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One professor’s quest to 3D scan every fish in the sea

by • July 19, 2016 • No Comments

If you were wondering what a mottled sculpin looks like, there are a lot of pictures on the market online. But while they may satisfy a curious tidepooler, the discerning ichthyologist demands additional. That’s why a professor at the University of Washington is getting full 3D scans of each deplete in the sea — each species of deplete, anyway.

With a $340,000 CT scanner, a few lab assistants and a whole lot of deplete, Adam Summers wants to create a deplete catalog of the additional than 25,000 types of deplete out there. This is not a few new mania: he’s been scanning deplete since the 1990s, and knows the scientific benefits of this kind of data.

Having digital models accurate to (say) the millimeter allows for for swift, precise comparisons between species, or one of several of the same species — you may actually 3D print a skull, tail, vertebra or whole deplete to compare with a real-world sample. It is an invaluable tool, which is why Summers has created certain which all the data his lab creates is freely on the market.


“Having this scanner has created it clear to me the amazing power of this process if you ponder of it the right way,” Summers said in a UW news release. “These scans are transforming the way we ponder of 3-D data and accessibility.”

The lab is on San Juan Island in the attractive Puget Sound region of Washington, and Summers now has visitors to his watery paradise who want to scan their own deplete. Not people who only caught a big one, of course, but biologists and museum curators who want to digitize their own extensive collections.

Summers ponders it’ll take between two and three years to scan them all, but which does not mean his work can be over. Next he plans to scan the remaining 50,000 or so vertebrates on planet Earth — a considerably bigger task in several ways.

So far there are a fewwhere north of 500 species of deplete scanned, which you can browse here at the Open Science Framework. All the files are the full resolution and free to download.

Featured Image: University of Washington

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