Computer Graphics World

June/July 2011

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n n n n CAD•Scanning world is becoming interrelated with the digital world, and this is driv- ing new frontiers in software. Scanned data is being fed into computer- aided design (CAD) programs to serve as a starting point or even to co-exist with CAD data, depending on the application. And, on the other end, the digital is becoming real thanks to 3D printing machines. This mixing and matching of the real and virtual is causing a major shift in the way people work with software, including CAD programs. It’s CAD has always been based on a one-to-one relationship between the digital data and the building, place, or physical entity it is describing. Nevertheless, CAD is usually one step removed from the real thing—it’s an interpretation because something always seems to change between conceptualization and realization. Much of the work going on in CAD and its related fields is aimed at tightening the loop between concep- tualization and realization…and sometimes, back again. As is so obvious now, many important sites are located in conflict getting real, folks. Increasingly, the real areas and are in danger of being lost or destroyed (see “Preserving the Past,” September 2001). Kacyra founded CyArk after the Taliban blew up the Bamiyan Buddhas, sixth century statues carved into the side of an Afghanistan cliff, in 2001. He realized then that scans would leave an accurate record of what was lost and might even make it possible to reconstruct the Buddhas using 3D scan data. That’s because the scanners record more than 3D data; they also record the RGB and light intensity of the scanned object’s surface, which provides additional information, These architectural scans were taken in approximate- ly six hours, and processed in a day with Pointools software. The resulting point-cloud data can be brought into CAD programs and put to practical use. Saving History Digital scanning is one of these important links in this reality chain. Con- sider, for instance, Oakland, California-based nonprofit CyArk, founded by inventor Ben Kacyra. Through his work in construction, Kacyra in- vented laser scanning for large sites and promoted its use in architecture and construction. He founded the scanner company Cyra Technologies, which he sold to Leica and is now part of the Swedish metrology giant Hexagon. CyArk is Kacyra’s current venture—the company scans archae- ological sites, builds models, and preserves information for the future. 28 June/July 2011 such as usage of different materials, the presence of cracks, and so forth. This type of data, for instance, has proved more than theoretical, having been especially useful in reconstructing Native American petroglyphs. For these types of projects, CyArk works closely with the World Mon- uments Fund (WMF), which was founded to help preserve important cultural heritage sites around the world and to educate people about the historical sites and the need to preserve them. A WMF Watch List was created to track sites that are especially endangered, and the WMF has worked directly with CyArk to gather information about some of those endangered locales. The teams often find themselves in logistically chal-

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