Even Deeper Into the Photo-Matrix

January 22nd, 2009

Advancements in technology are typically gradual and something you can look back on and see how we’ve made great progress over a number of years. It’s recognizing those leaps and lurches forward in technology that is a LOT harder to do.

I remember seeing a promo/demo from Microsoft a couple/few years ago that made me think, “Wow – if they get that working it will be something special.” Well – despite my foggy recollection of that moment and what it was I saw, CNN is now showcasing the very technology Microsoft was touting in that obscure memory.

It’s called “Photoynth” and I have it say – it’s extremely impressive. Here’s how it works: People take photos. People upload photos. Photosynth stiches them together after analyzing the content and determining how/where the images are visually related to each other. Now, that’s a great simplification, but the concept is that simple. It’s like when you take 8 photos of a wide landscape and then overlay the prints on your table to create one larger image. Except this works in three dimensions.

Is this a radical leap forward or just a cool way to view images? Hard to say. I just know I haven’t seen anything else like it executed this well. The amount of visual information that’s being recorded and uploaded across the planet is astounding. We’ve got Flickr and Picasa and countless photo services where we can store and geo-tag our images. Now there’s a way to stitch those disparate images back together into something resembling reality, and they’re all taken one photo at a time.

Think of what we’ll be able to look back at 20 years from now. Pretty much anything that anyone took a photo of today.

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