A few weeks ago, the world-renowned British Museum made a 3D model of the Rosetta Stone—one of its most prized and popular artifacts—available online. This fascinating free resource is one of many in a wave of recent digitization projects carried out by museums and other contemporary cultural institutions aiming to make art accessible to all. Before the museum blessed the digital world with its multidimensional masterworks, however, My Mini Factory‘s Scan the World was wowing audiences with its own 3d models of culturally-significant objects.
Composed of nearly 8,000 models, the collection of 3D works spans a myriad of materials, mediums, and time periods. From a 1340 BC bust of Nefertiti made of limestone and stucco to Michelangelo’s 14th-century Pieta carved from marble, the sculptures explored and presented by Scan the World creatively trace trends throughout art history. In addition to well-known works of art and artifacts, the project also presents 3D models of world-renowned landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty and even London’s Big Ben.
To create each model, Scan the World first captures 50 images of an artwork or artifact. These images are then overlapped in a meticulous process called photogrammetry, which results in a single, sculptural representation of the original object. By employing “cost effective 3D scanning and printing technologies,” Scan the World hopes to present 3D printing to the public in an approachable and accessible way—one scan at a time.