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Google's gigapixel Art Camera captures the subtle details

Engadget Engadget 17/05/2016 Billy Steele
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The ability to browse a museum's library of art online isn't a recent development, but Google's Cultural Institute is improving that activity. The company built a camera specifically for capturing works of art in a way that displays detail as if you were walking up to in a museum. In order to fully appreciate a piece, you need to observe the brush strokes, textures and any otherwise hidden items up close, and that's exactly what this high-res camera allows you to do.

Google already built library of around 200 hundred ultra high resolution or "gigapixel" images, but its looking to catalog much more than that. To help expedite the process, the company built a camera that captures hundreds of close-up images using lasers and sonar to ensure the smallest details are in focus. From there, software takes all of those images and puts them together like a puzzle. This will be particularly useful for capturing works that are sensitive to humidity and light, offering the ability to not only preserve their intricacies digitally, but to display them for years to come.

To help museums catalog their exhibitions with the gigapixel images, Google is sending out "a fleet" of the cameras around the world. What's more, it's doing so free of charge. The company's Cultrual Institute also made the first thousand art camera images available to celebrate International Museum Day, and you can view the collection right here.

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