Thursday, 21 February 2019

Olivier Strebelle’s “The Athletes Alley”


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Olivier DEBEIR - Laurent ENGELS - Thierry LELOUP - Nadine WARZEE

Project description

The “Athletes' Alley” is composed of five distinct steel arcs sets. Each of these sets contains up to several hundreds of arcs, made of steel wire of different diameters (from 3 to 12 mm). All these arcs are silver welded with a coat of a gray metal like paint for aesthetic purpose.

Digitizing sculptures has been used widely. In our case, the model digitizing is necessary to achieve two objectives. The first one concerns civil engineering: a digital model is required for the study of the resistance to proper weight and to the wind, with possible presence of frost. The final construction, made in stainless steel, will be approximately 30 meters high and 100 m long.

The nature of the artist's model make acquisition with classical 3D acquisition systems difficult or impossible.

The model presents a lot of severe constraints for classical digitizing systems:

  • the model includes many concavities for which there are not direct lines of sight from outside the sculpture,
  • it is made of metal, thus has a specular surface,
  • its size and material are incompatible with medical acquisition devices.

As no existing acquisition system seemed to be appropriate, we finally implement a new approach using a 3D high precision localizer (FlashPoint™ 5000 from Image Guided Technologies, Inc.) which gives the position of the digitizing tools with an announced precision of less than 1 mm in an effective working volume of approximately 1 m³.

We manage to acquire the 3D geometry of a very complex structure, for which the commonly used 3D digitizers cannot do the job, by diverting the use of a medical 3D localizer. Due to the complexity in the overlapping of the arcs, it was essential to intimately know the sculpture in order not to miss parts of it. Each part of the sculpture took about one week to acquire. The visualization interface and the tools developed for this application continuously evolved throughout the two months of the acquisition work to adapt to the particular situations which progressively occurred and to further facilitate the work of the operator.

Picture of the Athlete's Alley in Beijing (May 2008)
Points acquisition
Reconstructed 3D model

Related publication


3rd price at the CGF Cover Competition 2008

External links