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Wren's Nest used in 3-D laser show; RE-CREATION: World-famous cavern to be reopened as visitor attraction.

Byline: Steve Bradley

A WORLD-famous Cathedral Cavern, hidden beneath Dudley's Wren's Nest, is to be recreated as a 3-D virtual reality laser show.

As much data as possible will be filmed at the former Step Shaft mine before engineers begin the mammoth task of temporarily filling it in to prevent it from collapse.

Hundreds of tons of sand will be poured into the cavern to stabilise its roof and walls while funding is sourced for it to be reopened as a visitor attraction.

Before work starts, scientists, geologists, engineers and archaeologists will spend ten days in the cavern next month to capture information.

They then hope to create a 3-D version of the space which will be put on display at Dudley Museum and Art Gallery in St James's Road later in the year.

Councillor Karen Shakespeare, cabinet member for environment and culture, said: "A laser camera will be set up on a tripod in the cavern which will rotate 360 degrees horizontally and 180 degrees vertically.

"It will send out a laser signal which will hit the walls of the cavern at every point and send millions of signals back to the data recorder.

"This will capture every coordinate of the mine..

"This 3-D model will give the public the chance to take a virtual reality look at this magnifi- cent cavern and will also be vital in helping with future works..

"It will be key to helping us design the strata project and will record how the mine looks now so that when we re-open it we can see if any areas have changed." An archaeological survey will look for industrial and mining artefacts and a photographic and video survey will be made..

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Step Shaft Mine at Wren's Nest, Dudley, is to be recreated as a 3D virtual reality laser show.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Apr 2, 2009
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