If you throw your mind back to the CCEBR tour that we did, you may remember talking about databases full of information/pictures/models of various organisms. The Hydrous is an organization that houses 3 dimensional models of corals. This organization is still in its infancy, and is not quite as scientifically oriented as other databases are. Rather, The Hydrous tries to allow people around the world to have interactions with corals, in the hope that this will encourage people to protect it.
Still, the 3D models of the corals are quite cool to look at. The website is a bit vague when it comes to describe the method of making the models, but it does say that it is the result of stitching together underwater photographs and the use of some sort of software. Thus, it is a way to garner characteristics (such as the mass) of the coral without killing it, which is an exciting prospect for marine conservationists. These digital models can also be used to create physical models with a 3D printer.
The Hydrous is also working on the potential educational opportunities that this kind of software provides. As their end goal is to bring more people to interact with the ocean, they are currently working on three virtual reality products that will launch in 2017. The first of these is a virtual reality experience that uses a headset, the second is a virtual reality video of a whole dive, and the third is an exhibit of sorts, with 360 degree video, audio input, and 3D coral models that people could come and interact with.
If you wanna check out some of the 3D models, their collection can be seen at https://sketchfab.com/thehydro.us.
They also have a website: https://www.thehydro.us/