In April, the Smithsonian X 3D team pointed their lasers and scanners at the Bell X-1, the same iconic aircraft that shot Capt. Charles ‘Chuck’ Yeager across the pristine skies of the Mojave Desert to a record-breaking speed. On October 14, 1947, in the Bell X-1, Yeager became the first pilot to fly faster than sound. Now, we can all get as close to the Bell X-1 as Yeager himself with the recently released 3D tour of the exterior of the aircraft.
Every week or two we see news of another museum digitizing its collection and making it accessible online. The Smithsonian is no exception, and efforts are under way across our campus to scan artifacts, works of art, documents, and films and put them on our websites. These projects take months if not years to complete, but it is our high priority to open the museums to visitors beyond our walls, and digitization is a key part of our strategy.
Smithsonian X 3D brings museum collections to homes and classrooms by applying cutting-edge 3D technology to one-of-a-kind objects such as the 1903 Wright Flyer, Lincoln’s Life Masks, a 1500 year old Buddha sculpture, a prehistoric fossilized whale, or a Super Nova. The 3D models are presented online at 3D.SI.EDU through a plug-in free explorer based on WebGL, which was created for the Smithsonian by the 3D design firm Autodesk.