With most courses in college the one thing that usually enhances learning of a particular subject is getting your hands dirty. Meaning, getting hands on experience. For most science courses this not a problem but when students want to examine something that may be too fragile, too valuable, too small, or inaccessible, there wasn’t much of a solution until now. In an article on the website Campus Technology they discuss how St. Cloud State University’s Visualization Lab has added high-precision 3D scanners to its technology portfolio, allowing students and faculty to examine objects that previously were inaccessible.
The Minnesota university chose Artec 3D to provide the 3D scanner hardware and its Studio 10 software, along with a dedicated server, touch-enabled computers, stand-up touchscreen displays, projectors and virtual reality headsets. The technology, which became available at the beginning of the fall 2015 semester, allows St. Cloud to expand its collection of 3D models that can be studied in virtual environments.
Through the Visualization Lab’s Interactive Skull Museum portfolio, biology students now can examine the department’s wide collection of cow, deer, fox, bobcat and even human skulls — specimens that often are quite delicate and cannot be handled easily. Using the 3D scanners, students have been able to create virtual objects that can be turned, shared and explored without concerns about damaging them. The tools will also allow students to create 3D models of microscopic organisms like algae that can be viewed using virtual reality tools.
St. Cloud’s Visualization Lab, located in the school’s Integrated Science and Engineering Laboratory Facility, allows faculty and students access to technology that can be used in a wide variety of cross-disciplinary projects that give students hands-on experience.
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