26 January 2006 Digital Hammurabi: design and development of a 3D scanner for cuneiform tablets
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Cuneiform is an ancient form of writing in which wooden reeds were used to impress shapes upon moist clay tablets. Upon drying, the tablets preserved the written script with remarkable accuracy and durability. There are currently hundreds of thousands of cuneiform tablets spread throughout the world in both museums and private collections. The global scale of these artifacts presents several problems for scholars who wish to study them. It may be difficult or impossible to obtain access to a given collection. In addition, photographic records of the tablets many times prove to be inadequate for proper examination. Photographs lack the ability to alter the lighting conditions and view direction. As a solution to these problems, we describe a 3D scanner capable of acquiring the shape, color, and reflectance of a tablet as a complete 3D object. This data set could then be stored in an online library and manipulated by suitable rendering software that would allow a user to specify any view direction and lighting condition. The scanner utilizes a camera and telecentric lens to acquire images of the tablet under varying controlled illumination conditions. Image data are processed using photometric stereo and structured light techniques to determine the tablet shape; color information is reconstructed from primary color monochrome image data. The scanned surface is sampled at 26.8 μm lateral spacing and the height information is calculated on a much smaller scale. Scans of adjacent tablet sides are registered together to form a 3D surface model.
© (2006) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Daniel V. Hahn, Donald D. Duncan, Kevin C. Baldwin, Jonathon D. Cohen, Budirijanto Purnomo, "Digital Hammurabi: design and development of a 3D scanner for cuneiform tablets", Proc. SPIE 6056, Three-Dimensional Image Capture and Applications VII, 60560E (26 January 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.641219; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.641219

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