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Indianapolis Motor Speedway Artifacts Digitized For 3-D Display

Among the items the team has digitized so far are hood ornaments, helmets, and race suits.

Photo: IUPUI Collections

Among the items the team has digitized so far are hood ornaments, helmets, and race suits.

Indy Car race fans will travel to the speedway in Indianapolis this weekend for the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500. But a team at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is creating another way for Hoosiers to get an up close look at racing history from your home.

At the University Library Center for Digital Scholarship, digital 3-D models are being created from items from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Jenny Johnson is the Head of Digitization Services for the Center of Digital Scholarship at the IUPUI University Library.

“We’ve been digitizing 2-D models since 2006, and about a year and a half ago, we were introduced to a newer technology,” Johnson says.

With a structured white light scanner, the team creates interactive displays by scanning an item’s geometry. Johnson says the scanners are made for manufacturing and are accurate within 1/20th  of a millimeter.

Texture is added to the displays to create the models.

Among the items the team has digitized so far are hood ornaments, helmets and race suits.

“These aren’t pictures that are stitched together,” Johnson says, pointing to a suit. “This has been built using a 3-D scanner.”

Johnson says the digital presentation allows people to see the artifacts even if they can’t make it to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

“You can zoom them. You can pan them. You can download them for 3-D printing,” she says.

You can also view the items in virtual reality.

Johnson says the next big step would be to digitize an entire car.

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