Last Updated on 26th May 2021

Scanning Grotte De Lombrives

as part of the Deep Time 40 experiment

Deep Time 40

For 40 days, 15 participants set up camp in the Lombrives cave in southwestern France with no clocks or sunlight, and zero contact to the outside world.

The Human Adaptation Institute conduct studies of real-life situations, solely on humans, to better understand the cognitive and physiological mechanisms of the human mind when facing rapid and long-term change.  Their latest experiment, Deep Time 40, aimed to explore the links between the human brain and time, to gain insight into the limits of human adaptability to isolation.

The team entered the cave in March 2021 and emerged 40 days later. Most of the team were only on their 30th cycle when they exited the cave, showing that their perception of time had altered.

Scanning the Lombrives

Throughout the mission, the ‘deeptimers’ organised tasks to complete within the cave setting, to help structure their days. Their first task was to conduct a recce of the location.

GeoSLAM technology was called upon to conduct a digital scan of the 3km Lombrives cave – a cave system consisting of both narrow passages and expansive chambers up to 70 meters in height, formed over 125 million years ago.

The ZEB Horizon was selected for the task, putting to the test the device’s 100m range capabilities. Its versatility and walk-and-scan method of data collection allowed the team the flexibility to crouch, crawl and scan the depths and narrow canals of the cave, including 90m deep wells.

Commenting on the company’s involvement in the project, GeoSLAM Channel Manager for Europe, including France where the study took place, Tomas Blaha said:

“We are thrilled to have been associated with the Human Adaption Institute on such an exciting and historic project. The hand-held capabilities of the ZEB Horizon device provided easy-to-use technology for the members of the team with no professional surveying experience.”

Tomas Blaha

European Channel Manager, GeoSLAM

Why a SLAM scanner?

Traditional tripod-based systems used for digital mapping rely heavily on GPS to collect accurate data. SLAM technology, however, overcomes this limitation by cutting out GPS altogether, enabling scans to be carried out in complex and enclosed spaces, including underground.

In addition, a traditional scanner would have found it difficult, if not impossible, to traverse the cave in such a short period of time, due to the narrow spaces, as mentioned above.

“The study tested the limits of human endurance in a challenging environment and the same can be said of the technology to survey the Lombrives cave. Using traditional static and GPS-based scanners would have been impossible for this project, so we are delighted that the ZEB Horizon’s adaptability and ruggedness played its part in an historic piece of research”

Tomas Blaha

European Channel Manager, GeoSLAM

View the sample data here

Apartment and staircase

Grotte De Lombrives