Virtual Anthropology Laboratory
The Virtual Anthropology Laboratory is a dedicated workspace for the digital analysis of anthropological data. The laboratory includes a number of computers with software applications relevant to anthropological analysis and access to the Internet. In addition, secure storage space is available for objects undergoing analysis. The laboratory also features a portable 3D surface scanner for scanning of archaeological materials. The laser scanner is capable of generating an accurate 3D representation (both visually and in terms of dimensions) of the physical object in the virtual environment of the computer for manipulation with various software programs. The application of medical imaging techniques (e.g. CT scans, MRI, etc.) and surface scanning of objects have become standard analytical tools in physical anthropology for the study of human remains. Applications include, among others, virtual reconstruction of fossil hominin specimens, paleopathological diagnosis, forensic facial reconstruction and biomechanical analysis of long bones. The rise of virtual anthropology also makes it feasible to carry out work at Binghamton University on original anthropological specimens that are often housed in research institutions in distant locales. These significant advantages offered through virtual anthropological techniques make this a cutting-edge approach to addressing new research paradigms within the field.