Virtual Design Analysis Group is a division of NVentum, LLC.

This unique collaborative endeavor; to utilize the latest reality capture technology to document the artifacts, buildings and campus of History San Jose, provides opportunities for private sector, non-profits and institutions of higher education to work together to solve some of today's most pressing engineering issues. The protocol for retrofitting as-built historic facilities and the use of new technologies to preserve our most prized historic treasures are vital to the continued success and expanded influence of our museums.
This blog will document the challenges and successes of this ambitious, one of a kind project.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Silicon Valley's "Smithsonian West"

 San Jose is home to one of California's most unique and eclectic historic collections. The San Jose History Park is 14 acres of manicured grounds and historic structures. 
Japanese Internment Document
Courtesy History San Jose

"History San Jose' collects, preserves and celebrates the stories of diversity and innovation in San Jose' and the Santa Clara Valley." From HSJ Webpage

No where is this diversity reflected more than in the vast and varied collection of artifacts both on display and in the museum's collection center. 
What are some of the things one might find in this unusual collection?
Califaro Tank House- Built 1880
Courtesy History San Jose

Buildings: (1880s-1920s) Homes, Commercial Buildings, Small Businesses, Temples, Cabins, Barns
Dr. Warburton's Examination Chair
Courtesy History San Jose
(1800-2010) Kitchen Appliances, Utensils, Industrial Tools, Manufacturing Equipment, Tractors, Lathes, Printing Presses, Typewriters, Telephones, Ice Boxes, Plows, Wagons, Pianos, Household Furniture, Native American Bowls/Utensils

Milk Machine
Courtesy History San Jose
Transportation: (1840s-1940s) Automobiles, Bicycles, Motorcycles, Scooters, Trolleys, Trains, Trucks
1915 Excelsior Auto Cycle
Button Trolley
Courtesy HSJ (1790s-2012) Paintings, Etchings, Carvings, Historic Documents, Letters, Spanish Regional Maps, Mexican Regional Maps, Arial Maps, Land Grant Documents, Newspapers/Periodicals, Films, Lithographs, Native American Tools

1917 Harley Davidson
Electronics: (1900-Present) Computers, Televisions, Teletype Machines, Transmitters, Decoders, Generators, PC Boards, Phonographs, Victrolas, Listening Devices, Tape Recorders, Radios, Broadcast Equipment, Video Recorders, Video Games, Prototypes.

Courtesy History San Jose
The San Jose History Museum is home to over 500,000 artifacts; 95% of these artifacts are currently in storage and unavailable to the public. There are three primary reasons for this;1) there isn't enough space to display all of the artifacts.2) the museum's collection is constantly expanding. History isn't just about what happened years ago, but what happened yesterday. 3)) most of the museum's work is conducted by volunteers. With over 500,000 artifacts and the research required to properly preserve them, the processes are time intensive.
1903 DeForest Wrls Responder
Photo Courtesy History San Jose

One of the major benefits to the "Capturing History" project is that many of these unseen artifacts can be displayed in the virtual museum setting. The virtual museum isn't restricted by walls and square footage that limit traditional museums. By digitally documenting the contents of the collection center, many of these artifacts will be seen by the public for the first
time in decades.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Peralta Adobe and the FARO 3D Focus Scanner

On March 21st, we gathered at the historic Peralta Adobe in downtown San Jose for a demonstration of FARO's newest laser scanner, the 3D Focus.
FARO representative Matt Daly was on site to give us a hand's on demo of the scanner and a look at the raw data gathered from the Peralta Adobe. In a little more than one hour, we took a total of seven (7) scans; five (5) scans were taken outside the building and two (2) were taken inside the historic structure. The results can be seen in the YouTube video below.

This was our first time using FARO equipment and I must say we were really impressed. In comparison to our current laser, it is smaller, lighter, with tons of features and cost a third of the price. How can you not be impressed? Of course, we are comparing the latest laser scanning technology with a scanner that is 7 years old so you would expect some major innovations have taken place.

There are a lot of things that this latest generation of laser scanners offer that make life easier for operators but the most important from my perspective is time. The FARO 3D focus has a built-in HD camera that makes texture mapping as simple as pressing a button. The self registering software cuts post production time  in half and the relatively small foot print of the scanner means you can access areas that other scanners can't.

All in all, it was a great experience and we are looking forward to working with FARO on the completion of the Peralta Adobe project. Stay tuned for more updates and info

For a more information of FARO products, please contact Matthew Daly:

For more information on the Peralta Adobe, please visit the History San Jose webpage at