Student Uses Photogrammetry to Miniaturize Herself

Stamps Student Uses Photogrammetry to Miniaturize Herself

  Stamps student Annie Turpin came to the Duderstadt Center with an idea for her Sophomore studio project: She wanted to create a hologram system, similar to the “Pepper’s Pyramid” or “Pepper’s Ghost” display, that would allow her to project a miniaturized version of herself into a pinhole camera.

Pepper’s Ghost relied on carefully placed mirrors to give the illusion of a transparent figure

  The concept of Pepper’s Pyramid is derived from an illusion technique created by John Henry Pepper in 1862. Originally coined “Pepper’s Ghost”, the trick initially relied on a large pane of glass to reflect an illuminated room or person that was hidden from view. This gave the impression of a “ghost” and became a technique frequently used in theatre to create a phantasmagoria. Similar methods are still used today, often substituting Mylar foil in place of glass and using CG content (such as the 2012 Coachella performance, in which a “holographic” Tupac was resurrected to sing alongside Dr. Dre).

Pepper’s Pyramid takes the concept of Pepper’s Ghost, and gives it 3 dimensions using a pyramid of Plexiglas instead of mirrors.

  “Pepper’s Pyramid” is a similar concept. Instead of a single pane of glass reflecting a single angle, a video is duplicated 4 times and projected downward onto a pyramid of Plexiglas, allowing the illusion to be viewed from multiple angles and for the content to be animated.

  For Annie’s project, she re-created a small version of Pepper’s Pyramid to fit inside a pinhole camera that she had constructed, and used a mobile phone to project the video instead of a monitor. She then had herself 3D scanned using the Duderstadt Center’s Photogrammetry rig to generate a realistic 3D model of herself that was animated and then exported as an MP4 video.

Annie’s pinhole camera

  The process of Photogrammetry allows an existing object or person to be converted into a full color, highly detailed, 3D model. This is done using a series of digital photographs captured 360 degrees around the subject. While Photogrammetry can be done at home for most static subjects, the Duderstadt Center’s Photogrammetry resources are set up to allow moving subjects like people to be scanned as well. The process using surface detail on the subject to plot points in 3D space and construct a 3D model. For scans of people, these models can even have a digital skeleton created to drive their motion, and be animated as CGI characters. Annie’s resulting scan was animated to rotate in place, and projected into the the plexiglas pyramid as a “hologram” for viewing through her pinhole camera.

The result of 3D printing Annie’s photogrammetry scan

  Annie would make use of Photogrammetry again the following year, when she had herself 3d scanned again, but this time for the purpose of 3D printing the resulting model for a diorama. In this instance, she was scanned using Photogrammetry in what is referred to as “T-Pose”. This is a pose where the subject stands with their arms and legs apart, so their limbs can be articulated into a different position later. After Annie’s model was generated, it was posed to have her sitting in a computer chair and working on a laptop. This model was sent to the Duderstadt Center’s J750 3D color printer to produce a 6″ high 3D printed model.

  This printer allows for full spectrum color and encases the model in a support structure that must be carefully removed, but allows for more intricate features and overhangs on the model.

Annie carefully removes the support structure from her 3D printed model

A duplicate print of Annie’s creation can now be viewed in the display case within the Duderstadt Center’s Fabrication Studio.

Xplore Engineering

Xplore Engineering

Xplore Engineering is a summer camp designed for alumni and their children entering the 4th – 7th grade. Through a series of workshops, participants get hands-on experience in a variety of engineering disciplines.  For the third year in a row the Duderstadt Center participated in Xplore Engineering by offering a workshop in 3D Modeling & 3D Printing.

Photo: Evan Dougherty, Michigan Engineering Communications & Marketing

In past years, students learned how to design and print the Michigan “M” and created customized 3D printed jewelry on the Cube 3D printers. This year, students got to take full control of the design process.

Using an online app designed by John Pariseau (a Web Developer at the University of Michigan) called “Pxstl” (Pixel STL – STL being a 3D printing file format), students were able to design their own pixel art suitable for 3D printing. From designing their 3D print to operating the printers, Xplore Engineering offered a fully hands-on approach for students to learn about the 3D printing process.

If you are interested in participating in Xplore Engineering next year or would just like to learn more information, visit their website at:

Duderstadt Center Joins Local Artist to Re-Create the Gateway Bridge for Michigan Engineering

Duderstadt Center Joins Local Artist to Re-Create the Gateway Bridge for Michigan Engineering

In June the Duderstadt Center was contacted by Michigan Engineering to assist with a special gift for an alumni donor. Their donor had been the designer of several bridges in the area, including the famous Michigan Gateway Bridge. The Gateway Bridge carries I-94 over eight lanes of US 24, Telegraph Road and is well recognized by commuters for it’s vibrant blue arches.

The Duderstadt Center was provided reference images and the original plans and specifications of the Gateway bridge. From this a 3D model was built and segmented to be printed on two different 3D printers: Our Dimension Elites were used to print the base, allowing for a sturdy, cost effective platform to hold the delicate arches in place. The arches, which required a much higher fidelity, were then printed in pieces using our new Projet 3D printer. The Projet is able to print at a much finer resolution and utilizes a wax support structure that can be melted away, making it the perfect printer for generating the tiny features that would be required for threading the suspension cables of the bridge.

These parts were then passed off to a very talented local diorama artist, Eric Hasiak, for further detailing, where the model was assembled, mounted, painted, had foliage placed and the delicate suspension cables strung.


Xplore Engineering

Xplore Engineering

Xplore Engineering is a summer camp program designed for Engineering alumni and their children in 4th – 7th grade. Through a series of experiential workshops, participants get hands-on experience in a variety of engineering disciplines. This marked the second year the Duderstadt Center was invited to participate in the Xplore Engineering workshops, this time offering students the chance to design and then 3D print custom fashion rings. Kids were introduced to activities provided by that allow for the creation of simple 3D printed objects like dog tags, bracelets, or rings. Each child had an opportunity to work with their guardian to design a custom ring in the style of their choice in a workshop led by Stephanie O’Malley. Some created designs incorporating their initials, others went with unique designs or simple shapes. Once each child had completed their design, they were given an introduction to how 3D Printers work by Shawn O’Grady. Their files were assembled for printing in the Cubify software, and then each child had a chance to send their print to the Cube 3 3D Printers for printing, a unique opportunity for them to get involved in operating the technology. As they watched their creations be printed, the group was introduced to unique applications for 3D printing, from the creation of assets in stop motion movies like Coraline to the 3D printing of prosthetics! For more information on the Xplore Engineering summer camp, and other interesting opportunities with the school of Engineering, visit

Printing in 3D
Use 3-dimensional printers in the U of M 3D printing lab to to program a 3D model and even take home one of your own. You’ll also get a behind-the-scenes tour of the 3D lab.
Thursday session 3
Photo: Jessica Knedgen

The Kelsey Museum – Visualizing Lost Cylinder Seals

The Kelsey Museum – Visualizing Lost Cylinder Seals

2D illustration of one of the seal imprints used to generate a 3D model

The Kelsey Museum houses a collection of more than 100,000 ancient and medieval objects from the civilizations of the Mediterranean and the Near East.  Margaret Root, curator of the Greek and Near Eastern Collections at the Kelsey Museum, came to the Duderstadt Center with the impressions of several ancient cylinder seals.  A cylinder seal is a small cylindrical tool, about one inch long, used in ancient times to engrave symbols or marks.  When rolled in wet clay, the seal would leave an impression equivalent to a person’s “signature.”  These signatures were commonly used to sign for goods when trading.  Some of the earliest cylinder seals were found in the Mesopotamian region.The Kelsey Museum wanted to re-create these seals from the impressions to generate 3D prototypes or for use in a digital exhibit.  These exhibits would allow visitors to the Kelsey to experience the cylinder seal tradition first-hand by providing seals and clay to roll their own impressions.  The problem was these seals tend to get lost over time so the museum did not have the original seals, only the imprints.To recover the seal’s three-dimensional form, Margaret Root provided the Duderstadt Center with an outline of the imprints in Adobe Illustrator.  From the outline, Stephanie O’Malley of the Duderstadt Center added varying amounts of grey to generate a depth map, where the darkest areas were the most inset and the lightest areas were the most protruding.  With a depth map in place she was then able to inset areas on a cylindrical mesh in Zbrush (a 3d sculpting software) to re-create what the cylinder seal (the example seal is the “queen’s seal” ) would have looked like. Shawn O’Grady has printed one of these seals already.

A 3D render of the re-created cylinder seal.

The Duderstadt Center has since obtained the new Projet 3D printer, and plans are now underway to eventually print one of these on the Projet since it has a much higher print resolution and these seals are typically quite small.

To check out more at the Kelsey Museum, click here.

Low-Cost Dynamic and Immersive Gaze Tracking

Low-Cost Dynamic and Immersive Gaze Tracking

From touch-screen computers to the Kinect’s full-body motion sensor—interacting with your computer is as simple as a tap on the screen or a wave of the hand. But what if you could control your computer by simply looking at it? Gaze tracking is a dynamic and immersive input system with the potential to revolutionize modern technology.

Realizing this potential, Rachael Havens, a member of the Duderstadt Center and UROP student, investigated ways of integrating an efficient and economical gaze tracker into our system. However since this powerful tool is overlooked by many people, this task proved to be quite the challenge. Current professional gaze tracking tools are highly specialized and require buyers to drop tens of thousands of dollars for a single system. The open-source alternative is not much better, as it sacrifices quality for availability. Since none of the aforementioned options were ideal, a custom design was pursued.

Inspired by the EyeWriter Project, the Sony PS Eye was hacked. We systemically replaced the Infrared filtered lens and lens mount, adding a visible light filter and installing our own 3D printed lens mount. With little expense, we transformed a $30 webcam into an infrared, head-mounted gaze tracker. The Duderstadt Center didn’t stop there, however; we integrated this gaze tracker’s software with Jugular, an in-house interactive 3D engine. Now a glance from the user doesn’t just move the cursor on a desktop, it selects objects in a 3D virtual environment of our own design.

Concentrate Media: On the Cutting Edge of 3D

Concentrate Media: On the Cutting Edge of 3D

Patrick Dunn, Concetrate Media:

“Because there are different paths one can take, it helps to go to one location where there are multiple individuals who are well-versed in those different paths,” … “It really helps people to find their direction.”

The accessibility of U-M’s facility makes it a particularly rare gem. The lab provides unique ease of access to technology that’s on the rise but still fairly exotic to the general public, like the 3D printers. And in the case of the MIDEN, it’s one of only a couple of publicly accessible similar facilities nationwide.

“Generally these technologies are locked behind doors because they’re very expensive, they require expertise, and they can be very delicate,” … “Here, people say, ‘We want to use the MIDEN,’ and we say ‘Okay, we’ll help you do what you want to do.'”

Visit Story at ConcentrateMedia

A Ferry called “Wahoo”

A Ferry called “Wahoo”

A passenger ferry was designed by a student team from the Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering Schools, for both their final project and the Puget Sound. The vessel, named Wahoo, is 57 meters long, 18 meters wide,  and seats 350 passengers with a top speed of 45 knots.  The students modeled the ferry in Rhinoceros and worked with the Duderstadt Center to print the model in plaster for presentation purposes. They also exported VRML for visualization in the MIDEN, allowing them to explore the ferry. Although Wahoo is much larger than the MIDEN, the students were able to see it in immersive stereo at full scale, allowing them to directly observe and evaluate sizes and clearances.

The engine room was an especially detailed design. The students obtained the real marine engine model from MTU Detroit Diesel (in STP format) and placed three instances of it in their vessel.