Wednesday, July 04, 2007

[[ZEITGEIST]] Blaise Aguera y Arcas demonstrates photosynth

Feeling pretty good that I stole a lead on Boing Boing by featuring Hans Rosling on this blog several months ago (Yeah I know it was an older talk and the new one is really worth watching btw). But I though I would draw your attention to another stunning TED presentation. This time it is of a piece of software called photosynth. Photosynth is based on a technology called seedragon which instead of struggling to represent data heavy images by loading them and then interpolating them, seems to be able to rasterize the screen and allocate each image a share of the available real estate of pixels. This means the computer never has to represent more detail than is contained in the pixels on the screen, although the user can dynamically zoom into the images as much as they like. Doesn't this present really exciting possibilities for all virtual world? I means why struggle with clunky 3d representations and distance rendering if all images can be rendered like this. A case in point is Photosynth itself. Photosynth is a dynamic three dimensional representation of seedragon images arranged as a virtual world. In this demonstration its inventor (?) The fabulously named Blaise Aguera y Arcas who wows the TED audience with a virtual Notre Dame Cathedral, constructed out of thousands and thousands of non copyright photographs stored on flickr. As Aguera y Arcas says, this constitutes, in a sense, a representation of the collective memory of humanity. A a memory that what is more can be accessed and explored by anyone using the software. UNFORTUNATELY though photosynth is owned by those kings of the proprietory software , Mircrosoft, and I see from googling photosynth that it is only available to on XP or Vista. Shame that Google were not quicker of the mark with acquiring this one.

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