If there is ever a single person who can be truly described as a “Renaissance Man”, it is Leonardo da Vinci. Most famous for his paintings of the ‘Mona Lisa’ and ‘The Last Supper’, he was a great deal more than just an artist: Sculptor, Architect, Musician, Scientist, Mathematician, Anatomist, Cartographer……the list goes on and on! In addition to those skills, he was also renowned in his own lifetime as an engineer and, most importantly from our point of view, a prolific inventor who laid out plans and designs for machines, many of which could and would not be built until hundreds of years after his death.
Codex Interactivus will be a book of Leonardo’s inventions that have been brought to life with Augmented Reality Software. We will demonstrate Leonardo's genius by using his designs, conceived in the pre-scientific era when people still believed that the Sun orbited the earth, and showing how they would have worked if he had access to modern technology.
How does it work?
The process works like this:
Research Leonardo's codices for one of his designs
Create a 3D software model of the design
Animate the 3D model
Associate the 3D model with the image of the design from his Codex using Augmented Reality software tools
Publish the resulting software to allow people to view the animations using the device of their choice (iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet, Windows PC, Mac, and Linux PC)
How much of the work has been completed?
My colleague, Philip Lamb, and I have been working on this project off and on for several years - in fact, when the first models were built, it was not really possible to augment actual book pages using a mobile device. Now though, we have everything that we need to complete the process and finally publish a book that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages.
Now that we have proven our software works with images from the original manuscripts, we have completed the design and animation of Leonardo's models of:
The aerial screw
The giant wing
You can download and try out a working example of the software that displays these three models today.
Step 1. Download the image file from here (please note that this is not the final version):
Step 3. Open the application and point the camera at the printed pages
Why are we looking for support from you?
Our vision for the book is to showcase not only Leonardo's flying machines but also some of his extraordinary inventions in civil and military engineering. We're passionate about Leonardo, but without additional support, we won't know whether other people share our passion enough to justify publishing a complete book. Your support will allow us to expand our initial work to a full book of at least ten designs, to tell the background story of all these inventions, provide historical context and discuss modern efforts to prove them. We have done the initial research required, and if our funding goal is reached, we will publish a complete book with animated models of the three already-completed models as well as models of:
Defense of the walls
The armored tank
Subject to the outcome of this campaign and ensuring that we are able to meet our delivery dates, we may also be able to add these inventions:
Tensile strength testing
As well as the software and electronic version of the book, if your support is at the $30 or greater level, you will receive a professionally printed copy of the book mailed to you (worldwide, at no additional cost) featuring the original illustrations drawn from Leonardo's codices and the accompanying fascinating stories behind each design.
Please see the full reward table for more information on the rewards available with different levels of support.
Risks and challenges
The demonstration software and examples which are available to download should prove that there is no technical risk to this project. We estimate that it will take a month to complete the development and animation of the software models while the text will be written concurrently. A further week for the editing process and then we will go to print and distribution. We have already investigated print companies in the US and UK and are confident that we can hit all of our targets.