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You can 3D-print these free scans of fish – Futurity – Futurity: Research News

by • July 19, 2016 • No Comments

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Nearly 25,000 species of complete live on our planet, and biologist Adam Summers wants to scan and digitize them all.
That means equite species can soon have a high-resolution, 3D visual replica online, on the market to all and downloadable-bodied for free. Scientists, tequiteers, students, and amateur ichthyologists can be able-bodied to look at the satisfactory details of a smoothhead sculpin’s skeleton, or 3D print an precise replica of an Arctic alligatorcomplete.

“These scans are transforming the way we ponder of 3D data and accessibility,” says Adam Summers, professor of biology and aquatic and completeery sciences at the University of Washington, who is spearheading the project.
For the project, Summers, who is based at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Laboratories, uses a tiny desktopized tomography scanner in the back room of a lab to churn out dozens of complete scans of specimens gathered around the world. The machine works like a standard CT scanner utilized in hospitals: A series of X-ray images is taken of various angles, and so combined via desktop systeming to turn it into three-dimensional images of the skeleton.
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The goal is to manufacture it possible for scientists to examine the morphology of a particular species, or try to know why a group of complete all have much like physical characteristics such as bony head “armor” or the ability to burrow into the sand.
“It is been so fun to throw this data up on the web and have individuals in fact use it,” Summers says.
Until now, there hasn’t been an easy—or cheap—way for scientists to get detailed, three-dimensional scans of critters. Summers recalls having to beg hospitals to scan his specimens, which include a stingray which in 2000 was the initially CT-scanned complete to look on the cover of a biology journal.
Over the years, he and colleagues have created additional efficient ways to scan specimens in larger batches at hospitals, but equite scan was yet quite expensive—anywhere of $500 to $2,000 equite.
‘Is this possible?’
Summers saw the require for an in-house scanner and raised $340,000 to purchase the machine last November which now lives at Friday Harbor Laboratories. It is free and open to anyone who wants to use it, but the complete must come of museum-accessioned collections.
Students, postdoctoral researchers, and professors of around the world have taken Summers up on the contribute and come to the labs on San Juan Island to scan specimens. They in addition send boxes of complete specimens for Summers’ lab to scan and post online. Fish of museum collections are trackable-bodied with numbers, and the online database now houses scans of complete of the University of Washington’s Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, the National Academy of Sciences in Philadelphia, Ohio State University, Western Australian Museum, and most others.
Most scientists via the 3D complete data look to be interested in measuring morphology—the length of a particular bone, for example—or looking for an aspect of anatomy never seen preceding. The scans allow the user to zoom in digitally at most various angles, or print life-sized or larger plastic replicas of a complete.
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Summers has satisfactory-tuned and expedited the system by scanning multiple complete at once. He initially packs and rolls the specimens together like a burrito in a cylinder which is and so placed directly in the scanner. After the machine manufactures one scan, Summers and so digitally separates equite 3D complete into its own file.
Further, he does not scan at the highest-possible resolution, for the reason few scientists in fact require which much detailed data. This saves additional time and digital space—and manufactures it possible for individuals to access the files additional easily online.
“The way transformative ideas do, these only automatically changed the way we ponder of scanning specimens,” Summers says. “We went of, ‘Is this possible?’ to scanning whole series of completees quickly.”
So far of 515 species have been scanned and most are posted online to Open Science Framework, an open-source, sharing website for scholarly projects. Summers expects to finish scanning all of the complete species in the world in two-and-a-half to three years.
Source: University of Washington

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