The Smaller Things

Emma Klinkhamer

Blog Post 1

 So far in our Digital Humanities class I have really enjoyed learning about the myriad digitizing tools and techniques. Lately I have been trying to think of ways I can use these tools in respect to my interest. I like working with the Old Chapel and learning about Pompeii, however I wanted to investigate if I could use digitizing tools for smaller things instead of large buildings or landscapes. Currently I work in a chemical engineering lab on campus and I produce microfiber polyethylene glycol mats that could potentially be used as fundamental study systems to analyze cellular migration patterns. I wanted to see if I could use sketch up to model some of the mats that I make. Even though sketch up is typically used for buildings I have found it useful for material surfaces as well. This is crucial to me because I want people to be able to see a 3D version of the mats and be able to see the fiber matrix, which is important for the cells. 3D tools like sketch up are a great way to make small things a whole lot bigger. To put it into perspective the average fiber diameter of a typical mat is around 2.5 micrometers (a red blood cell is between 2 and 5 micrometers). Sketch up can allow the human eye to visualize small things like microfibers in a friendly 3D way.

In addition to sketch up I think photo scan would also be an effective way to model smaller objects. I don’t really know what the method would be to export a micrographic image into photo scan but I’m sure it could be done. Currently to look a micro and nano sized objects people use high powered microscopes. These micrographs show clear, somewhat 3D looking small objects; but wouldn’t it be cool to be able to look at the objects from the front and the back—sort of like the room in Pompeii we looked at in class. It would be almost like taking a tour of the ins and outs of things like cells or micro sized material.

I think incorporating some of these digitizing tools into the science and technology field would be a huge step in modeling things the naked eye can’t see. These tools are great for modeling buildings and rooms but I think they could also be the catalyst to effectively digitize the smaller things too. 

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