Skull 21, Netherlands

[d]arc awards nominee

DyViTo Project would like to congratulate our friends at TU Delft for being shortlisted for the [d]arc award. For more information and voting guidelines please visit:


Picture this: a group of triceratops dinosaurs died roughly 66 million years ago. They were excavated in the early 20th century, and one incomplete skull ended up in Delft, The Netherlands. Since it was heavily damaged during its boat transport to Europe in 1956, dr. Pieter Kruizinga reconstructed it by hand, based on very limited sources. Recent insights made clear that the triceratops skull must have looked different though. Several sponsors enabled a scientific, advanced technological restoration of this valuable piece of prehistory. Here we present the storytelling lighting scenario for its exhibition, designed in collaboration of the Science Center of TUDelft with students, scientists and industry.

Science and technology

High resolution 3D optical scanning techniques were used to model two smaller but quite complete triceratops skulls in Yale and München. These were used to re-model the Delft skull, re-fit the real bone parts in the model, and 3d print the missing parts. The novel model deviates from the old restoration, in the shape and dimensions of horns, nose and shield. This scientific high-tech process is highly innovative in the field of paleontology. Distinguishing ‘Skull 21’ from other historical museums, the reconstructed parts were not retouched, showing what are real bones and what are 3D printed parts, and the science and technology behind it.


The Science Centre ‘Skull 21’ exhibition is designed as a guided storytelling tour, educating visitors about the backgrounds and reconstruction technologies, from its discovery up to the end result. It is built up in a sequence of scenes, in which lighting effects support the storytelling. First the skull’s shadow rises from the dark as a dramatic, 3 meters high moving shadow of the still invisible skull, back projected on an enormous translucent screen. This scene is then merged with a video explaining historical facts. Next, turning the corner the skull’s shape and size can be seen but not yet the differences between the bone and 3D printed parts! To this aim we used novel advanced spectral tuning technologies (see below). The following scene almost magically unveils the colour and texture differences between the brownish bone and grey plastic 3D printed parts using pinspots. The story continues with explanations of the scanning, modelling and printing supported by stroboscopic, laser and video projections on the skull and front-screen.

Spectral tuning, a new era of LED technology

Spectral tuning is being applied commercially to make certain colours stand out and trigger preferences (f.i. the red sweetness of strawberries, or blueish freshness of fish). Making two different materials look the same (or maximally different) forms a novel scientific and technological tuning challenge. Using spectrophotometry, mathematical modelling and spectrally tunable LEDs we succeeded to design LED spots that made the bone-print-differences invisible – while salient under white light! As part of a story, the remains of a prehistorical piece meet a 21st century marvel. While dimming and colour temperature adjustments are common in lighting design, this demonstrates a whole new world of possibilities.

Dinosaur skull rises from a 3D point cloud

Dinosaur skull rises from a 3D point cloud

Work done by a joint effort for TUDelft Science Museum

Sylvia Pont, University of Delft, and her team have been busy this autumn period. Via joint efforts they have realised a lighting plan supporting a novel exhibition in the TUDelft Science Museum. The students, including our own ESR Cehao YU, designed concepts and did simulations and model tests. They also helped with communication and dissemination of the information about the work. LedMotive, one of DyViTo’s industry partners, helped in calculating the spectral tuning and delivered the lamps for that effect.

Image 1. Triceratops skull on display

The final result consists of dynamic shadow play, spectral tuning to mask the differences between real bone and 3D printed parts, then changing to white light to make those visible, plus special effects (stroboscope and lasers). It supports the story telling of what is known about the species, where this skull comes from and all things that happened to it, and which technologies were used to scan, model and reconstruct the skull – which is unique in its kind  for showing that (in the museums for natural history reconstructed parts are “camouflaged”). The unique part of the spectral tuning is using it to mask material differences (while in shops etc it is used to bring out certain colours associated with ripeness, freshness etc).

Image 2. Close photo of skull with 3D printed elements

If you want to read more about this fascinating exhibit, please use the link below:

The best part? The participants of the lighting design elective got the Skull 21 tour as an excursion. So the design now formed a unique contribution to the cohorts learning…by literally, showing them the light!

From Hate to Love: How Learning Can Change Affective Responses to Touched Materials

Müge Cavdan, Alexander Freund, Anna-Klara Trieschmann,
Katja Doerschner, and Knut Drewing

Justus Liebig University, 3539 Giessen, Germany
Bilkent University, 06800 Ankara, Turkey

Abstract. People display systematic affective reactions to specific properties of touched materials. For example, granular materials such as fine sand feel
pleasant, while rough materials feel unpleasant. We wondered how far such relationships between sensory material properties and affective responses can be changed by learning. Manipulations in the present experiment aimed at unlearning the previously observed negative relationship between roughness and valence and the positive one between granularity and valence. In the learning phase, participants haptically explored materials that are either very rough or very fine-grained while they simultaneously watched positive or negative stimuli, respectively, from the International Affective Picture System (IAPS). A control group did not interact with granular or rough materials during the learning phase. In the experimental phase, participants rated a representative diverse set of 28 materials according to twelve affective adjectives. We found a significantly weaker relationship between granularity and valence in the experimental group compared to the control group, whereas roughness-valence correlations did not differ between groups. That is, the valence of granular materials was unlearned (i.e., to modify the existing valence of granular materials) but not that of rough materials. These points to differences in the strength of perceptuo-affective relations, which we discuss in terms of hard-wired versus learned connections.

To conitnue reading, please click here.

ISBCS 2020 – Effect of expectations on perception of dynamic material properties

Authors – Amna Malik, Katja Doerschner, Hüseyin Boyaci

The current global situation that we are all facing has forced us to look to the virtual world in order to continue within academia and research. Amna Malik, hosted by the University of Bilkent, has done just, virtually narrating her video for ISBCS presentation.

In the abstract Amna says:

“Visual information plays a vital role in object and material recognition. Based on our daily life interaction with objects, our brain learns to make associations between how an object looks like, what material it is made of and its physical and functional properties. Hence, before even we touch an object, simply by looking at it, we have expectations about how it will behave under different forces. For example, we expect a wine glass to shatter if it falls and hits the ground. Upon viewing an object, incoming visual information is combined with prior knowledge to help us recognizing objects, accessing their properties and making efficient decisions regarding actions involving interaction with objects. In this study we aimed to investigate the role of expectations in perception of material properties in dynamic scenes and how they affect perceptual decisions. We used novel computer animations of objects falling on ground, which are manipulated to behave in an expected or unexpected manner. Observers were asked to answer whether the object broke or not upon hitting the ground. We measured reaction times and percent correct responses for each condition. We found out that observers take longer to respond in the surprising condition. Hence, we concluded that expectations influence perception of dynamic material properties and perceptual decision making is delayed when these expectations are violated, which implies that additional processing is required when incoming sensory information does not match the expectations.”

We would like to congratulate Amna on a terrific presentation and encourage everyone to watch the video!

Working from home

An overnight change in worklife

Within the space of a week the routine I have honed for many years was brought to a grinding halt. With hundreds of thousands of people affected, it was not a matter of “should I isolate” but “I am going to isolate, how should I do it productively”. Being productive during this difficult time means not just looking after the emails, but oneself. The mental burden isolation can carry is immense and it should not be underestimated. So here is my battle plan for the next few weeks (and if need be, months).

Separation without the anxiety

One of the biggest issues I grappled with was the separation between work and home. I have always worked outside of my home. Sure, there have been “working from home days” but those were few and far between. Most importantly, there was an end date. I have to admit, I was anxious about bringing my work home. “Will be as productive at home as I am in the office?” I asked. “When does work end and home begin?” I wondered. “If I empty the laundry during the day, am I doing this on my or the company’s time?”. Obviously, I was just working myself up into a frenzy for nothing. In fact, it is highly recommended that you get up from your desk often during the day. Load the washing machine, take the rubbish out, make a cup of tea. 5-10-minute breaks every so often are encouraged. I also found that creating a specific work station was essential to separate my work/home life.

Work station at home

Not having an office, I did take over some of the dining table but it is now my work area. It is not a “one size fits all” situation, individuality is key. It is important for each individual to think about the conditions under which they can be most productive, taking into account workflow and emotional response.

Reading more than just emails

There is no escaping the stark realisation that the emails will not stop. I am, however, going to expand my literary horizons (and indulge in old favourites for comfort). Here is my panacea for the monotony of emails: books.

A collection of books

Since I am not able to travel to France, I will follow Athos, Porthos, Aramis and D’Artagnan on their adventures through Paris. I will people watch through the anthropological writings of Kate Fox and I will “evolve” with Daniel Dennett’s work on consciousness.

Keeping to a schedule

Isolation can be, for a lack of a better word, isolating. On average, we spend more time at work than at home. We have a schedule to follow, meetings and coffee breaks. This is an important pattern to follow. I have always woken up at 6.30am to get to work for 8am. I will still do that, whether it means indulging in a more imaginative breakfast than muesli or fitting in a longer morning jog, I will not stray far from my morning rituals. Speaking of exercise, I am fortunate to live in a remote location so my daily jog involves seeing only the sheep in the fields. I stick to the remoteness of the moors. I am also trying to utilise video-conferencing as much as possible, whether it is in my personal life with friends and family locked down across the world as well as in my worklife.