China’s famous Terracotta Army is preserved thanks to 3D scanning

Artec 3D is a developer and manufacturer of professional 3D scanning hardware and software.

Today (19 October 2016) Artec 3D announces that its light-based handheld 3D scanners were used by researchers at Northwest University in Xi’an, China.

The scanner was used to accurately capture the shape and texture of the skulls and other bones of young females that were found at China’s famous Terracotta Army burial pits. Most were located around the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, Qin Shi Huang.


The first statues (warriors guarding the emperor’s tomb) were discovered and soon became famously known as the Terracotta Army in 1974. Artec 3D Studio’s software was among the programs used to develop high-resolution 3D models from the captured data.

This announcement comes amidst the surfacing of new research that indicates ancient Greek artists could have helped design the China’s famous Terracotta Army.

These new discoveries and scanning administered using Artec’s technology were featured in the BBC’s most recent documentary titled, “The Greatest Tomb on Earth: Secrets of Ancient China.”

“The practice of 3D scanning has quickly become a vital tool for historical preservation both on site and in the lab,” said Artyom Yukhin, president and CEO of Artec 3D.

“The ability to easily create a detailed 3D model is invaluable when dealing with artefacts and remains that are over 2,000 years old and will inevitably degrade over time.

The adoption of 3D scanning has also allowed archaeology, palaeontology and anthropology to become globally collaborative practices.”

“Artec Spider captured the texture of the bones with ridiculous detail that could be seen both during the actual scanning process and in the final 3D model,” said Li Kang, Researcher for Northwest University’s Department of Geology.

“In addition to using Artec’s technology for heritage preservation, the University also collaborates with police and uses Artec scanners for facial reconstruction.”

The university’s staff produced a medical database of more than 2,000 CT images of heads of these Chinese people.


The 2,000 samples were converted into 3D mesh models of human faces and skulls in order to use these figures for facial reconstruction of many unidentified skulls.

Artec’s structured-light, full-color scanners capture the geometry of an object by projecting light in a pattern that allows for distance to be calculated through triangulation.

The Spider, which was chosen for this project, has a 3D resolution of up to 0.1 mm with 0.05 mm accuracy. This allows for complex textures, such as those of bones, to be captured with the utmost detail.

Artec’s high-resolution 3D scanners achieve this high-level of precision through hybrid geometry and colour data capture, eliminating the need for sticking targets to the object being scanned, which could prove harmful to historical objects.

In addition to the task being done by the Northwest University, Artec’s 3D scanners have also been used to produce 3D scans during other historically significant projects.

These projects include the digitalization of various artefacts in museums around the world, such as the human ancestor Homo naledi in the Rising Star cave system, President Obama for the creation of his presidential bust, and 1.8 million-year-old fossils found at Turkana Lake, in Kenya, alongside renowned palaeontologist Louise Leakey.

Read the original article here: Artec 3D preserves history

Read more about the Artec Spider/Space Spider Click Here.


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