Electrical and computer engineering professor Dr. Larry Hassebrook has researched Structured Light Illumination and 3D scanning for over 30 years. Testing the applications and benefits of his scanner prototypes has led him everywhere from graveyards at midnight to rappelling into once inaccessible caves. However, this past summer, Dr. Hassebrook put his equipment to the ultimate test: embarking on three different expeditions in three countries, on land and in water, exposing his scanners to rigorous travel, hostile environmental conditions and the Mediterranean Sea; if Dr. Hassebrook’s goal to produce a durable, high-resolution portable scanners and algorithms able to record crucial data on immovable artifacts were to be achieved, this trip would establish the rubric.
In 2009, graduate student Eli Crane and Dr. Chris Begley of Transylvania University traveled to the rain forest of Honduras to scan petroglyphs with a new “Rotate and Hold Scanner,” which they dubbed “RAHAS.” The scanner gave them the unique capacity to obtain 3D data from the eroded petroglyphs. Two years later, with funding from National Geographic, Cave Archaeology Investigation & Research Network (CAIRN) and S.C.U.B.A. equipment supplied by the Ecomuseu Cap de Cavalleria in Menorca, Spain, Dr. Hassebrook, Dr. Begley and Crane were ready to test more refined versions of RAHAS with challenging archeological discovery opportunities.
In July, they departed for Honduras, where they scanned petroglyphs; Sicily, where they collected data on a pre-Roman Carthaginian ship ram and Menorca, Spain, where they created 3D maps of caves and scanned coins and underwater artifacts. From travel hazards to interesting discoveries to the beauty of the Mediterranean Sea, the crew chronicled their trip in pictures. Check out the slideshow below to see their travels, challenges and achievements.