Microsoft Live Labs: Photosynth

Photo Tourism

Microsoft Live Labs: Photosynth

Photosynth is an amazing new technology from Microsoft Live Labs that will change the way you think about digital photos forever.

Gotta love sweeping overly dramatic product descriptions…(generally it’s good practice to avoid words like “forever”).

Photosynth takes a large collection of photos of a place or object, analyzes them for similarities, and displays them in a reconstructed 3-Dimensional space.

With Photosynth you can:

* Walk or fly through a scene to see photos from any angle.

* Seamlessly zoom in or out of a photograph whether it’s megapixels or gigapixels in size.

* See where pictures were taken in relation to one another.

* Find similar photos to the one you’re currently viewing.

* Explore a custom tour.

* Send a collection to a friend.

Well I have been putting off this post a few days in hopes that they would finally release this public technology demonstration that they said is coming soon, but that doesn’t seem to be happening just yet. Sooo, I thought I’d go ahead and write a little bit about this. Let me just start by point this out:

The above link to “Photo Tourism” is only loosely based on what you’ll see once this software is ready. The Photo Tourism example is also up on a server somewhere running inside Java. Needless to say (but it needs to be pointed out), it runs a lot slower than it will when it’s on your computer.

Software or ideas come along like Photosynth maybe once a year or so. This is definitely one of those things that make the nerdy parts of my brain tingle with excitement. The possibilities for this Photosynth software are virtually impossible to fathom. The technology could be applied to medical imagining, tourism (as the rough example shows), real estate, and a plethora of other fields. I don’t want to say “this is what it does and what it can do” simply because the example I am linking to is not exactly the newest version of the code. Once we get the first public technology preview a in depth write up will soon follow.

So, play with the demo…learn what type of things this technology enables, and generally try to hold yourself back from saying “oh wow” and “ok, that is cool” more than 10 times. (I said both of those at least 18 times). wink

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