3D Modeling

Explore the world of 3D from the technology to how it can be used in the the classroom.

Augmented Reality Applied to Education

One example of augmented reality using text images (Photo: Wiki Commons).

What is Augmented Reality?

As a science educator I often find myself walking a fine line between wanting kids to experience nature in person, unplugged and engaged with their surroundings. But, I can't turn a blind eye to technology.   STEM science education is rapidly emerging as part of classroom requirements, and that includes tech. Besides, most of the kids I teach or write curriculum for were born with smart technology at their fingertips, and it's how they understand their world.

One of the newest technologies emerging for museums, science centers, engineering and design, and even advertising is augmented reality or AR.  Augmented reality is a  type of smart technology that superimposes a computer-generated image onto a user's view of the world using a smart phone, iPad, or camera on your computer. There are many different types of AR, but most require that you download an app to be able to see these over-laid images. You'll also a device with a camera (phone, tablet, or computer). The idea is that your device, using image cues, uploads a computer-generated video, 3-D image, photos/photo album, news-feed, or interactive animation. The computer program keys in on one of several types of cues in static images, these can be things like QR codes (those black and white boxes of smaller boxes you see everywhere), which is a symbol that is unique to the app you're using, or even a specific picture, image, artwork, or advertisement.

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3D Books for Learning

Uncover Books offer a range of books for kids (and adults) interested in knowing what goes on inside of animals.

As we're approaching Christmas, and attention is turning once again to holiday shopping and ideas I wanted to review a series of books that I've found to be a great supplement to my classes and that kids absolutely love. They are called "Uncover Books." The books are a hybrid of the models you made as a kid of the clear human body and a board book. But these books are much more.

Uncover books
Uncover 3-D Dolphin Book

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3D Modeling and the Smithsonian Collections

Today the Smithsonian is releasing the debut of its new 3D Digitization Collections on its web page  Smithsonian X 3D (beta). This is a new way to curate the collections of the Smithsonian, not just through 2D pictures but also through 3D interactive images. Imaging like this will revolutionize how students visit the Smithsonian and interact with the collections.

First, a disclaimer, you will need 3D viewing capability on your web browser to see the images I'm talking about. If you have the newest version of Firefox or Google Chrome you'll be fine, and it works with Safari as well. I found that even though I have the newest version of Firefox that my 3D WebGL was not enabled. If you need help enabling the feature check out this super helpful website https://www.biodigitalhuman.com/home/enabling-webgl.html for some simple steps. This page from SI shows you the prerequisites http://3d.si.edu/article/prerequisites.

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