The number of endangered species on the planet continues to grow at an alarming rate, and over one thousand of those species are birds. The reasons are multitudinous – habitat destruction, climate change, pesticides, poaching, the exotic pets trade, and more. While conservation organizations are doing everything they can to save these species, the problems are overwhelming. Every effort to raise awareness about the risks to these birds is crucial, as the actions of average people are a major factor in whether or not a species will survive.
Two companies in the 3D industry have launched an effort to raise awareness of endangered birds, and to prevent their needless killing. 3D printing marketplace Threeding and 3D scanner and software manufacturer Artec 3D have teamed up on a new project to scan and digitize over 55 species of endangered and threatened birds, including the eastern imperial eagle, the white-tailed eagle, the boreal owl, the black-crowned night heron, the Humboldt penguin and the long-eared owl.
To create the 3D models, the two companies are using Artec’s high-resolution Spider and Eva 3D scanners to scan several taxidermied birds from scientific facilities. The scans were then converted into 3D printable models and are currently available for download on Threeding’s website. The purpose of the project is twofold – to encourage awareness and education about these endangered species, and to provide an alternative to killing and stuffing real birds for educational or collectible purposes.
This isn’t the first collaboration between Threeding and Artec 3D. The two companies team up frequently, in fact, and have digitally preserved many ancient artifacts from Greece and Rome, as well as Bulgarian military artifacts and religious relics. This is their first venture into the field of ornithology.
“It has been a privilege to work with Threeding.com these past few years and we’re excited to continue this partnership as the company ventures into animal preservation,” said Artyom Yukhin, president and CEO of Artec 3D. “The preservation of all animal species is of critical importance and relies heavily upon education. The portability and ease afforded to users of our handheld scanners and software suite is offering a means for students, scientists and conservationists alike to exchange information and work together in this effort.”
Threeding is currently working on several other projects for educational and scientific purposes, in the fields of paleontology, archaeology and anatomy. Those models will be made available in the near future. The bird models, from now until the end of April, are free for download; several of them can also be 3D printed and ordered directly from Threeding for a small fee. After April, universities, students and scientific organizations can request free access.
“We are extremely happy to extend our portfolio of 3D printing files to ornithology models,” said Cveta Partaleva, co-founder of Threeding.com. “Our aim is to make our website not only a consumer platform, but also the premier resource for educational and scientific 3D printable models.”
The collection of bird models on Threeding.com are beautifully textured and realistic; go take a look at them, print a few if you like, and if you’re inspired to add your efforts to the conservation of these species, there are plenty of resources out there for you to do so. It’s not too late to keep these lovely birds from ending up as nothing more than replicas. Isn’t this new form of preservation inspiring? Discuss in the 3D Scanned Birds forum over at 3DPB.com.