Mid-Pacific Institute earns national recognition for lessons in 3D scanning tech

Oahu school teaches its students to preserve some of Hawaii's historic structures

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - In Mid-Pacific Institute’s Museum Studies class, high school students aim handheld 3D scanner at an object and capture the files in a laptop computer.

“It’s pretty cool how the light flashes and then how the image is displayed and how data can be so easily transferred like that,” senior Judith Tamayo said.

Down the hall in the Historical Preservation class another group works on rendering scans they took of the Father Damien statue.

"When you look at the scan set it just looks like a normal 360 pan. But as soon as you put it together and look at the preview you can see how the statue actually turns out," student Jason Katayama said.

Teaching 3D scanning is just one segment of the school’s high-technology education program that exposes also students to other arenas like virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

“It helped bring our students awareness to different fields they can go into once they leave our school,” said Brian Grantham, Mid-Pacific’s Director of Educational Technology.

The school’s efforts were recently recognized on a national scale. EdTech Digest gave Mid-Pacific its 2019 Trendsetter Award.

Students using a LIDAR scanner also scanned the coronation pavilion at Iolani Palace, historic aircraft at the Pacific Aviation Museum, and artifacts like the Blackened Canteen used in Pearl Harbor ceremonies.

"We created a life-sized replica, 3D printed that, and gave it back to the museum. They painted it to make it look just like that canteen," Grantham said.

Katayama said scanning the Damien statue took about one hour.

"We get enough data to make a clear picture," he said.

The school shares the information, making the computer files available to other schools.

“If they have 3D printers then they can print it out and feel the artifact without even being in its presence,” Tamayo said.

There’s another benefit. If a structure or object is destroyed the scans could serve as blueprints to make a pretty accurate copy of the real thing.

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