The Natural History Museum in London has set itself the mammoth task of digitising its specimens – all 80 million of them.
The museum’s collection includes everything from a blue whale skeleton to Martian meteorites, making progress understandably slow. Head of Informatics Vince Smith says it would take around 1,500 years for the team to manually digitise it all, so in 2014 they decided to write software that allows them to do it in bulk. They now use six DSLR cameras to process up to 200 items at a time.
WIRED went behind the scenes to meet the researchers working on the project and learn more about how they digitise the different specimens.
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How the Natural History Museum Is Scanning 80 Million Dead Creatures