Facial reconstruction gets a makeover using non-invasive 3D modelling techniques.
Forensic facial reconstructions are used in cases where other methods of identification are exhausted. In an archaeological context, it allows for the reconstruction and visualisation of evolutionary examples of human remains such as Homo floresiensis and to explore the clinical manifestations of diseases (i.e. syphilis) such as the example produced by Lydia Carline on behalf of Surgeons Hall Museum, Edinburgh.
One of the big concerns with traditional clay reconstruction methods, is the potential damage it can cause to the human remains in question. Current developments in 3D scanning and printing technologies, mean that instead of applying clay directly onto the skull or taking a cast, a laser scanner can be utilised to produce a 3D image of the skull which can then be reproduced with great accuracy using a 3D printer. Clay can then be added to this printed example.
The current innovation removes the need for clay modelling altogether. Once the skull has been scanned, Sensable Technologies can use a program known as ‘Clay Tools’ to reconstruct muscle definition and tissue virtually. A full colour 3D print can then be produced. I am sure that there are those who will argue that it takes the art out of the process but I have to admit it’s still quite an interesting and innovative tool.