An excellent proof of concept for how 3D scanning and 3D printing can be of benefit to science and science education, this world class collection of fossil finds from Lake Turkana in East Africa has been made available to world as a digital exhibition thanks to a partnership between Dr. Louise Leakey with Autodesk:
This virtual lab showcases a spectacular collection of fossils and artifacts found mostly at Lake Turkana in East Africa. The digital collection of animals, human ancestors, as well as ancient stone tools offers a unique tool for scholars and enthusiasts to explore and interact with the collection online.
It also provides an opportunity to download models for 3-D printing as well as to comment and share images of your favorite printed fossil objects on our forum. Additional specimens will be added regularly to this online collection so please visit us often. Welcome to the lab!
Dr. Louise Leakey (TBI, Stony Brook University) and 3D software company Autodesk have teamed up with the National Museums of Kenya to create an ongoing interactive showcase famous fossil discoveries from the Turkana Basin in virtual 3D.
AfricanFossils.org enables visitors to explore a virtual “lab” filled with numerous famous fossil finds which can be enlarged, rotated, and viewed from any angle. While offering a limited selection of fossils at the moment, Leakey plans to continually update the library to comprise not only fossils of human ancestors but the other prehistoric animals with which they shared their environment.
Leakey was awarded a grant from San Rafael, CA-based Autodesk which enabled her to work with the National Museums of Kenya to digitize a number of scientifically important fossils in the Museum’s collection. The process involved making numerous photos of each specimen from a variety of angles and using Autodesk’s proprietary technology to create an immersive virtual environment in which visitors can closely examine some of the most important pieces of evidence for human evolution.
“This is a fantastic use of this revolutionary new technology,” says Leakey. “People from all over the world will now be able to enjoy these fossils which previously were available only to scientists visiting the museum.”
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! We also offer the LulzBot TAZ – Open source 3D Printer and the Printrbot Simple Metal 3D Printer in our store. If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!