An Egyptian mummy’s head and face have been reconstructed with forensic science and 3D printing, offering scientists a tantalizing glimpse of the individual’s life and death.
The mummified head was discovered by accident in the collections of the University of Melbourne in Australia. A museum curator happened upon the remains during an audit and, concerned about the state of the specimen, sent it for a computed tomography (CT) scan.
“Turns out, [the skull] is actually quite intact; it has got bandages and looks well on the inside,” said Varsha Pilbrow, a biological anthropologist in the University of Melbourne’s Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience. “Of course, that then allowed us to think what to do next.”
With the help of an imaging specialist, Pilbrow and her team used the scans to create a 3D-printed replica of the mummy’s skull. Then, the scientists studied the specimen’s facial-bone features, such as the size and angle of the jaw and characteristics of the eye sockets, to determine that the head belonged to a female. The researchers are calling the specimen Meritamun. They say she was probably not more than 25 years old at the time of her death and was important enough to be mummified.
The Wikimedia Foundation is on the quest to expand its content and access to it for users in developing nations.
As part of its ‘Wikipedia Zero’ initiative the foundation is trying to make mobile access to Wikipedia free of internet data charges and to develop content in local languages.
“We started Wikipedia Zero because we [perceived] the trend that Wikipedia usage is shifting to mobiles, and [for it to] grow and expand in developing countries, we needed to [do more to] support the service on mobile,” says Carolynne Schloeder, director of mobile programs at the Wikimedia Foundation.
The foundation is partnering with mobile phone operators in developing countries to enable free internet access to Wikipedia. When a user accesses Wikipedia through an operator that has agreed to provide free usage, a message would appear to confirm that the page is free. When the user clicks an external link that may carry a cost to visit a warning message would show up.
A Wikipedia-style site that gets people to upload information on sustainable technologies and has received more than 50 million page views since its launch in 2006 is going through a raft of changes aimed at improving it further.
The site, called Appropedia, is built on open-source wiki software and allows information to be shared on technologies that could help improve lives in the developing world.
“We focus on sustainable technologies and how to use them in resource-poor settings,” says Lonny Grafman, founder and president of Appropedia.
As is the case with Wikipedia, anyone can edit Appropedia pages that currently hold close to 6,000 articles on topics including agriculture, energy, water and transport.
Appropedia has also collaborated with the WHO to host a catalogue of medical devices for use in poor countries. The Global Health Medical Device Compendium was developed by students at the University of Michigan, United States