Photosynth – the emphasis is wrong

Posted on August 6, 2007


Microsoft have released another demo for Photosynth, this time of space shuttle Endeavour on the launchpad.

To date I’ve *almost* loved this technology – the means by which the software automatically patches together bits of images is ridiculously cool. The end result is very slick, but feels slightly as if the presentation is more important than the content, and hence a slightly empty experience.

Photosynth screengrabWhen I was playing with it earlier, I realised why. Although they’re positioned as being the raison d’etre, the images aren’t actually the exciting thing about this demo. The exciting thing is when you click the “fly around” icon and see the 3D markers which have been generated automatically from the 2D pictures. If the software could go a little bit further and generate wireframes from the spatial and colour information in the pictures then an entire browseable 3D view could be built up. Instead of just flying around the shuttle, you’d be able to walk straight into it, under it or fly over it.

Now take this and extend the concept again – imagine if you could then take that generated 3D rendering and then build this out into existing virtual worlds – for example Second Life or Multiverse

Then you’d be able to take a bunch of pictures of the real world and have that rendered into virtual world pretty much automatically. Result: the entire real world world browseable online…