Metropolitan Museum of Art | NYC Museum Media Lab Meetup

September 28, 2014

Met Media Lab 3d scans/prints

This week I didn’t just go look at an exhibit, but I participated. Every month or so, Don Undeen opens the  Met Media Lab to the tech and arts communities to experiment with using the museum’s content with technology.

In this month’s meetup Making engaging learning materials from 3d museum scans, Ross McKegney from was invited to demonstrate his company’s new web-based tools for generating 3d experiences to be displayed in the browser, and challenged us to come up with creative ways to use these.

While the tools are simple to learn and to use, much of the meeting was still taken up by learning and experimenting with the tools.   My experiment — “Re-heading” is shown above. It’s a quick cheezy demo, but seemed to inspire lots of ideas.

Some of the stuff we’ve done other months:

  • gone out into the galleries and captured are using 123D catch and put them on Thingiverse,
  • cleaned up the  captures and made 3d prints using Meshlab, Meshmixer and Tinkercad,
  • created API’s to expose various Met Museum data (I republished their calendar of envents),
  • created mobile tours of the Met with some simple web-based tools (mine was on Stairs of the Met),
  • Experimented with prototyping ways to remix art to create new experiences of the maker city of the future. My wife Donna and I created 3D-printed “physical graffiti sculptures to be left in park fences around the city.

Overall, this group is ideal for me, and great fun for anyone interested in art, technology and building things.  This is a closed group, but apply if you’re interested. Don Undeen, who leads the Met’s Media Lab as well as this meet-up is super-enthusiastic and inspirational.

Tech bonus

These meetings are all one big tech bonus. This week, we learned about how WebGL is now available in all browsers with the latest Safari release, and we saw some examples of 3d interactives.  While the web based tools and the output we generated worked well on all of our macs, they were so CPU/GPU intensive that our laptops got hot and those of us on battery saw them run down quickly (so I lent out my power supply).

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