Project Feature: Mark Jazayeri and Digital Imaging

This week’s Unearthing Detroit blog features team member Mark Jazayeri.
Mark and our Photo Archaeology TurnTable (PATT)

Mark and our Photo Archaeology TurnTable (PATT)

Mark, a computer software engineer, joined Unearthing Detroit because of his interest in merging computer science with archaeology.  He is applying his passion for software development to update and increase the functionality of the lab’s Photo Archaeology TurnTable (PATT) designed by Don Adzigian to produce complex digital images.  Don and Mark have been brainstorming together to increase the efficiency of this machine and make it user friendly for all levels of expertise.  While the updating is not yet complete, we will speak with Mark about how they are working to both make an artifact available digitally and use a polynomial texture map to increase the amount of information available.

PATT changing light positions to enhance artifact features

PATT changing light positions to enhance artifact features

Tell us what PATT does? “PATT is a robot that moves a light around an artifact.  Every time [the light] changes positions it takes a picture, so you take 40 different images.  We then use software from HP’s research division.  It takes all these images and gives the coordinates of the light positions.  This creates a polynomial texture map (PTM). [A PTM] is a representation of the artifact where you can change the light source arbitrarily.  This allows you to enhance the features that cannot be seen with the naked eye under normal lighting conditions.  For example, you have a coin and the face is all rubbed off, and you’re trying to read the inscription but you just can’t make it out.  A PTM has a good chance to make out the words that are on there. [PTM] has been used in a number of archaeological contexts to a high degree of success.”

This artifact was unreadable (left) until a PTM (right) allowed us to scan the surface and enhance the lettering.

Before and After- Printing Plate This artifact was unreadable (left) until a PTM (right) allowed us to scan the surface and enhance the lettering. ©Katie Korth

Before and After- Tobacco Pipe. To the naked eye (left) the inscriptions were not as noticeable as in the PTM (right).

Before and After- Tobacco Pipe.
To the naked eye (left) the inscriptions were not as noticeable as in the PTM (right). © Mark Jazayeri

That is very cool! How have you been improving this technology? “I spent the first part of the summer improving the workflow.  [PATT] required at least 5 different steps to take the pictures, gather the images, and run the software and consolidate it into a PTM.  I worked on writing software to consolidate that down to two steps.” Awesome, What is up next? “I am looking forward to see where we can take this. PTM machines are not common but have been done.  There are a number of academic institutions using them right now in the archaeological realm to analyze artifacts, but where else can this go?  A couple of areas we have identified are: (1) What if we used infrared or ultraviolet that may be able to give us more information about the composition. (2) PTMs are 2D images. One thing people haven’t been doing is making 3D polynomial texture maps and maybe there could be some new insights gathered “PTM does lend itself well to information that could be put into a 3D model.  To create a 3D image you would need a lot of information from various sources, and a PTM is one of those pieces that can help.  3D modeling still requires people to interact to clean it up, so maybe you can use PTM to help automate some of that process to make it easier for the user. “We are looking into PAT 2.0 which would combine these ideas into one thing”

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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One thought on “Project Feature: Mark Jazayeri and Digital Imaging

  1. Pingback: Recovering the Uncovered: Exploring the Importance of Collection- Based Research | Unearthing Detroit

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