Scientists travel around the world to conduct research on insects. This means thousands of flight kilometres for ants, bees or beetles, some of which are millimetre in size. But thanks to the latest digitization technology, a few clicks on the computer will be enough to detect every tiny hair on a bee. This is made possible by the world's first 3D scanner for insects from museum collections, the so-called Darmstadt Insect Scanner (DISC3D). It finds its way into the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.
"Our task is to open our collection to science and for the good of mankind. In order to find answers to questions about insect mortality, for example, it is an enormous advantage to be able to research insects worldwide at the click of a mouse," says General Director Johannes Vogel.
"We become an open research museum and at the same time less CO2 is released into the air. We need more such cooperation and open source projects in order to find solutions to the questions of the future. Because many answers lie in the natural history collections of this world."
Safeguarding valuable natural history collections for posterity
Even the smallest insects are digitally imaged using the fully automatic Darmstadt insect scanner which creates high-resolution, three-dimensional objects. Insects hundreds of years old can thus be digitally preserved for posterity. But the 3D objects also serve current research questions and can give researchers from all over the world important clues for their questions.
"The insect scanner is just as suitable for flies a few millimeters in size as for beetles several centimeters in size," says Michael Heethoff, one of the developers at Darmstadt Technical University. "The system we developed is unique and we are very pleased that it is now being used in the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.
For the further open source development of the device, the developers Ströbel, Heethoff, Schmelzle and Blüthgen, together with colleagues from the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences, the Technical University of Darmstadt and the Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt, have founded the charitable association DiNArDa e.V., which is responsible for the development of the device. (Digital Natural History Archive Darmstadt).
The association advises natural history museums worldwide on the digital recording of their collections. The association advises natural history museums worldwide on the digital recording of their collections.
"We are happy to provide the building instructions and look forward to further supporters," say Schmelzle and Heethoff.
The insects in 3D are assembled from around 25,000 photographs. Images are taken from nearly 400 perspectives with a 12-megapixel sensor. The scanner needs several hours to do this. In the end, each object requires a few gigabytes of storage space.
A collection becomes digital
By 2030, all 30 million objects in the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin will be digitally recorded using various methods. Only the particularly valuable objects among the insects will be recorded with the DISC3D.
These include the type specimens: these are the individuals that were used to describe the species for the first time. In addition to the animals, the tiny handwritten labels and QR codes are also recorded.
The aim is for people worldwide to be able to search, view and examine all objects by means of a database. Zooming in, turning around, looking from above or below: None of this is a problem. About ten percent of 30 million objects have already been digitized.
People all over the world benefit from freely accessible, digital and encyclopedic collections. "We open our collections to everyone to make knowledge about nature accessible and to create space for innovation," says Frederik Berger, scientific director of collection digitization. "Berlin's medical research, art and start-up scene work with the collection and draw inspiration from it.”
Experience digitization live in the exhibition
During live digitization, visitors can take a look at the fascinating 3D images and ask experts their questions. Why is it so important to capture insects digitally in times of insect mortality? Why are natural history collections important for research?
The digitization team is available for talks from Tuesday to Sunday between 11 am and 4 pm. The Digitization Street is located directly next to the Sauriersaal.
Digitization in figures
• The collection of the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin comprises 30 million objects, of which 15 million are insects; the collection of hymenoptera such as ants, bees and wasps comprises 2.3 million objects.
• The oldest objects are 4,000 year old beetles from a sarcophagus.
• Over 500 guests ranging from researchers to artists
• Currently, an average of 500 objects are digitized every day.
• In the future, more than 7,500 objects per day are to be digitised using assembly line technology. The smaller objects in particular will be digitized.
Dr. Frederik Berger
Tel: +49 30 889140 - 9094
Dr. Gesine Steiner | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
ZMT-Expert supports the implementation of the ambitious marine reserve in Palau
17.01.2020 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung (ZMT)
Scientists at TU Freiberg develop process for removing microplastics from wastewater
16.01.2020 | Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg
Styrofoam or copper - both materials have very different properties with regard to their ability to conduct heat. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz and the University of Bayreuth have now jointly developed and characterized a novel, extremely thin and transparent material that has different thermal conduction properties depending on the direction. While it can conduct heat extremely well in one direction, it shows good thermal insulation in the other direction.
Thermal insulation and thermal conduction play a crucial role in our everyday lives - from computer processors, where it is important to dissipate heat as...
In order to advance the transfer of research developments from the field of quantum sensor technology into industrial applications, an application laboratory is being established at Fraunhofer IAF. This will enable interested companies and especially regional SMEs and start-ups to evaluate the innovation potential of quantum sensors for their specific requirements. Both the state of Baden-Württemberg and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft are supporting the four-year project with one million euros each.
The application laboratory is being set up as part of the Fraunhofer lighthouse project »QMag«, short for quantum magnetometry. In this project, researchers...
Microtubules, filamentous structures within the cell, are required for many important processes, including cell division and intracellular transport. A...
Researchers from the University Hospital Zurich, ETH Zurich, Wyss Zurich and the University of Zurich have developed a machine that repairs injured human livers and keep them alive outside the body for one week. This breakthrough may increase the number of available organs for transplantation saving many lives of patients with severe liver diseases or cancer.
Until now, livers could be stored safely outside the body for only a few hours. With the novel perfusion technology, livers - and even injured livers - can now...
A balloon-borne scientific instrument designed to study the origin of cosmic rays is taking its second turn high above the continent of Antarctica three and a half weeks after its launch.
SuperTIGER (Super Trans-Iron Galactic Element Recorder) is designed to measure the rare, heavy elements in cosmic rays that hold clues about their origins...
16.01.2020 | Event News
15.01.2020 | Event News
07.01.2020 | Event News
17.01.2020 | Life Sciences
17.01.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering
17.01.2020 | Life Sciences