Virtual Vecchio: Creating a Digital Clinical Chart for a Landmark Building of the Renaissance

Professor Maurizio Seracini
Professor Falko Kuester

Professors Seracini and Kuester are developing a "digital clinical chart" for the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy, part of Calit2's cultural heritage preservation initiative. Their team spent two months in 2007 and 2008 laser-scanning and imaging the interior of the Palazzo's main hall. The goal: to understand the structure's performance and changes over time, and hopefully, to help find Leonardo da Vinci's long-lost masterpiece mural, "The Battle of Anghiari."

They have created an interactive 3-D model based on 60 gigabytes of data collected in Florence, including x-y-z coordinates for 2.5 billion points generated from the laser scans in combination with color values for each point, based on giga pixel photography. This model serves as the baseline and reference for a broad range of multi-spectral imaging techniques that already have been acquired, such as GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar), Thermography, NIR (Near Infrared Reflectography), mmw and THz Tomography.

Professor Kuester's team is currently developing algorithms and techniques needed to visualize and analyze this massive model, on the 286-million-pixel resolution HIPerSpace display, the highest-resolution such display in the world. Additionally, the team is studying the Palazzo Medici to better understand its history, structural integrity and hidden treasures. This research is made possible, in part, through generous support by SE's Adjunct Professor, Robert Englekirk, and his wife, Natalie, along with Paul and Stacy Jacobs, Sandra Timmons, Richard Sandstrom, and the Chancellor's Interdisciplinary Collaboratories Fund.