The Selene System at the Princeton University Library

In August 2023, Jorge Cano and Carlos San Juan completed the installation of a Selene Photometric Stereo System inside the Princeton University Library. This pioneering recording system developed by Jorge Cano and the Factum Arte engineering team is the first of its kind ever installed in the US and is part of a larger initiative – the Selene Club.

The Selene installed © Jorge Cano | Factum Foundation

The installation was followed by a training session for the Princeton Library Digital Imaging department led by Roel Muñoz, and tests were carried out on several items from the library. As demonstrated through the work done at ARCHiOx, the Selene is able to capture the surface of items at a resolution of one million pixels per square inch and record height variations equivalent to less than a fifth the width of a human hair. Both 3D information and colour are simultaneously and efficiently recorded at the same time.

During the trial period, the Selene System was tested on a selection of objects from the Library’s Special Collections, including some of the cuneiform tablets. The topography of the tablets and stylus marks were captured like never before, allowing researchers a more detailed view of what was written and the tool markings. Both depth maps of the surface and a composite image from the outputs were created. A 2.5 digital model of a Russian Orthodox Quadriptych was also captured, allowing to inspect the rare and fragile object fully unfolded and see the iconographical program in its entirety. More information on the Priceton University Library’s website.

Carlos San Juan and Jorge Cano installing the Selene © Factum Foundation

The Factum Foundation and Princeton University Library teams © Jorge Cano | Factum Foundation

First tests on a Cuneiform tablet: input (left), 3D surface (right) © Princeton University Library

Detail of a 4×4 cm section © Princeton University Library