Some of you who have been regular readers of my blog - would have seen my previous posts about Microsoft's PhotoSynth technology. PhotoSynth is truly a ground breaking piece of software that is not just awesome for what it can do (create 3D scenes from a set of your 2d photographs), but also in how it represents the shift in how Microsoft does business. Just 5 years ago all the research that Microsoft did would find its way into some commercial piece of software. (For example a lot of the research into image manipulation would end up into Digital Image - a now discontinued product). Today a piece of software such as PhotoSynth which truly has huge commercial value, has been released to the public totally free of cost. (To boot MS is giving 20gb of space to everyone who signs up for a Live account - a prerequisite to creating PhotoSynths). A lot of this paradigm shift in how Microsoft is operating, I am sure is in no small part attributable to Google. (Though, it does feel like the amount of cool stuff coming out of Google is slowing down and Microsoft is quickly gathering the speed needed to over-take it).
The website itself has much to be desired off. (it is nice for a 0.5 version, but needs more work). It is hard to find cool PhotoSynths and I wish we could geo-code our images - so that people would know which location they represent. What would be even cooler would be that once multiple PhotoSynths for a location are created - they are all merged into one seamless representation of that area. Never-the-less, even in this iteration - this software is truly AWESOME!
Here is a MS Research paper on PhotoTourisim - a precursor to PhotoSynth: http://research.microsoft.com/IVM/PhotoTours/
Also - check out this truly cool video about PhotoSynth that was shown at a TED conference just a little over a year ago.
And here is my first ever PhotoSynth. The PhotoSynth was created with 7 photographs that I took of the Denver City Building while walking home. It took less than a couple of minutes for the PhotoSynth to be created and uploaded to the website.
Check out this point cloud that PhotoSynth creates from my pictures, which are used to "stitch" the images together.
Everytime I take a look at a PhotoSynth and the point cloud that sits behind it - I am truly awestruck. The problem that PhotoSynth solves is not a trivial one and to boot - they have made it work fast as well as accurately. It is truly amazing. PhotoSynth definitely takes photographs to a whole new level