Robotics

3D scanners replace Natural History Museum's diplodocus

9th February 2017
Alice Matthews

 

After 112 years, the Natural History Museum, London have decided to remove the iconic Dippy the Diplodocus. The specimen will be replaced with the real skeleton of a blue whale that was found on an Irish beach in 1891. Dippy will now embark on a UK tour around eight venues. 

As part of this process, the FARO Focus is being used by the 3D surface scanning team in order to scan the bones belonging to both Dippy the Diplodocus and the blue whale. 

“This marks a major transformation of the Museum”, stated Sir Michael Dixon, Museum Director. “As the largest known animal to have ever lived on Earth, the story of the blue whale reminds us of the scale of our responsibility to the planet."

The FARO Focus was used by the team to capture the surface detail of the whole specimen while it was in a mounted position. The task was particularly difficult as the specimen was made up of many different components therefore multiple scans had to be taken from different angles. It took approximately two hours to scan the whole skeleton. The scan data was then processed and FARO’s SCENE was used to determine whether Dippy could fit into the spaces that were planned for the national tour. The scan data will also give scientists the opportunity to learn more about the skeleton and help conservators to move the dinosaur safely around the country.

In addition to this, the FARO ScanArm HD was used to scan the real bones belonging to the blue whale. The reason behind scanning the blue whale was that the Natural History Museum needs to have a digital representation of it should anything unanticipated happen to the real skeleton. The skeleton of the blue whale is one of a kind and almost invaluable. Consequently, the Natural History Museum needs to have as much information about it as possible as this would help them to repair or reconstruct it if it was ever damaged. This project is the first of a huge project that is planned between FARO and the Natural History Museum.

Sir Michael added: “This is an important and necessary change. As guardians of one of the world’s greatest scientific resources, our purpose is to challenge the way people think about the natural world, and that goal has never been more urgent.”

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