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Artec 3D and St. Cloud State University create next-generation virtual learning experience

Palo Alto, Calif. – November 3, 2015 – Artec 3D, a leading developer and manufacturer of professional 3D software and hardware, today announces that its handheld Artec Spider ™ scanner and Studio 10 software have been selected by St. Cloud State University’s (SCSU) Visualization Lab to broaden the university’s virtual learning offerings. Artec’s hardware and software are the latest additions to the institution’s cutting-edge Visualization Lab, which is powered by its own server and equipped with touch-enabled computers, stand-up touchscreen displays, projectors and virtual reality headsets. Artec’s scanning products are being used by the Visualization Lab to capture a wide range of real-world objects and expand the university’s collection of 3D models that can be studied by students in virtual environments.

Artec’s technology is capturing real-world objects that could not be studied otherwise. For example, students now have uninhibited virtual access to the university’s collection of rare and expensive skulls thanks to the Visualization Lab’s Interactive Skull Museum, a software application created to showcase the biology department’s extensive collection of artifacts. The department felt that firsthand experience with the skulls, which are traditionally kept behind a display, would enhance the learning experience. The challenge was enabling this interaction without risking the integrity of the delicate relics.

Artec’s Spider scanner allowed the Visualization Lab to capture the intricate level of detail on each skull in the collection, which includes those of cows, deer, foxes, bobcats and even humans. The portability of the handheld scanner and its ability to reproduce various textures and features in high quality proved especially useful for more complex skulls, such as those with antlers. The Artec Studio 10 software was used to seamlessly smooth the captured scan meshes of skull and antlers together, creating the final, watertight 3D digital model.

This semester’s biology students are the first to visit the Interactive Skull Museum, which runs on a series of networked MultiTaction interactive display tables that allow students to, turn, share, compare and study the department’s extensive inventory as if it was physically in front of them.

“This project wouldn’t have been possible without Artec’s technology,” said Mark Gill, Visualization Engineer at SCSU. “Its scanners and software are a dramatic improvement over what we had a year ago. I wouldn’t even have attempted this project back then. In the past, our scanning capabilities were limited to really large objects about the size of a mini-fridge. What’s more, we’re able to create many of our models in a matter of hours when it would have previously taken days.”

The use of high-precision scanners and advanced software enables the lab to take this project even further, specifically in terms of reconstruction. By building a new mesh using the skulls, the lab could uncover information about what that person or animal looked like, enabling more advanced study with the potential to benefit a variety of fields such as biology, anthropology, archeology and even medical.

Artec’s tools are allowing the lab to tackle other projects as well, such as the creation of 3D models of microscopic organisms like algae. The lab aims to turn images of this lifeform into a complete 3D mesh using Studio 10. The completed model could then be viewed using immersive virtual reality tools, exposing students to a whole new frontier of biological study.

“At SCSU we know that a true learning experience goes beyond textbooks and lectures,” said Dr. Adel Ali, associate dean of the College of Science and Engineering at SCSU. “Our staff and faculty are committed to providing the latest in innovative technologies and solutions, such as Artec’s professional scanners, to enhance the student experience and implement new learning techniques.”

“It’s very exciting to see the impact 3D technologies are making on education and the learning experience,” said Artyom Yukhin, president and CEO of Artec 3D. “Artec’s technology is transforming how students study objects, both large and impossibly small, that would be difficult to truly experience otherwise. It’s amazing to see what St. Cloud State University is accomplishing. We hope to see more educational institutions follow its example.

About Artec 3D

Artec 3D is a leading manufacturer of professional 3D scanning hardware and software, developed by a strong team of experts in the collection and processing of 3D surfaces and in biometric facial recognition. Fast and efficient, Artec scanners are used in a host of industries, including engineering, security, medicine, entertainment, design, fashion, heritage conservation, and many more.

About the St. Cloud State University Visualization Lab

St. Cloud State’s Visualization Lab is a state-of-the-art science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) lab. The lab works on several cross-disciplinary projects through the university and local communities, and with private industries, offering learning opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience in a continually advancing field. The lab is located in the university’s Integrated Science and Engineering Laboratory Facility (ISELF), a multi-disciplinary student-centered science facility that encourages collaboration, experiential learning and innovation.

For more information, visit www.stcloudstate.edu/iself.

About St. Cloud State University

St. Cloud State is one of Minnesota’s largest public universities with 15,461 students and more than 200 undergraduate and graduate programs in business, education, fine arts and humanities, science and engineering and social sciences. The university is located 70 miles northwest of the Twin Cities along the banks of the Mississippi River and has one of the strongest international programs in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system.

For more information, visit www.stcloudstate.edu.