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Published February 27, 2019
Everyone loves playing cards. Trading cards are great, too. But what about interactive fossil cards?
The University of Wyoming’s Geological Museum is now offering just that, thanks to a collaborative project with UW Libraries and the Paleontological Society, titled “Augmenting the Reality of Wyoming’s Fossil Record.”
Five cards are now available for free to all visitors to the museum on campus. The back of each card contains information and details on specific fossils from certain time periods in the museum. To interact with the card, visitors can download the WyoFossil app on their Apple or Android smartphones. Opening the app and holding the phone above the information side of the card reveals a three-dimensional model of the fossil or animal on the phone’s screen.
“The app and the cards are a really fun way to share UW’s fossils, all of which were found in this state,” says Laura Vietti, UW Geological Museum and collections manager. “They allow visitors to interact with and even ‘take them home,’ without risking any damage to the actual specimens.”
Vietti says five more cards should be available in the coming months, with plans in the works for more in the future. The current five cards also can be printed at home or viewed online at www.uwyo.edu/geomuseum/wyofossil/. A survey is available at the same site, and users are encouraged to provide feedback to help justify funding for the cards in the future.
The project is a collaboration led by Vietti, who developed the idea and is responsible for the implementation and subsequent data collection. The cards and app were developed by Tyler Kerr in a private contractor role with the museum. Kerr is the makerspace coordinator for the Coe Student Innovation Center and also earned his degree in paleontology from UW. Chad Hutchens, head of the UW Libraries digital collections, and his team generated the three-dimensional models using sophisticated scanners in his department.
The UW Geological Museum is located on campus just south of the corner of 11th and Lewis streets. It is open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and admission is free. Learn more by visiting www.uwyo.edu/geomuseum/index.html, calling (307) 766-2646 or emailing email@example.com.