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About the Society Awards Past Award Winners 2015 Awardees 2015 (Lanzendorf) Digital Mod/Animation) - David Schürch, Thomas Erdin, Jonas Christen, Kent Stevens


The submitted animations are a result of a cooperation between ikonaut (David Schürch, Thomas Erdin and Jonas Christen) and Kent A. Stevens. Scientific 3D reconstructions of the Allosaurus specimen 'Big Al Two' and an Apatosaurus louisae were used for walk-cycle development based on real tracks from the Jura Region in Switzerland.

The animations are implemented in the Augmented-Reality-Application «Paléoskop – Tracking Dinosaurs» for JURASSICA, Porrentruy, Switzerland.

ikonaut GmbH Scientific Visualization & Illustration
Brugg, Switzerland

Ikonaut is a Swiss company specializing in scientific visualization, founded by three alumni of the Zurich University of the Arts Scientific Visualization Bachelor and Master Program: David Schürch, Thomas Erdin, and Jonas Christen. While all members are educated in the classic Illustration techniques of drawing and painting, they focus primarily on digital media, 3D reconstruction and animation. Together, they aim to find compelling and innovative solutions for every assignment to communicate with their audience, incorporating both new and traditional expository elements.

Drawn by fascination for the unknown and unseen, paleontological visualization is one of the main themes of Ikonaut's work. After receiving the Design Advancement Award from the Zurich University of the Arts for a series of paleontological illustrations, Ikonaut has been collaborating with computer scientist Prof. Kent A. Stevens and paleontologist Dr. Daniel Marty in projects for dinosaur visualization.

Ikonaut, a relatively young company, has already completed work in the fields of paleontology, archaeology, biology and environmental science including Jurassica and Paléontologie A16 in Porrentruy, the University of Zurich, University of Basel, different Archeological Services and Natural History Museums in Switzerland or the Eawag an aquatic research institute. Furthermore Ikonaut is involved in research projects such as the bird-flightsimulator «Birdly» from the Institute for Design Research of the Zurich University of the Arts or the developement of a engine for reconstructing ancient cities with Students of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland.

Kent A. Stevens, Professor Emeritus
Department of Computer and Information Science
University of Oregon
Eugene, Oregon, USA

With a B.S. in Engineering and M.S. in Computer Science (in Computer Graphics) from UCLA, and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (in Artificial Intelligence and Vision), Stevens has a broadly interdisciplinary background in engineering and computer graphics, starting with his undergraduate studies, then robotics at Caltech/JPL, as an industry consultant in virtual reality, flight simulation, and machine vision, and in his research, from creating psychophysical stimuli for experiments in vision, to the modeling of 3D skeletons for the visualization of dinosaur biomechanics. For over 20 years Stevens and his collaborators are helping forge an interdisciplinary link between digital modeling and animation with vertebrate paleontology. Traditional reconstructions of dinosaurs, by physically mounting specimens for display or by artistic drawings, provide have limited scientific value (e.g., to explore their posture, joint range of motion, feeding movements, locomotion behavior). In contrast, digital models, carefully based on original 3D fossil material and constrained by current biomechanical knowledge, are helping lay the groundwork for reinterpreting dinosaur biology and bringing life back to their fossil bones.