Google to Lend Gigapixel Cameras to Art Museums Worldwide

'Mona Lisa Painting'

About 20 Google Art Cameras will be deployed to museums worldwide to help custodians digitize art collections.

Over the years, Google has developed an insanely high-resolution camera that the company is now lending to art museums worldwide to take accurate closeups of their most treasured paintings.

Google’s Art Camera will be sent to art collections this month to celebrate the International Museum Day on May 18. Several lucky museums will have the opportunity to immortalize famous pieces of art in their collections through gigapixel images, i.e. pictures that contain 1 billion pixels.

Additionally, Google Cultural Institute won’t charge museums for its services.

On the other hand, gigapixel imagery is no new technology to Google. The web search giant has already unveiled about 200 similar supersized images. But now it takes less time and effort to capture gigapixel image with the company’s Art Camera.

Experts explained that the new camera is equipped with a sonar and a laser which in turn capture highly detailed images inch by inch. Next, the camera sends the images to Google’s servers which stitch the images together into a larger, superdetailed photo.

So, now you can take a closer look at a piece of art from the comfort of your own room without the risk of being scolded by a museum employee that you got too close to a painting.

In a recent statement, a Google representative said that the team was excited about the digitized collection they managed to gather so far and thrilled over the new opportunities people who wish to explore artworks now have.

In recent months, Google Cultural Institute and its partners digitized and released about 1,000 artworks. But it took about five years to scan 200 gigapixel paintings with conventional technologies.

The Art Camera speeds up the process of digitizing artworks and documents. Experts said that with older technology they needed a day to scan an image. Google’s camera now allows them to capture a 1m x 1m painting in about half an hour.

Google said it has 20 cameras that it would lend to several museums for free.

To capture an image, the photographer needs to place the camera in front of a painting and point it at the edges of the image. Next the device calculates the surface area and starts working moving inch by inch.

The superdetailed closeups are next beamed to Google’s servers which will generate an extreme picture, which is ready to be published hours later. The only limitation of the technology is that it cannot scan 3-D objects.

Image Source: YouTube