Castles in the air: VR museum of anthropology

Yesterday we got a quick look at the first emerging exhibits in a “museum” of anthropology.

VR Human Skull

Richard Francis and Gerard Helmich have been developing this for Simon Underdown. The skulls are rendered using photogrammetry and an i-phone. Take many pictures from all angles and stitch them together. The phone worked better than a dedicated 3D scanner. You have a photorealistic surface with actual light and shadow. The skulls are “real” albeit put together from many images.

Then using Google Blocks, they made display cases for the four skulls. Combining photogrammetry with simple VR tools enabled Richard and Gerard to make very quickly a useful learning resource. Students can pick the skulls up, rotate them. You can even go in the eye socket and out the injury at the top of the head. The real objects are fragile and irreplaceable. Oops, I dropped it! I enjoyed crashing around in the museum not causing any damage.

Richard and Gerard showed this off at the regular Technology Experimentation Group (TEG) Lunch Bytes session on Tuesday 3 October 2017. Come to the session on 17 October to discover yet another thing you didn’t know you needed your smartphone for. Make 3D models out of real-world objects with your smartphone camera and Autodesk Recap.

Here’s looking at you.


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About the author

George Roberts

George has been at Oxford Brookes since 2000 and joined OCSLD in June 2006 as an Educational Developer (e-Learning). In his previous role he advised the Head of e-Learning and the Senior Management Team of the University on policy for off-campus e-learning and e-learning partnerships.

He leads the MA Education (Higher Education) and teaches on the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education (PCTHE) as well as conducting Course Design Intensives (CDIs) and other educational development activities: workshops and consultancies.

He leads the organisation of the annual Brookes Learning and Teaching Conference (BLTC) and is Managing Editor of the Higher Education Journal of Learning and Teaching.

George is a visiting Lecturer at Cranfield University and a Visiting Fellow of Edge Hill University.

He wrote his doctorate (July 2011) at the University of Southampton on biographical narratives of adult users of a community IT centre on a large social housing estate.

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