Historic places and artifacts have much to offer students who are learning about Roman times. Barring a trip to Italy, though, how do you bring those sites and sculptures into the classroom? Professor and Chair of Classics Roger Ulrich ’77 has long been interested in creative ways to employ technology and recently used support from a computing technology venture fund to build a stereographic camera that would allow him to take paired photos he could transform into “virtual” three-dimensional images.
“I wanted students to have the experience you get in an IMAX theater,” says Ulrich, “to help them visualize spatial relationships that are so fundamental to how we perceive the world.”
Ulrich rigged up two digital cameras into a single apparatus with one camera right side up and the other upside down. “Because the lenses are slightly offset, aligning one of them upside down from the other moves them closer together, creating a distance that’s similar to the one between your eyes,” he says.
In 2007, he traveled to Italy and France and gathered his images. Once back in Hanover, Ulrich used special software and, with help from Tom Garbelotti at the Arts and Humanities Resource Center, created the effect he was looking for.
Andrew Faunce of Classroom Technology Services then helped Ulrich set up an experimental space in a seminar room at Dartmouth’s Hood Museum. They used twin projection cameras with polarizing filters and a special silver reflective screen.
A permanent installation of the 3-D display technology is being completed in 106 Reed Hall and Ulrich plans to use it in future archaeology courses. He also will share the new technology at reunion with Alumni College attendees in a course titled “Classrooms of the Future.”
By SUSAN WARNER
Since 1993, the Computing Technology Venture Fund has awarded grants to faculty looking to apply technology to the Dartmouth curriculum. Proposals are being accepted for this year’s funding period until May 15. For more information, contact Malcolm Brown, director of academic computing.
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Last Updated: 12/17/08