Since early 2015, I have served as a research assistant on Architectural Biometrics, a University of Rochester–funded digital humanities project spearheaded by Dr. Peter Christensen, assistant professor of Art and Art History.
Architectural Biometrics is a platform that addresses the lack of tools for comparative analysis of spatial data. The platform is inspired by research on the Canadian and Ottoman railways, both of which include an array of prefabricated building designs that display fascinating dissimilarities. Analogous to facial recognition software, the platform algorithmically analyzes 3D scans. It allows users to compare similar objects and to develop a better understanding of human agency in the analyses. Architectural Biometrics proides humanities researchers with an original way to look at the production of cultural artifacts produced in series. It also reasserts the authorial roles of those left out of the textual record. The project combines the computational capacity for empirical inquiry with the humanistic concerns of authorship and process in design and considers the irregularities of serially produced objects as significant occurrences that testify to the “biometric” identities of things.
In my capacity as research assistant, I have traveled with Dr. Christensen and my colleague Alana Wolf-Johnson to twenty railway stations in Canada and Turkey, where I shared technical responsibilities during the collection of spatial data using the FARO Focus3D LIDAR camera. After the data collection phase, I was responsible for post-processing captured imagery, using FARO’s Scene software to stitch together three-dimensional point clouds.
Learn more about the project here.