Photogrammetry as a tool to build 3D virtual resources

Project Team

  • Ken Savage, Lecturer, Department of Biology, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science (Lead Applicant)
  • Mathew Vis-Dunbar, Data and Digital Scholarship Librarian, UBC Okanagan Library


  • Interdisciplinary
  • Teaching Resources



About the Project

This proposal will produce 3-dimensional virtual models and printed replicas of anatomical structures, predominantly skeletal structures. Real-life specimens are integral to student learning but can be fragile, difficult to source on a regular basis, and present ethical issues, especially when derived from specimens that are at risk, involved in questionable trading practices, etc.

Complimenting real-life specimens with models presents several advantages:

A greater number of physical objects can be brought into the classroom increasing opportunities for engagement;
Students can be introduced to a greater diversity of animal structures, using replicas as the primary point of engagement when real-life specimens are unavailable;
Printed models allow for non-destructive deconstruction (splicing, separation at joints, etc), allowing in-depth exploration of the mechanical features of the specimen;
Virtual models, rendered at several fold the original size of the real-life structure, provide a granular examination of features otherwise challenging to identify.

Each of these modalities of inquiry lends themselves to unique learning styles, offers scaffolded exploration and presents an opportunity for novel connections, as evidence suggests these different model types connect with lived experiences outside the classroom in different ways; this latter aspect is of particular note, as the mechanics of animal physiology offer evolutionarily derived solutions to many challenges facing human engineering tasks, enhancing student learning in the course while encouraging connections with previous learning and experiences external to the classroom.