Juliah Linzmeier takes the physical into the digital realm while learning valuable life skills
Inside Newman Library’s 3D Scanning Studio, you will see architecture major Juliah Linzmeier with a gray and blue handheld device resembling an old-fashioned clothes iron. Its flashing lights scan patrons' objects while they rotate upon a blue-and-white striped pedestal. Linzmeier uses her 3D-design skills to share these physical objects beyond Newman’s walls and into the digital world.
As a student scanning assistant in the studio, she also works with three other Artec 3D scanning machines, each one meant for scanning differently sized objects. Her favorite, the iron-shaped scanner, is portable and helpful for scanning items that cannot be moved.
Located on the second floor of Newman Library on the Blacksburg campus, the 3D Scanning Studio provides digitization of real world objects with state-of-the-art equipment. In this creative space, visitors can bring projects from the physical world into the digital realm. The studio can be used by anyone - students, faculty, researchers, and even community patrons.
Linzmeier also edits, aligns, and restores color to the scans. Once complete, the final scans are formatted into the patron’s preferred format and then shared with them for free.
“I’ve definitely been able to widen my computer skills through this job, but I’ve also been able to practice customer service and communication skills, which always helps for any positions in the future," she said.
“I have worked with individuals all throughout the community on many different projects,” she said. “Many creative technologies majors or other digital design students love how scanning can bring real-life objects into virtual reality and other 3D computer models. On the other hand, many engineering students appreciate the ability to scan an object and obtain incredibly precise models and measurements of an object they are studying or working to improve.”
Even local residents who are not students enjoy using the studio. “Community members love having the ability to scan their personal artwork or even scan themselves to turn into figurines or bobbleheads,” said Linzmeier. “With scanning, the range of applications combined with the sheer number of people who can access it here at Newman Library, the options are quite endless.
“I definitely got a big surprise the first time I had to scan a whole person,” said Linzmeier. “Much of my early work consisted of scanning fossils and dinosaur bones, which rarely exceeded the size of a pencil. So when I was told I had to scan an entire person, I was in shock.”
Because 3D scanning is such a distinctive and new technology, Linzmeier's job is unique. “I often have to explain to my friends and family what I do, because few people have been able to utilize and interact with this kind of unique technology. The studio is extremely advantageous in a college setting and has a wide variety of applications.”
Linzmeier has worked in the library since October 2021 and has loved her time in the studio. “It is so nice to be able to work on projects and have supervisors who are there to support you and answer questions, but also give you the space to learn the programs and work one-on-one with patrons who come in.”
Max Ofsa, manager of the Prototyping and 3D Scanning Studios, works closely with Linzmeier, training and mentoring her. “Many student employees in the studios will mention how great it is to work with Max,” said Linzmeier. “He started up the 3D Scanning Studio as well as the new Prototyping Studio. He knows more than anyone else about these machines. He really is a trailblazer, not just here at Virginia Tech but beyond, for his work to bring such new and sophisticated technology into academia.”
Upon graduation, Linzmeier hopes to land a job in the urban planning industry and also pursue a more commercial side of architecture in conjunction with urban planning. “I’m really passionate about the way in which architecture creates space, especially in the urban field, so I am excited to eventually pursue that when I graduate.”
“From a student perspective, I would just love to tell any current or future Hokies to take advantage of your time at Newman Library. These are four or more years of your life that are meant to segue you into the real world,” said Linsmeier. “So make mistakes, take risks, be yourself, and do whatever you can to set yourself up for success. Learn who you are and who you want to be and never settle for anything less.”