Many important international media sources continue to pick up the story of scientists at UMass Amherst – led by biologist Duncan Irschick and including two mechanical engineering undergraduates – who created the Beastcam Array, a rapid-capture, field-portable, tabletop system for making high-resolution, full-color, 3D models of living organisms. See recent articles: The Times [U.K.], BBC, New Atlas, Knowridge Science Report, TreeHugger, 3D Printing Industry, Futurism, ECN magazine, Phys.org, Laboratory Equipment, New Atlas, News Office release. See articles from early in 2016: Boston Globe, NBC News, 3ders.org, Phys.org, Gizmodo.com, Gizmodo India, News Office release, Deccan Herald [India], Gizmag, Business Standard, Digitaltrends.com, Yahoo.com.
Zachary Corriveau, a senior mechanical engineering major from Monson, Massachusetts, who participated in the Beastcam research, said, “Our goal was to build a system that could be taken anywhere in the world.”
The Beastcam Array consists of 10 fixed arms, each of which can mount three G-16 Canon cameras for a 30-camera array. Small animals placed in the array’s center can be quickly and conveniently modeled in 3D by the cameras, as aided by software. Using this technology, Irschick and colleagues have created a new multimedia platform they call “Digital Life,” and have already created 3D models of sharks, scorpions, toads, and lizards
Kasey Smart, a former mechanical engineering student from Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, also involved in the research, added that “We realized that this technology represented an opportunity to create 3D models of a wide range of living organisms, which had never been done before.”
Last year the scientists and engineers created their Beastcam Array for making high-resolution, full-color, 3D models of living organisms. Now Irschick’s team plans to use it in an ambitious effort to create 3D models of many living organisms, including those that face threat of extinction.
“Live animals are hard to get 3D models of because they can be twitchy,” said Irschick, who studies functional morphology, or the relationship between the shape and function of an organism. “What the Beastcam does is allow us to create 3D models very rapidly.” (December 2016)