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.
Over the past year the Collections Department of the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) has been developing a multi-image compositing technique, colloquially know as Rapid Capture Composited Imagery (RCCI). This process was developed in order to achieve high resolution photography of large, two dimensional and of nearly single-plane 3-D objects by utilizing off-the-shelf technology and equipment in a quick and efficient manner.