In this project we have teamed up with The Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities in Stockholm, Centre for Medical Imaging and Visualization (CMIV), Autodesk and FARO in a state-of-the-art mummy visualization project where we have explored the most recent advances within reality capture, interactive visualization and 3D printing.
As part of the development of a new permanent Egyptian exhibition, The Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities in Stockholm is making their collection of mummies available in digital form for the first time.
Within this project mummies from the museum’s collection have been digitized in 3D using the latest 3D reality capture technology and have then made available to museum visitors through a interactive exhibition experience using the Inside Explorer Table and trough a number of 3D prints.
This project aim to inspire and set a new standard for how museums work with 3D digitization, interactive visualization and 3D printing to make collections more accessible to other museums, researchers and museum visitors. In this project we worked with mummies, but the same methods could of course be used on any objects, such as natural history objects and other historical artifacts.
“The technology will enable our visitors to gain a deeper understanding of the once living man behind the linen bandages. Layer by layer, the visitor can unwrap the mummy and gain knowledge of the individual's sex, age, living conditions and beliefs. With help from the technology, the mummies become so much stronger mediators of knowledge of our past.”
- Elna Nord, Exhibition Producer, The Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities in Stockholm
1) CAPTURE and EXPLORE THE INTERIOR: DUAL ENERGY CT SCANNING
In this project six mummies have been CT scanned at CMIV in Linköping, Sweden. The mummies were shipped from the Mediterranean museum in Stockholm to Linköping in special crates. The shipping was planned in detail and was overseen by several experts to make sure the mummies were not harmed during the process.
At CMIV the mummies were scanned in a dual energy Siemens Somatom Definition Flash CT scanner. Special protocols developed by the radiology and forensic experts at CMIV were used to make sure that the mummies were captured in the best way possible.
By using a dual energy CT scanner its possible not only to reveal the interior in very high detail, but it it also reveal the type of material from which different objects inside the mummy are made. The dual energy technique also enables these objects to be visualized individually in greater detail.
2) CAPTURE THE EXTERIOR: PHOTOGRAMMETRY AND LASER SCANNING
Through a collaboration with California-based 3D design, engineering and entertainment software leader, Autodesk and industry leading 3D measurement technology company, FARO, the intricate surfaces, colors and textures of the mummy, cartonnage and the sarcophagus have been surface scanned using a combination of photogrammetry and laser scanning reality capture methods. The data captured is then processed with Autodesk ReCap software and the result is a textured surface mesh with extreme detail.
3) COMBINING THE DATA AND CREATING AN INTERACTIVE USER EXPERIENCE
The volumetric data from CT scanning and the 3D mesh data and textures from surface scanning is combined in the Inside Explorer interactive visualisation table, creating a true digital representation of the mummy with a high level of detail.
Museum researchers or visitors are then able to use simple multi-touch gestures to explore the mummy as a whole or zoom in to see fine detail, such as carving marks on the sarcophagus. They can also remove the outer casings, unwrap the mummy, and peel off layers from the body to reveal anatomy and artifacts wrapped together with the body.
4) FROM ATOMS TO BITS TO ATOMS – CREATING A TACTILE EXPERIENCE
To make the mummy even more accessible, parts of the digital model have been recreated using 3D printing technology. The 3D printed objects can be used to enhance the visitor experience, in educational activities or to improve access for visually impaired visitors.
One astonishing example of how 3D printing can be used is a golden amulet in the shape of a falcon embedded in the mummy. The Falcon have been digitized CT and then by using a combination of modern printing technology and traditional metal casting, the amulet has been recreated to once again take physical form.
The Golden Falcon and other amulets seen in the CT scanning.
The 3D printed copy of the falcon in gold-plated brass.
Visitors are offered the unique experience to touch, hold and physically explore an exact copy of the golden amulet with their own hands, an amulet that was wrapped with the mummy over 2000 years ago and still remains hidden within its folds.
The set of Sarcophaguses have been printed in a full color using a state-of-the-art CMYK 3D printer. The result is very high detail and a photorealistic impression.
SEE IT IN ACTION
The final result of this project is presented in the permanent Egyptian exhibition at the The Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities (Medelhavsmuseet) in Stockholm. For more information and opening times please visit the museum website.
You can also experience this project at Autodesk Gallery at One Market in San Francisco. For more information and opening times please visit The Gallery website.
GET IN TOUCH
Are you a museum professional, journalist, tech-junkie interested in getting more information about this project or about 3D digitization in general, please contact us using insideexplorer [at] tii.se.
This project is a collaboration between RISE Interactive at Visualization Center C in Norrköping, Center For Medical Imaging and Visualization (CMIV), The Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities, Autodesk and FARO.
PRESS AND MEDIA
Press release 2014-02-20 "Groundbreaking visualization and 3D technologies reveal hidden ancient Egyptian treasures"
Press release 2013-06-19 - "Unwrap a real mummy – Museum visitors explore historic artifacts using state of the art 3D reality capture and visualization technology"
Press release 2013-04-12 - "Medelhavsmuseets mumier på virtuellt obduktionsbord" (Swedish)
Press photos on Flickr
A selection of media:
National Geographic, ES, "Crean una reproducción digital de una momia"
Fast Company, "Museum Invites Visitors To Unwrap A Mummy, Virtually",
The Verge, "Museum lets visitors 'digitally unwrap' an Egyptian mummy",
BBC News, "The digital unwrapping of the Egyptian priest Neswaiu"
The Creators Project, "New Exhibition Allows Visitors To Digitally Explore The Insides Of Ancient Mummies"
Ny Teknik, "3d-skrivare visar mumiens skatt" (Swedish)
Bright.NL, "In Zweden kan je mummies digitaal uitpakken" (Dutch)
International Business Times, "Want to See What's Inside an Egyptian Mummy's Bandages? Now You Can Digitally Unwrap it"
Autodedesk - Its Alive in The Labs - "Autodesk Gallery Exhibit: Inside Explorer Table"
Svenska Dagbladet, "Uppfriskande vinkel på Egypten"
Wired UK, "Digitised mummies go on display in Stockholm", 20140222
Shanghai Daily, "When 3D digitalization meets Egyptian mystique", 2014022
SVT (Video), "Inuti sarkofagen", 20140222
DN, "Nu träder mumierna fram i 3D", 20140222
Autodesk - Its Alive in the Lab, "Autodesk Gallery Exhibit: Inside Explorer Table"
Digital Meets Culture, "Mummies virtually unwrapped in Sweden"
International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Work, "Medelhavsmuseet mummies to be revealed in 3D"
United Press International - "Swedish museum to let visitors virtually 'unwrap' mummies"
Club Innovation & Culture France, "Les visiteurs du Medelhavsmuseet de Stockholm vont découvrir des momies égyptiennes grâce à la 3d"
Museum Association, "Museum Practice"
Radio Sweden, "Peering into a mummy without unwrapping it", 2014022
Metro.se, "De avslöjar vad som gömmer sig i mumien", 20130613 (Swedish)
SVT, "Ny röntgenteknik kartlägger mumier", 20130502 (Swedish)
BBC News,"Museum visitors can 'unwrap' a mummy", 20130628
Wired UK, "Swedish museum digitises Egyptian mummies", 20130628
The Guardian, "Bringing mummies back to life in Sweden – in pictures", 20130717
Le Point.fr, "Les momies égyptiennes débarquent en 3D (dans vos musées)", 20130714
Huffington Post, "It's Alive! Stockholm Museum Brings Mummies To Life In 3D", 20130710
Spiegel Online, "Mumien auswickeln wie die Profis", 20130708
Daily Mail Online, "3D scan of the cartonnage of the mummy Neswaiu", 20130704
This project is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund.