Leisure & Luxury in the Age of Nero: VR Exhibit for the Kelsey Museum

Leisure & Luxury in the Age of Nero: VR Exhibit for the Kelsey Museum

As part of the Kelsey museum’s most grandiose exhibition to date, Leisure & Luxury in the Age of Nero: The Villas of Oplontis Near Pompeii features over 230 artifacts from the ancient world. These artifacts originate from the ancient villa of Oplontis, an area near Pompeii that was destroyed when Mt. Vesuvius erupted.

Real world location of the ancient villa of Oplontis

The traveling exhibit explores the lavish lifestyle and economic interests of ancient Rome’s wealthiest. This location is currently being excavated and is currently off limits to the general public, but as part of the Kelsey’s exhibit, visitors will get to experience the location with the assistance of virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift and tablet devices.

The Duderstadt Center worked closely with curator Elaine Gazda as well as the Oplontis Project team from the University of Texas to optimize a virtual re-creation for the Oculus Rift & MIDEN and to generate panoramic viewers for tablet devices. The virtual environment uses high resolution photos and scan data captured on location, mapped to the surface of 3D models to give a very real sense of being at the real-world location.

Visitors to the Kelsey can navigate Oplontis in virtual reality through the use of an Oculus Rift headset, or through panoramas presented on tablet devices.

Visitors to the Kelsey can traverse this recreation using the Rift, or they can travel to the Duderstadt to experience it in the MIDEN – and not only can viewers experience the villa as they appear in modern day-they can also toggle on an artist’s re-creation of what the villas would have looked like before their destruction. In the re-created version of the scene, the ornate murals covering the walls of the villa are restored and foliage and ornate statues populate the scene. Alongside the virtual reality experience, the Kelsey Museum will also house a physically reconstructed replica of one of the rooms found in the villa as part of the exhibit.

Leisure & Luxury in the Age of Nero: The Villas of Oplontis Near Pompeii is a traveling exhibit that will also be on display at the Museum of the Rockies at the Montana State University, Bozeman, and the Smith College Museum of Art in Northampton, Massachusetts.

On Display at the Kelsey Museum, Leisure & Luxury in the Age of Nero: The Villas of Oplontis Near Pompeii

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: http://www.engin.umich.edu/mconnex/info/alumni/xplore-engineering

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.


Mammoth Calf Lyuba On Display

Mammoth Calf Lyuba On Display

Mammoth Calf Lyuba, a Collaborative Exploration of Data

On Nov. 17th-19th the Duderstadt Center’s Visualization Expert, Ted Hall, will be in Austin, Texas representing the Duderstadt Center at SC15, a super computing event. The technology on display will allow people in Austin to be projected into the MIDEN, the University of Michigan’s immersive virtual reality cave, allowing visitors in both Ann Arbor and in Austin to explore the body of a mummified mammoth.

The mummified remains of Lyuba.

The mammoth in question is a calf called Lyuba, found in Siberia in 2007 after being preserved underground for 50,000 years. This specimen is considered the best preserved mammoth mummy in the world, and is currently on display in the Shemanovskiy Museum and Exhibition Center in Salekhard, Russia.

University of Michigan Professor Daniel Fisher and his colleagues at the University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology arranged to have the mummy scanned using X-Ray computed tomography in Ford Motor Company’s Nondestructive Evaluation Laboratory. Adam Rountrey then applied a color map to the density data to reveal the internal anatomical structures.

Lyuba with her skeleton visible.

The Duderstadt Center got this data as an image stack for interactive volumetric visualization. The stack comprises 1,132 JPEG image slices with 762×700 pixel resolution per slice. Each of the resulting voxels is 1mm cubed.

When this data is brought into the Duderstadt Center’s Jugular software, the user can interactively slice through the mammoth’s total volume by manipulating a series of hexagonal planes, revealing the internal structure. In the MIDEN, the user can explore the mammoth in the same way while the mammoth appears to exist in front of them in three virtual dimensions. The MIDEN’s Virtual Cadaver used a similar process.

For the demo at SC15, users in Texas can occupy the same virtual space as another user in Ann Arbor’s MIDEN. Via a Kinect sensor in Austin, a 3D mesh of the user will be projected into the MIDEN alongside Lyuba allowing for simultaneous interaction and exploration of the data.

Showings will take place in the MIDEN

Sean Petty and Ted Hall simultaneously explore the Lyuba data set, with Ted’s form being projected into the virtual space of the MIDEN via Kinect sensor.

More about the Lyuba specimen:
Fisher, Daniel C.; Shirley, Ethan A.; Whalen, Christopher D.; Calamari, Zachary T.; Rountrey, Adam N.;
Tikhonov, Alexei N.; Buigues, Bernard; Lacombat, Frédéric; Grigoriev, Semyon; Lazarev, Piotr A. (2014 July). “X-ray Computed Tomography of Two Mammoth Calf Mummies.” Journal of Paleontology 88(4):664-675. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1666/13-092

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 Cubify.com 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 www.engin.umich.edu/mconnex

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

Virtual Cadaver Featured in Proto Magazine

Virtual Cadaver Featured in Proto Magazine

Proto Magazine features articles on biomedicine and health care, targeting physicians, researchers and policy makers.

Proto is a natural science magazine produced by Massachusetts General Hospital in collaboration with Time Inc. Content Solutions. Launched in 2005, the magazine covers topics in the field of biomedicine and health care, targeting physicians, researchers and policy makers. In June, Proto featured an article, “Mortal Remains” that discusses alternatives to using real cadavers in the study of medicine.

Preserving human remains for use as a cadaver during a school semester has tremendous costs associated with it. The article in Proto magazine discusses options for revolutionizing this area of study, from the mention of old techniques like 17th Century anatomically correct wax models or Plastination (the process of removing fluids from the body and instead injecting a polymer) to new technology utilizing the Visible Human data, with a specific mention of the Duderstadt Center’s Virtual Cadaver.

To learn more, the full article from Proto Magazine can be found here.

Sean Petty manipulates cross-sections of the Virtual Cadaver from within the 3D Lab’s virtual reality environment, the MIDEN.

Duderstadt Center Collaboration on NASA Proposals

Duderstadt Center Collaboration on NASA Proposals

Cover Graphics for the Armada Proposal for NASA

Over the years the Duderstadt Center has provided its services of visualization for a variety of NASA Proposals. Submitting a proposal requires a packet of information and visual aids that follow a strict format and series of guidelines.

Illustration from NASA proposal, MAARSI

Most recently, the Duderstadt Center assisted with the Mars Radar and Radiometry Subsurface Investigation (MARRSI) proposal. This was submitted in December 2013 and is currently awaiting a response. This proposal aims to implement new ways of tracing evidence of water in the martian soil, by utilizing the antenna of the existing Mars rovers. This antenna would detect signals from Earth that are reflected off the surface of Mars, thereby probing the soil for indications of water. The Duderstadt Center worked with the professor involved, as well as NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to design a proposal cover, diagrams and CDs for submission that adhere to the format requested.

Satellite render for NASA proposal, AERIE

Additionally, the Duderstadt Center was also involved in the Trace Gas Microwave Radiometer (TGMR) proposal. This proposal was centered on detecting the processes that produce and destroy methane gas on the surface of Mars. The goal of both of these proposals is to seek evidence of both methane and water on Mars, which may lead to discovering signs of bacterial life on Mars.

In the past, the Duderstadt Center designed mission logos and a cover for the Armada proposal. This proposal concerned documenting atmospheric events on Earth using cube satellites.

Technology Interventions for Health, $5M Center Award from Department of Education (UMHS, CoE, SI, Library)

Technology Interventions for Health, $5M Center Award from Department of Education (UMHS, CoE, SI, Library)

Recently, the University of Michigan received a prestigious 5 million dollar Center Grant, awarded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), part of the Department of Education.

The funds from this award will primarily be used to pursue several development, research, and training projects/studies involving technology interventions for self management of health behaviors. The newly formed center, led by Michelle Meade (PI, Rehab Medicine), will be an interdisciplinary endeavor, involving clinicians, researchers, and engineers from multiple departments on campus. This will allow UM researchers to continue to study how technology (including applications for smartphones/tablets, video games) can benefit individuals with spinal cord or neuro-developmental disabilities.

S.C.I Hard – an educational mobile game teaching independence to young adults with spinal cord injuries

For the past three years, the Duderstadt Center has been developing SCI Hard, a transformative game facilitating skill development and promoting the ability of individuals with Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI). Through game-play, SCI Hard teaches players how to manage their health and interact more readily in home, health care and community environments. Combining practical teaching methods with the element of play, SCI Hard aims to give autonomy and confidence back to individuals who find their world drastically altered after a spinal cord injury, specifically young men (ages 15-25) with a recent SCI.

Players navigate the game by wheelchair, enabling them to face their real-world challenges: juggling doctors’ appointments, attending therapy sessions to build muscle, and learning to drive a wheelchair-accessible vehicle. Even banal tasks such as waiting in line at the DMV are covered in a way that exposes the new obstacles individuals with a SCI may face. SCI Hard tackles this difficult subject matter with optimism and an earnest of humor. (The player’s quest is ultimately to stop the evil Dr. Schrync from taking over the world with zombie animals.)

Funds from this grant will be used to study how playing games like SCI Hard can directly benefit the health or alter the behaviors of individuals with a SCI, an effort that has been supported and well received by the accessibility advocacy, gamification, and health science communities. Receiving the Center Grant allows Duderstadt Center to continue to develop SCI Hard and other projects through Android support, more health/configuration options, voice acting throughout for greater immersion, and leader boards to help track progress.

To learn more about how the grant will be used and what University of Michigan departments are involved, read The Record’s write up on this great accomplishment. For a sneak-peek at SCI Hard and what it entails, check out the video below.

The 3D Production Pipeline: Teleporter Troubles Animation

The 3D Production Pipeline: Teleporter Troubles Animation

In the Fall, students were invited to participate in an immersive year-long course on 3D animation called The 3D Production Pipeline. The course was co-taught by Elona Van Gent (Stamps School of Art & Design) and Duderstadt Center’s Eric Maslowski, Steffen Heise & Stephanie O’Malley. Students with varying levels of experience constructed their concept, characters, storyboards and renderings, tirelessly working together to create a short animated feature called Teleporter Troubles, which follows the (mis)adventures of Wesley, a shy, smart blogger who is convinced he can use a teleporter to make an important date— meeting his girlfriend’s parents for the first time.

Concept art of Wesley, star of Teleporter Troubles

By combining the talents and resources of The Stamps School of Art & Design and the Duderstadt Center, students were able to create high-quality work in an innovative and collaborative space using state-of-the-art technology. To begin their process, students first drew concept art (what they imagined theircharacters, sets, and props would look like), many using Wacom tablets to capture the gesture and style of hand-drawing. From there, they used Maya for modeling the individual components, ZBrush to add detail to the models, and 3D Studio Max to put it all into motion! In 3D Studio Max, students adjusted the ‘rigs’ of their components to make them move and behave as they wanted. A rig is the skeletal structure of an animated object (much like the connected parts of a marionette puppet) that animators manipulate to create the desired posture or facial expressions of their characters. Because the class required copious amounts of teamwork to create one animation, students and professors used TeamLab, an online resource for file sharing and messaging, allowing students to upload their work and discuss their ideas in one convenient place online. The use of this software enabled students to animate professionally and communicate efficiently. (For more details on the teamwork involved and the exhausting creative process of animating, visit Play Gallery’s post on the project.)

Teleporter Troubles was created over the course of a year by the following team of students:
Zoe Allen-Wickler, Ashley Marie Allis, J’Vion Armstrong, Ashley Boudrie, Stephanie Boxold, Anna Jonetta Brown, Jaclyn Caris, Emily Cedar, Annie Cheng, John Foley, Paris London Glickman, Molly Lester, Rich Liverance, Lonny Marino, Olivia Meadows, Thabiso O Mhlaba, Maggie Miller, Kaisa Ryding and Sarah Schwendeman.

Finalized models of architectural elements.

U-M Future of Visualization Committee Issues Report

U-M Future of Visualization Committee Issues Report

The U-M Future of Visualization Committee* issued a report early this month focusing on the role Visualization plays at the University of Michigan, as well as steps for addressing growing needs on campus. The report concluded that two “visualization hubs” should be created on campus to make computing visualization services more accessible to our campus research community. “The hubs envisioned by the committee would leverage existing resources and consist of advanced workstations, high bandwidth connectivity, and collaborative learning spaces, with a support model based on that of the Duderstadt Center and Flux. The hardware and software would be configured to allow departments or individuals to purchase their own resources in a way that would reduce fragmentation and allow for efficient support, training, and maintenance.” (Text courtesy of Dan Miesler and ARC)

The following excerpts from the executive summary of the report highlight the importance and educational value of visualization services:

“The University of Michigan has seen incredible growth and change over the years. The growth will continue as we innovate and adapt. How we teach, conduct research, facilitate student learning, push technological boundaries, and collaborate with our peers will create demand for new tools and infrastructure. One such need is visualization because of the imperative role it plays in facilitating innovation. When one considers the vast quantities of data currently being generated from disparate domains, methods that facilitate discovery, exploration, and integration become necessary to ensure those data are understood and effectively used.

There is a great opportunity to change the way research and education has been done but to also allow for a seamless transition between the two through advancements in connectivity, mobility, and visualization. The opportunity here is tremendous, complex, and in no way trivial. Support for a responsive and organized visualization program and its cyberinfrastructure needs is necessary to leverage the opportunities currently present at the University of Michigan.”

A full copy of the report is available here.

*The committee was created by Dan Atkins with the charge of evaluating existing visualization technologies and methods on campus; developing an action plan for addressing deficiencies in visualization needs; establishing a group of visualization leaders; and communicating with the community on visualization topics. It is composed of faculty members and staff from ARC, University Libraries, Dentistry, LSA, the Medical School, ITS, Architecture and Urban Planning, Atmospheric and Oceanic and Space Sciences, and the College of Engineering. (Text courtesy of Dan Miesler and ARC)