The Khronos Group, an open consortium of industry-leading companies creating advanced interoperability standards, and the Smithsonian, the world’s largest museum, education and research complex, have announced their collaborative agreement for the increase and diffusion of knowledge using 3D scanned models from the Smithsonian collections.
Working with Khronos, the Smithsonian publicly launched their Open Access initiative, which included the release of approximately 2.8 million 2D images and 3D models into the public domain with the internationally recognized Creative Commons Zero (CCO) license. Additionally, a variety of platforms will be launched to make its collection media, collections data, and research data available for educational and research endeavors, creative reuse, computational analysis and innovative explorations.
To distribute their massive gallery of media and data, the Smithsonian is offering a download option for their 3D models in glTF, a royalty-free specification for the efficient transmission and loading of 3D scenes and models by applications. An open standard developed by Khronos, glTF minimizes both the size of 3D assets and the runtime processing needed to unpack and use those assets. The Smithsonian has developed a specialized glTF vendor extension, but with this new agreement, the museum will engage directly with Khronos and build a glTF-based open source tool chain for scalability and longevity.
“We are deeply honored to collaborate with the Smithsonian on this significant project,” said Patrick Cozzi, 3D Formats working group chair at Khronos. “This application of glTF will help the Smithsonian open the door for significant new uses of 3D in education, research and creative domains, and it will leverage and strengthen the breath and interoperability of the glTF ecosystem.”