immersive, interactive, multimodal, and engaging experiences in research and in the classroom.

Go Eagles!

Thanks to advances in technology over the past decade, it is easier than ever to create digital versions of real-world objects. Last fall semester, the Digital Scholarship group created a 3D collection on Sketchfab, an online platform that allows users to display 3D models on the web, to be viewed on any mobile browser, desktop browser or virtual reality (VR) headset. There you can check recent 3D models made in the Digital Studio and around the campus, both for educational reasons and just for fun! Interested in making your own model? Check out next week’s blog, which will touch upon new equipment available in the Digital Studio in the O’Neill Library, as well as this asynchronous workshop from last semester on an Introduction to 3D Modelling and Scanning and several Digital Scholarship introductory tutorials.

“Hail Flutie” statue located outside BC Alumni Stadium

Meanwhile, in collaboration with the Center for Digital Innovation in Learning (CDIL), we have begun to explore the use of alternate-reality (AR) experiences in teaching and research. Pilot projects have included the digitization and presentation of hominid skull models for a BC Biology course and the creation of 3D versions of exemplary rocks for the Earth Sciences Department.  The ability to examine and manipulate these objects digitally adds a new dimension to the learning experience, particularly in the present moment when close interactions with the physical objects are not feasible. Further functionality such as annotations or audio overlays created by faculty or students can allow for additional information to be presented to the audience. All models are available for viewing or download within the Digital Scholarship Sketchfab collection.

Digital versions of hominid skulls allowed students to engage with the models in AR and take measurements in a 3D viewer

Have an Apple device? Check out our AR gallery to open recent projects on your phone or tablet, or just check out videos of what we are working on! On Android? The bottom of the page has links to several downloadable apps for your phone. 

We are excited to explore the use of these technologies in a wide swath of disciplines in the humanities and sciences. With the technology becoming more user friendly than ever, we invite you to consider how you might be able to integrate this technology into your own research or teaching.

Have a 3D model you want to submit to the BC Sketchfab Collection or a larger project you are considering? Feel free to contact the Digital Scholarship group (digitalscholarship@bc.edu)!

Matthew Naglak

Digital Scholarship Librarian, O'Neill Library