New Digital Heritage Imaging Lab Opens

Inside the new DHI Lab

There is a new space in McDonel Hall for digital applications in archaeology. The Digital Heritage Imaging and Innovation Lab, or DHI Lab, held its grand opening on Thursday, May 2nd, 2019. This lab, housed in E36 of McDonel Hall, offers three main types of imaging techniques: 3D scanning, RTI (reflective transformance imaging), augmented and virtual reality, as well as 3D printing stations, a photogrammetry station and other digitization methods. This new space also houses equipment and services for digital documentation, digital preservation, and digitally enabled public engagement. In addition to the technologies housed within, its primary work space is set up for classes, workshops, individual research, or group projects. The idea for this new learning space was fostered through a collaboration among LEADR staff and Anthropology faculty with two main motivations for creating the space. The Department of Anthropology wanted to embrace our growing strength in digital cultural heritage. This idea, coupled with the success of LEADR, created a unique opportunity to develop a space supporting a lab for faculty and graduate/undergraduate students interested in applying digital methods and computational approaches to material culture.

While this lab has been operating under its soft opening throughout Fall Semester 2018 to work out the kinks, the Open House to demonstrate its full capabilities to the public, occurred during the late morning of May 2nd with refreshments being offered and students and faculty on hand to display the new technologies. This new learning space will help support digital components in archaeological field schools, provide experiential learning, hands on learning, and applied learning. The experiences obtained from this lab will serve students choosing to go on to any digital field and will offer them very marketable skills in digital methods. It is geared primarily towards 3D capture, virtual reality, and 3D printing of material culture and collections.

The new DHI Lab is run by the Department of Anthropology and is part of the LEADR family of facilities. Funds for this digital learning space came from a combination of Anthropology and TLE funds from the Provost’s office (technology, learning, environments). Some of the current projects already in the works here include the Campus Archaeology Program utilizing 3D capture, 3D capture of archaeology collections from the MSU Museum, a collaborative project with the Michigan History Center digitizing Michigan relics, and a Masters thesis by anthropology student Taylor Panczak.

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