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LUXLAB: Advanced Analytic Scanning

LUXLAB: scanning 18metre scroll painting for the Hong Kong Maritime...
LUXLAB: scanning 26 scrolls from 'Bird's Eye' by Qiu...

LUXLAB: Advanced Analytic Scanning

LUXLAB at UNSW is part of a network of advanced analytical imaging laboratories founded upon the pioneering research of Kyoto University, Graduate School of Engineering (Ide Laboratory). The Ide Lab is the world’s largest archive of ultra high-resolution 2D cultural heritage data.

Analytical imaging refers to the technique of extracting information from images using pattern recognition and data mining. The type of information depends on how the images are acquired, which could be trichromatic, monochromatic, multispectral, hyperspectral, infrared images. Analytical imaging differs from conventional imaging used in cultural heritage by extracting and assigning numerical values to the image information providing unprecedented control of the colour accuracy, among other features. In summary, the technique provides ultra-high resolutions and high colour fidelity that are not achievable with traditional camera techniques.

Heritage conservation and preservation sciences and, new media installations, film and broadcasting are increasingly demanding not only much higher resolutions than are currently common practice, but also more accurate data acquisition (e.g. colour fidelity).  It is also recognized that there is a perilous shortage of such imaging services in the GLAMs sector (worldwide and in Australia) to meet present demand. This imaging technique while essential for preservation and conservation and, provides the data necessary for new interactive displays in museums, addressing a trajectory of developments in screen resolutions and immersive systems (i.e. ‘4k revolution’ and the upcoming 8k screens). This technique also has considerable (as yet undeveloped) potential in the art market, commercial sales and for insurance of important artworks. 

There are more than 35 scanning systems from the Ide Laboratory deployed in a Japan, Europe, Asia and Africa for major digitization of cultural heritage objects. Over 7500 objects have been digitized including some of the most important national and international heritage in Japan, China, Korea, Egypt, and United Kingdom, in more than 60 projects since 2004. There are currently eight laboratories worldwide.

A few examples:
Belfast Museum (Titanic ship plans) | Grand Egyptian Museum Conservation Center, Giza | Al Azhar Library, Cairo | Nijojo castle | Kano Eitoku Fusuma paintings at Daitoku temple Jukouin | Kannon-do Temple, Ninnaji Temple complex | Kyushu National Museum | Josiah Conder Drawings, Mitsubishi Estate Group | Ryukyuu byoubu (Okinawa) | Kouya San National Heritage | Tongdosa Temple | Kyushu National Museum (Ino Tadataka maps of Japan) | Hanartz, Hong Kong (Chinese contemporary art) | Hong Kong Maritime Museum (Pacifying the South China Sea Pirates Scroll) | Victoria and Albert Museum & Prado Museum (Ommeganck paintings).

LUXLAB uses state-of-the art ultra-high resolution imaging systems for applications in the field of cultural heritage and art conservation, preservation and imaging science. New tools developed by LUXLAB include image management and display of ultra high-resolution datasets for 4K and 8K displays and tablets.

LUXLAB offers:

  • High color fidelity (color difference about 1.0-1.5 or less)
  • Minimal light irradiation (less than 5% of the museum exhibition total light exposure)
  • High spatial resolution capable of detecting microscopic scale areas (5-80microns)
  • Fast and cost effective to digitize hundreds and thousands of objects in museums, galleries, archives and libraries
  • Applicable to wide range of objects of various shapes, sizes and surface characteristics (e.g. 2D to 3D objects; small to large; and dark to shiny)
  • Non-contact and non-invasive data capture
  • Produces analytical information (i.e. spectral and colorimetric)


  • High to ultrahigh resolution trichromatic scanning with color difference of about 1.0-1.5 (the commercial cameras are 5-9 or worse)
  • Near infrared scanning (780-1000nm)
  • Monochromatic multi/hyper spectral imaging (8 bands or more)
  • Trichromatic multi/hyper spectral imaging (15 bands or more)
  • High resolution polarized light scanning for metallic and shiny surfaces
  • Transmission light (and reflection light) scanning
  • 3D shape and color reconstruction
  • Minimal light irradiation (less than 5% of the museum exhibition total light exposure)

Examples of ultra-high resolution data for exhibition:

The 360 Scroll Experience (2013), Hong Kong Maritime Museum

The Scroll Navigator (2013), Hong Kong Maritime Museum