Source: Sun Sentinel
If you’ve ever paid a visit to Bimini in the Bahamas to get up close and personal with great hammerheads, you might well have bumped into local celebrity Nemesis. Now—appropriately for these coronavirus-infested times—you don’t have to go to all that trouble to find her most photogenic angle: Scientists have created a first-of-its-kind interactive 3D model of the 11-foot superstar shark that you can play with to your heart’s content.
The breakthrough model was created by the West Palm Beach-based ANGARI Foundation and the Digital Life Project, a non-profit initiative led by Duncan Irschick at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, along with videographer Casey Sapp and digital artist Jeremy Bot. “This is the first initiative to do what would be considered videogrammetry or what would be considered volumetric capture,” says Sapp. “And capturing digitally the entire animal and its movement underwater, its natural movement, it’s never been done. No precedent, no history. This is the first of its kind.”
Data for the model were captured earlier this year using multiple synchronized cameras in a circular configuration, and apparently, Nemesis enjoyed all the attention. “When we were filming, she just was the best shark. Kind of the most regular shark, the most, I don’t know, well-behaved,” says Irschick. “She does the things we wanted her to do.”
The model is provided free to the public for nonprofit use, and the project team hopes it will serve as a blueprint for creating 3D models of other marine species—potentially even allowing aquariums of the future to exhibit interactive, animated models rather than marine creatures in captivity.
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