Microsoft’s Photosynth wowed them at TED, and now the tech demo is live, letting you play with the same environments (and a few extras) they showed then.
Words fail me. It really is an astonishing, brilliant and enriching experience. Forget Papervision for now. Forget Google Virtual Earth. This is a taste of the future. You can almost imagine being able to fly through the environment with an avatar. To drill down through the photos to see who took them. To link them to geotags. To layer a semantic Web on top.
For all the talk of the metaverse roadmap, augmented reality, and information shadows it’s often hard to picture what it will look like. Well, this is pretty close to where I imagine we might be headed - culling photos from public databases (or your own), mapping them to three dimensions, flying through the architecture it creates - add layers of information on top, an avatar, and (once processing power increases) multiple users and the mirror world has truly arrived. (Photos after the fold)
If you have the processing power and (grrr) a PC, check it out.
(P.S. I had to shut down other applications, Second Life included, to open up enough processing power and I’m on a pretty heavy machine).
From the Photosynth site:
The Photosynth Technology Preview is a taste of the newest - and, we hope, most exciting - way to view photos on a computer. Our software takes a large collection of photos of a place or an object, analyzes them for similarities, and then displays the photos in a reconstructed three-dimensional space, showing you how each one relates to the next.
In our collections, you can access gigabytes of photos in seconds, view a scene from nearly any angle, find similar photos with a single click, and zoom in to make the smallest detail as big as your monitor.