Exclusive 3D Reconstruction of the Djedi Robot Findings in the Great Pyramid

[youtube width=”465″ height=”288″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyUoF9977o0

As part of our Passion for Innovation sponsorship program, Dassault Systèmes partnered with Scoutek and Leeds University, UK, in 2009, supporting the Djedi Robot Mission to explore the mysterious shafts in the Great Pyramid.

If the Passion for Innovation initiative allows us to provide financial support for this innovative project our strength lies, above all, in our ability to add our 3D engineering competency and cutting-edge 3D technology to such missions.

My team and I are proud to be a part of this cross-disciplinary and innovative team, selected by the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities to send a robot probe named Djedi into the Queen’s Chamber shafts and explore parts of the Great Pyramid hidden from human eyes for 4,500 years.

Last week stories from New Scientist, Discovery, CNN and others broke the news that the Djedi robot had revealed some previously undiscovered hieroglyphs in one of the shafts and relayed these never seen before images.

These images and mission reports were published in the 84th edition of Annales du Service Des Antiquités de l’Egypte (ASAE), the official publication of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities.

The robot has been designed and simulated in 3D to make sure it would work on the field right from the start and would be easily maintained in operations.

But 3D is not only a tool for engineers and we believe that the best way to experience this adventure for yourself is through 3D experiences we are able to deliver. We spent this weekend capturing images in real-time, in a virtual 3D world, to help the public -all publics- understand what the robot has seen.

You’ll see the robot and its environment in full context.  Without need for words, you’ll understand the technical challenge as you’ll see Djedi navigate itself through a 20cmx20cm tunnel in the pyramid.

Djedi Queen chamber great pyramid giza dassault systeme

We would like to remind the public that, as exciting as this work is, it is a work in progress.  We still have much to learn from Djedi, and Egyptologists still must interpret the meaning and significance of the hieroglyphs.

“Red-painted numbers and graffiti are very common around Giza,” says Peter Der Manuelian, an Egyptologist at Harvard University and a Passion for Innovation partner. “They are often masons’ or work-gangs’ marks, denoting numbers, dates or even the names of the gangs.”

3D has a way of turning question marks into exclamation points, and we enjoy sharing this with you.



Dassault Systemes 3DS Giza Pyramid Djedi Mehdi is the Interactive Strategy Director at Dassault Systèmes.

  • Daniel

    Really fascinating! Great work done by the robot team, but also by the guys responsible for the 3D visualization – impressive results so soon after the initial “breaking news” announcements. I’m looking forward to read more about it in ASAE 84!
    As an Egyptologist though, I’m afraid we can’t make very much of this few signs, all I can discern more or less clearly is a sign that looks like one of the loop signs [Gardiner V6, V17, V28 ?]. Maybe it’s V17 for /zA/, “workgang”, but that’s only a guess. This inscription halfway up the shaft, that is featured in the video only a glimpse, might proove more telling, who knows.

  • Thanks for your comment Daniel! 🙂

    Mehdi’s replied by e-mail I think but I wanted to thank you personally as well!


  • Hortense Weinblatt

    Ummm … so … umm, ?where? are the images … ?

  • Mehdi

    @Hortense, they are in the video embedded in this post or here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyUoF9977o0

  • Jesse

    I have been following this since the early 90’s when the first robot discovered the block door with handles (I think that was Upuat?). Then I saw the late 2000’s documentary where another robot was sent in and drilled a hole through the first door with the handles and stuck a camera in. It found another small room with door directly in front. Has Djedi already drilled through this second door to see what was in that room behind the second door? Is all of this completely but not published yet due to the process and rules of publications?

  • Djedi has recovered the pictures inside the room behind the first door (as seen in the video) but the second door is still hiding what’s behind it… 🙁 but no doubt we’ll solve that mistery one day! 😉

  • jumpjack

    have we got a planning for future Djedi activities?
    And detail/specification/schematics of Djedi itself?
    Hires version of images? (they are unbelievably low res!! We are in the era of 14 mpixel in a 100$ camera!!!)

  • Mehdi

    Hello we hope to send the robot again in the shafts before the end of the year.
    The native images taken by the snake camera are VGA., so not low res at all. However, in the process of transmitting the images from snake cam to rover to umbilical to video storage to frame grab they have become somewhat degraded. These initial images weren’t intended for transmission, they were for us to carry out an initial survey, and of course we could see them much more clearly directly on our monitors. As we discovered something so important, we decided to publish the images as they were.
    Now that we know what we are looking for, and where to look, we have significantly improved the quality of the images, ready for when we are going to return.

  • michael

    Dr Hawass on his blog indicated that the robot would have “a coring drill that can penetrate the second blocking stone (if necessary and feasible) while removing the minimum amount of material necessary.” Is that planned for the return mission?

    Also, given that the orientation and location of the ‘air shafts’ is now known, is there any work being done to locate the theoretical end of the shafts from the outside of the pyramid?

  • Hey Michael!

    Here is what I’ve been told: the goal is indeed to look behind the second stone (where there’s an interrogation mark in the video) and yes Djedi has a drill for that! 😉 we hope to end the mission by the end of the year.

    Regarding the air shaft I don’t know yet but I’ll let you know.

    Thanks for your comment! 🙂

  • michael

    Dear Remi,

    Thank you very much for your swift response.

    I will follow your progress with great interest.

    My idea about the extension of the shafts to the outside of the pyramid, is that if we know the angle of the shaft and distance from the ‘door’ that is currently drilled through, to the exterior of the pyramid, we should be able to plot the location where the ‘air shaft’ would theoretically appear on the exterior of the pyramid.

    Using various methods at that theoretical location on the exterior of the pyramid (visual, simple sounding by tapping, ultrasonic, sonar etc) it may be possible to determine the location of the point where the ‘air shafts’ from the “Queens Chamber” exit the pyramid. Of course this is IF they do!

    It just occurred to me, if you introduced heated air into the shaft through the second ‘door’ after the hole is drilled and had a thermal camera scanning the exterior of the pyramid this would also aid in finding any outlet. The heated air would appear as a hot spot through the camera (heated air would also be a superior option to cooled air as it would rise through the shaft). Of course this would be best done during a cold night so the temperature differential between the temperature of the pyramid and heated air is maximised.

    Perhaps a way to test this hypothesis is to try this method first in the ‘air shafts’ from the “Kings Chamber” as these shafts are known to exit the pyramid (one being used for ventilation already).

    I wish you well in your work and success for all future endeavours.

    Kind Regards

  • that’s indeed a great idea michael! 8)
    I don’t know what’s planned so far but again I’ll let you know as soon as something pops up on my side. 😉

  • Oz

    Nice findings.. You still have the upper chambers to explore.

    For the red markings check the wells.

  • Willem Witteveen

    Is there a possibility to use a photograph of the Djedi robot for an article and book about Giza I am writing.

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