One thing that I admire about Obama is his embrace of science and technology. In my opinion, the Internet has been the most socially equalizing developments in the history of Mankind. It is refreshing to hear him talk about a return to science and engineering. From his campaign to his inauguration, he has used technology to it’s greatest potential. Despite watching the inauguration and thoroughly enjoying it, I feel ill-equipped to describe that which has been seen by most anyone who would be reading this. Instead I share a new tool that illustrates how technology can make history come alive. My Grandfather Moment displayed in 3D.
If you’ve been watching CNN, you may have heard talk about Microsoft Photosynth. CNN encouraged people at the event to take pictures of “the Moment” from wherever they were of the scene. Photosynth, using nothing but a bunch of random pictures of the event, creates a 3D collage that allows visitors to view the area in a kind of 3d panorama. The software literally looks at each picture and figures out the common elements, and builds a 3D spatial map of it. CNN has created a set of “photosynths” of today’s historic event.
In order to view the images, you need to install Microsoft Silverlight. It’s worth the short time it takes to install and will not cause your computer to burst into flames. As you surf the photosynth, more pictures are incorporated as they are downloaded, creating a more detailed 3D model. Click on this link to view “The Moment” Barack Obama was sworm in at President.
Remember. All of this was created using hundreds of photos taken by different people, with different cameras. It baffles me how the program is able to build such an impressive 3D collage out of 2D pictures, seemingly knowing what position, angle and perspective each shot is at. This is possibly the only truly geek-worthy piece of software Microsoft has ever created.
What’s equally amazing is that the software for creating photosynths is freely available. I downlaoded the software and selected a bunch of pictures I took. For best results, a large number of photos (50-75) is recommended. Lucky for me, I recently went to St. Kitts and took tons of photos. I selected 39 photos that I had taken from Timothy Hill, looking out to the Southeast Peninsula. I was awe struck when i saw the final result.
Try it yourself. Microsoft’s www.photosynth.net site gives you free space to showcase your own photosynths. You can browse creations of pther people as well. I’ll definitely be experimenting with this in the future.