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Scientists Can Now 3D Print Otzi The Mummified Ice Man

by • February 17, 2016 • No Comments

Otzi, for those not up on their 5,300-year-old mummified men, died and was frozen in the Alps near Hauslabjoch on the border between Austria and Italy. His body is one of the most preserved human mummies in Europe and now he’s getting a 3D-printed makeover.

Researchers and engineers have worked together with 3D-printing firm Materialise to ideally scan Otzi. This allows for researchers to 3D print his tortured frame over and over again and, in an informative episode of Nova, an artist can turn it into a ideal replica of the mummy for study by researchers and future museum-goers. Otzi, for his part, his hanging out in a climate-controlled vault in Italy so he does not degenerate.

The engineers had to return it into a few of Otzi’s parts of scratch, a feat possible thanks to 3D versioning techniques. From the release:

The Ice Man was initially subjected to standard medical imaging in the form of CT scans. Because a few body parts were missing, Materialise engineers had to painstakingly return it into those missing elements. One such missing part were a few of Ötzi’s ribs, which an engineer had to create back into the body by mirroring other existing ribs in 3-matic. Once the body was captured as a single continuous image, the Materialise engineering team and so set of to bring the world’s just copy of the Ice Man to life. Making use of its own patented mammoth Stereolithography machine, Materialise return it intod the 5’5” replica of an amber bath of liquid resin. World famous Paleo artist Gary Staab upcoming went to work on the 3D resin version. After layer upon layer of material and paint, Staab introduced the life-like finishing touches to the Ice Man replica such which a few may be complex pressed to see any difference between the original and its replica.

Otzi 2 (c) Materialise

The episode of Nova airs tonight on PBS. It is not clear whether or not Otzi can rise of the dead and attack the camera crew like a Game Of Thrones White Walker during the program, but all signs point to “no.”


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