The Digital Michelangelo Project
Computer Science Department
Recent improvements in laser rangefinder technology, together with algorithms
developed in our research group for combining multiple range images, allow us
to reliably and accurately digitize the external shape of many physical
objects. As an application of this technology, I and a team of 30 faculty,
staff, and students from Stanford University and the University of Washington
spent the 1998-99 academic year in Italy digitizing the sculptures and
architecture of Michelangelo.
Our primary acquisition device was a laser triangulation rangefinder mounted on
a large motorized gantry. Using this device and a smaller rangefinder mounted
on a jointed digitizing arm, we created 3D computer models of 10 statues,
including the David. These models range in size from 100 million to 2 billion
polygons. Using a time-of-flight rangefinder, we also created 3D computer
models of the interiors of two museums, including Michelangelo's Medici Chapel.
Finally, using our rangefinders in conjunction with a high-resolution digital
color camera, we created a light field and aligned 3D computer model of
Michelangelo's highly polished statue of Night. A light field is a dense array
of images viewable using new techniques from image-based rendering.
As a side project, we also scanned the 1,100 fragments of the Forma Forma Urbis
Romae, the giant marble map of ancient Rome carved circa 200 A.D. Piecing this
map together has been one of the great unsolved problems of archeology. Our
hope is that by scanning the fragments and searching among the resulting
geometry for matching surfaces, we can find new matches among the fragments.
In this talk, I will outline the technological underpinings, logistical
challenges, and possible outcomes of this project.
About the Speaker
Marc Levoy is an associate professor of Computer Science and Electrical
Engineering at Stanford University. He received a B. Architecture in 1976 from
Cornell University, an M.S. in 1978 from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. in
Computer Science in 1989 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Levoy's early research centered on computer-assisted cartoon animation, leading
to development of a computer animation system for Hanna-Barbera Productions.
His recent publications are in the areas of volume visualization, rendering
algorithms, computer vision, geometric modeling, and user interfaces for
imaging and visualization. His current research interests include digitizing
the shape and appearance of physical objects using multiple sensing
technologies, the creation, representation, and rendering of complex geometric
models, image-based modeling and rendering, and applications of computer
graphics in art history, preservation, restoration, and archeology. Levoy
received the NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award in 1991 and the SIGGRAPH
Computer Graphics Achievement Award in 1996 for his work in volume rendering.
Back to the Colloquium Page
Tue Sep 21 18:59:46 PDT 1999