Autodesk Gallery Exhibit: 3D SOS Lab



“I’ll send an SOS to the world
 I’ll send an SOS to the world
 I hope that someone gets
 My message in a bottle”
— “Message in a Bottle,” Reggatta de Blanc,
The Police, 1979.

The Autodesk Gallery at One Market in San Francisco
celebrates design — the process of taking a great
idea and turning it into a reality. With about
60 different exhibits regularly on display that showcase
the innovative work of Autodesk customers, the gallery
illustrates the role technology plays in great design and
engineering. I am one of about 80 Autodesk employees who
volunteer as ambassadors for the gallery. Gallery Curator,
Jason Medal-Katz, chose the title ambassador instead of docent
because the correct way to address an ambassador is “your
excellency,” yet this never happens. Ambassadors conduct
gallery tours as a a sideline to their day jobs. The tours
provide employees with opportunities to practice public
speaking in front of small groups.

One of our long-standing exhibits is aquatic in nature. With
regard to the 3D SOS exhibit:



Coral reefs are the canary in the coal mine when it comes to
determining the health of the world’s oceans. Despite this,
believe it or not, for years scientists have been using plain
old measuring tape to track the growth and degradation of the
world’s coral reefs. But now, Sly Lee — a former
biological science technician and founder of the Hydrous, a
science communication nonprofit—is using advanced
3D mapping and rendering software to keep an eye on the
world’s reefs. After taking thousands of photos of reefs in the
Maldives, Lee uploaded the images to Autodesk software that
stitches them together into high-resolution 3D models that
show fine-grained changes in the coral’s surface area, size,
and color. Using this technology, marine scientists can get
hard numbers on the change in size and shape of reefs over

The Hydrous is a 501(c)3 nonprofit striving to communicate
science beautifully. Using innovative and beautiful
visualizations, they seek to make coral reefs accessible to
local stakeholders and people around the world. Utilizing
Autodesk software, they have pioneered a method to capture
coral reefs in highly detailed 3D computer models for
revolutionary scientific and…

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