By Andrew Liszewski
Large companies having secret research labs is by no means a new thing but these days they seem more open to showing the public what they’ve been working on even if the technology is far from ready for the average consumer. No doubt we can thank Google Labs for this trend.
Microsoft’s own Live Labs has just released a look inside a new piece of software they’ve been cooking up called Photosynth. The idea of the program is pretty simple. Looking at regular 2D photos is boring so why not assemble a collection of photos of a particular place, person or object into a kind of 3D interactive version? This won’t really work for photographers who just grab a single far away photo of something but if you’re the type who loves to take plenty of detail shots this could prove interesting.
The software basically analyzes a group of images and looks for similar distinctive features across photos. When a particular feature is found in multiple images the 3D positional data can be calculated and the photos can be arranged in an interactive manner like in the above screenshots allowing you to pan around and zoom in or out on certain areas. A more practical use of this technology as suggested by Microsoft would be to grab a photo of a landmark with your cameraphone and then via image analysis similar to what Photosynth uses the name of the place as well as more info could be instantly found online.
Photosynth is not currently available for download but a public beta version is apparently in the works.