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.

Self-isolation tips

From Ellen De Korte

Our researchers, supervisors and partners across Europe are all finding their way through this new reality. Ellen De Korte, based at the University of Bradford, has shared some insight into how she plans to work and live during the lockdown period in the UK.

I start my day with a 15-minute power yoga workout. While we are still able to go outside for an hour, I plan to walk to the nearest park if I can over lunchtimes. In order to maintain a bit of structure and combat loneliness, I make a schedule of whom I speaking to (either on the phone or video-conferencing) on a nice Yorkshire themed calendar

Ellen has also shared a picture of her “home office” set-up.

Ellen De Korte home office set-up

Spotlight – University of Bradford

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Picture of the University of Bradford sign and campus

Situated on top of the hill looking over Bradford, the University prides itself on being a world-leading technology institution. With a rich history of cutting-edge research across various disciplines, the DyViTo Project finds its home within the Bradford School of Optometry & Vision Science.

The Bradford School of Optometry & Vision Science research group comprises a cohesive, multi-disciplinary approach to investigating vision and visual perception to address important research questions.

The group continues to build on over 35 years of vision research at the University. Research embraces a broad range of disciplines including; ophthalmology, optics, ocular imaging, machine vision, psychophysics, biomechanics and visual neuroscience. There is a big emphasis on research across all faculties at the University of Bradford, as the below infographic shows.

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Research Output Infographic detailing the amount of papers and citations across all faculties at the University of Bradford

The University of Bradford may have gotten the Royal Charter in 1966, officially establishing it as the institution we know today, but its origins date back to as early as 1832. Currently, University of Bradford has a lot to be proud of. For example, did you know:

  • 96% of research and innovation was deemed internationally significant in the REF 2014
  • The university was recognised for the excellence of our teaching with the award of Silver under the Teaching Excellence Framework in 2017
  • They have been named the 4th greenest campus in the world (2nd in the UK) in the UI GreenMetric World University Rankings 2017
  • The University have been ranked in the UK top 10 for Occupational Therapy,Physiotherapy, Optometry & Ophthalmics, and Medical Technology by The Complete University Guide 2018

More information here

The DyViTo Project at the University of Bradford is comprised of Professor Marina Bloj, Professor of Visual Perception, Dr Andrew Logan , Lecturer in Optometry, Ellen De Korte, Early Stage Researcher and Olga Ovsepyan, Project Manager.