Our oBird project seeks to bring museum specimens to the public and research community through 3D modeling.

Natural history collections provide vital biodiversity informing our planet, but access to the wealth of information contained in museum specimens is often tucked away behind closed doors. Our solution is oBird, a method for generating real-color 3D models of the outside of the bird specimen. 3D models can never replace specimens, but they can provide better access to phenotypic features like plumage color and beak size and shape for studies into bird evolution, ecology, and conservation. Plus they are just darn cool.

oBird is the brainchild of Josh Medina ‘19, former undergraduate at Occidental College and Russian language major with a background in computer coding and virtual reality. Josh devised an efficient pipeline for processing bird specimens to 3D models using a technique called photogrammetry, which stitches hundreds of photos from around each specimen into a life-like model. The manuscript describing this pipeline is currently in review.

 

Staff Lead Investigator: Josh Medina

Staff Researchers: James Maley, John McCormack, Whitney Tsai

Student Researchers: Cynthia Zhang, Sid Sannapareddy, Eddie Valdez

Past Students: Cy Gilman (Columbia University), Noah Medina (Brown University), Kevin Grundy ‘19