The “digital Michelangelo project” was a seminal computer vision project in the early 2000’s that pushed the capabilities of acquisition systems and involved multiple people from diverse fields, many of whom are now leaders in industry and academia. Reviewing this project with modern eyes provides us with the opportunity to reflect on several issues, relevant now as then to the field of computer vision and research in general, that go beyond the technical aspects of the work.
This article was written in the context of a reading group competition at the week-long International Computer Vision Summer School 2017 (ICVSS) on Sicily, Italy. To deepen the participants understanding of computer vision and to foster a sense of community, various reading groups were tasked to highlight important lessons which may be learned from provided literature, going beyond the contents of the paper. This report is the winning entry of this guided discourse (Fig. 1). The authors closely examined the origins, fruits and most importantly lessons about research in general which may be distilled from the “digital Michelangelo project”. Discussions leading to this report were held within the group as well as with Hao Li, the group mentor.