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PhotoRobot gives objects third archival dimension

How can you transfer a ceramic object onto a computer screen three-dimensionally? By photographing it all over from a 360-degree angle and digitising its shape.
This work can be performed by the PhotoRobot, a multi-camera system for 360 spins and 3D, which is snapping away at Aalto University’s new Space 21 facility.
Suureen kaarevaan telineeseen on kiinnitetty kamera, jossa on pitkä objektiivi. Se on kohdistettu keskellä olevaan tasoon, jossa on keltainen keraaminen esine. Pöytätason vieressä on suuri valaisin ja valkokangas sen edessä. Pöydän takana punaiseen t-paitaan pukeutunut henkilö säätää laitteistoa.
Jason Selvarajan handles bookings for using the PhotoRobot at the Space 21 project space on Otaniemi campus. Photo: Kalle Kataila.

The digitisation effort has focused on a large collection of student art exercise works. Legendary ceramicist and Professor Kyllikki Salmenhaara began to grow a collection of student works in the 1960s and it now consists of some 6 000 objects. One thousand of these have already been digitised and more than 300 can be examined as three-dimensional archival objects.

This provides researchers and others who value the archive’s treasures a fresh dimension to scrutinise. Giving physical access to fragile ceramic pieces would be problematic, but photographs alone can’t always provide a full picture of the objects.

A side-benefit of the archive project is the creation of an efficient self-service process for digitising objects and making more use of the PhotoRobot. The device is now available for use by students and staff.

This article has been published in the Aalto University Magazine issue 30 (issuu.com), April 2022.

Go to the Aalto University Magazine page

Read more about the Aalto University Archive's digitisation project

Suuri alhaalta ja ylhäältä kapea, keskeltä leveä saviruukku, jossa on ruskea ja sininen lasitus.

Ceramics in the Aalto University Archives collection

A significant proportion of the archive ceramic collection is available to explore digitally. The collections consist of the Kyllikki Salmenhaara archive, Airi Hortling archive and the collection of ceramics and glass art.

Aalto University Archives
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