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:

An Application for Greek Transcription

An Application for Greek Transcription

Practice is the only way to learn a new language. However, when learning ancient languages, such as Greek, it can be difficult to get immediate, reliable feedback on practice work. This is why Professor Pablo Alvarez in Papyrology is working with Duderstadt Center student programmer Edward Wijaya to create an app for students to practice transcribing ancient Greek manuscripts into digital writing.

The app is divided into three modes: Professor/curator mode, student mode, and discovery mode. The professor mode allows the curator to upload a picture of the manuscript and post a line by line digital transcription of the document. These are the “answers” to the document. In student mode, these manuscript are transcribed by the students. When they click the check button, the student is given a line by line comparison to the curator’s answers. Furthermore, the discovery mode allows individuals with no Greek training to learn about the letters and read descriptions in the notations used.

A wide variety of fragile manuscripts which are often inaccessible to students are available on the app allowing the students to  gain experience with diverse handwriting and histories

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.