We have cultural heritage that for a variety of different reasons could be destroyed, lost in a fire, hurricane, or a terrorist or vicious attack by somebody," says Professor Glenn Hill, Project Director of Visualization. But if that happens, Professor Hill says Texas Tech can recreate a replica, in this case, a new Statue of Liberty.
With 3-d laser equipment researchers can digitally map 'Lady Liberty' from the top of her torch to the tip of her nose. Here's how the laser works. "Theres 13 different locations we set this up. It shoots a beam of light, laser light out, and that bounces off the subject comes back to the laser and using basic time of light we know the distance it went," Hill says.
Hill says the machine moves at an incredible rate of 800 times a second and quickly the lasers begin to create a three dimensional map. "To create a digital model we have to connect the points with lines and make that a surface." The laser is set to measure a quarter of every inch. And Hill says the end result is amazingly real. "You really begin to appreciate the artists and the craftsmanship when you can get very close to some portions of her robe, the curves."
This is technology that can be applied to anything or anyone. Texas Tech Researcher, Elizabeth Louden, used the laser to map out my face and in minutes she created a digital image. Results from the digital statue will go from Texas Tech straight to the Library of Congress and the National Parks Service.
More than a dozen Tech researchers mapped out 70% of the Statue of Liberty back in August of 2001. Right now, they're searching for funding to be able to travel to New York this summer and complete the project. They will focus on mapping areas like the statues feet and the base of her gown.