ISU Headlines

Idaho Museum of Natural History gets boost from INL; will use 3-D imagery system for research

Posted July 20, 2011

A sophisticated 3-D imagery system on loan from the Idaho National Laboratory is giving a boost to the Idaho State University and the Idaho Museum of Natural History, allowing tremendous displays of the Museum’s virtual collections and expanding research capabilities in the College of Science and Engineering and elsewhere on campus.

Personnel from the Museum and the INL demonstrated an IQ-Station displaying 3-D images from Museum's virtual collections on Wednesday. The IQ-Station is on loan from the INL Center for Advanced Energy Studies.

Museum Director Herbert Maschner demonstrates the IQ-Station provided by the INL Center for Advanced Energy Studies."The IQ-Station is a key addition to the Idaho Museum of Natural History's $1 million-plus project, which is creating an online, interactive, virtual museum of northern animal bones that will be used by scholars and educator around the globe," said Herbert Maschner, Museum director. "This system, so generously provided by the Center for Advanced Energy Studies, will also form the foundation of the IMNH Virtual Museum of Idaho Project."

 Both projects are collaboration between the Museum and professor Corey Schou of the ISU Informatics Research Institute.

This latter project will create a variety of online “education modules” that will provide multi-media, comprehensive exhibits to Idaho K-12 and university students, as well as to researchers and the general public –anyone who has a computer and Internet access.

"The IQ-Station is key because it allows us to really use 3-D images as an analysis tool," Maschner said. "It will be used primarily by researchers, but there will also be demonstrations for the public."

The $25,000 system, designed and built by the INL, consists of six infrared cameras that project 3-D graphics on a large television screen. Researchers wear special eyeglasses and manipulate software to view, navigate and interact with the images.

"Modeling and simulation are important tools for modern scientific research," said J.W. "Bill" Rogers, Jr., director of the Center for Advanced Energy Studies. "The INL-developed IQ-Station strengthens the modeling and simulation capabilities at each of the CAES partner universities and enhances their ability to conduct cutting-edge research."

Maschner believes the IQ-Station has the potential to revolutionize visualization and simulation techniques and fundamental research in fields such as engineering, physics, ecology, bioinformatics, genetics, geosciences, and archaeology.

The Center for Advanced Energy Studies has also provided IQ-Stations to Boise State University and the University of Idaho. The Center for Advanced Energy Studies (https://inlportal.inl.gov/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=281&mode=2) is a research and education partnership between BSU, INL, ISU and UI. The goal of providing the IQ-Stations is to bolster the modeling and simulation capabilities and advance the research being conducted at the CAES partner institutions.

The Idaho Museum of Natural History is the State of Idaho's official museum for life sciences – the plants, animals, and environments of Idaho; anthropology and archaeology– the indigenous and past peoples and cultures of Idaho; the earth sciences–the paleontology, geology, and landscape history of Idaho; and natural history education.

For more information on the IMNH visit http://imnh.isu.edu/.

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