Wednesday, February 4, 2009

This post is SOOO Last Week

Hi there,

I just found two links that are pretty neat but they are about a news story that is...well, old news.

There are some interesting things going on out there with photos.  With the ubiquity of cell phone cameras and digital cameras a small unknown company has a cool little program that might make all of it useable.  Microsoft has bought a company that developed a computer program that is able to recognize structures in pictures and match them to  structures in other pictures.  The comptuer then makes a few calculations and figures out where the two photographers were, relative to one another, when they took these pictures of the same building.  For instance millions pictures are taken every year of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.  This program, Photosynth, can match the Catherdral in all of these pictures and place them in a 3-d map around Notre Dame.  It can then stich them together and give you 3D environment for looking through photos.  It really gives you a sense of swimming through a scene.  I got my friend Blaise to put together a video for your viewing pleasure.  If you fast forward to the 4:00 mark he gets into it.  If you visit the website there are a few more examples.

So a historic moment occured last month and about 2 million people all had there cameras pointed in at this event.  CNN has partnered with Photosynth and is asking for everyone who was there to send in their pictures of Obama's inauguration and they are gonna piece together a massive 3D Collage.  You can see it here. I don't think they have the response they were hoping for but it is a cool idea...and hopefully awarness can be raised and people can participate in something like this the next time there is another gathering like this....maybe next week or the week after that?  

Unfortunately for those of you on a higher plain of existence...this might not work on your Mac.  Find one of your stupid friends still using a PC and explain it to them really slowly and i'm sure they will let you take a look.  A quick reminder for those who haven't been on a PC in a will probably freeze CTRL + ALT + DELETE will fix it.  Call it a "cute quirk" so that you don't upset your PC friend.  Try it on your mac first.  The Microsoft driver says it will work on Intel based Macs but you know microsoft...not very reliable. 

The second item is also photographic in nature and it is also inaugural in nature.  It Is called Gigapan.  These guys use massive cameras and construct huge panoramas that you can zoom in on.  They are really high resolution.  The gigapan taken at the Inaguaration is made up of 1600 pictures and has around 1.5 GIGApixels.  Thats like 150x the resolution of my camera...or 1000x the resolution of my cell phone camera.

Click here and see if you can find Yo Yo Ma, Oprah and Dick Cheney who seriously looks like he was the really evil SS agent in Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Can you make out what the band is playing?  Can you see the boredom on Bill Clinton's face? Can you see the disappointment on Hilary's face? on Al Gore's face?  Can you see how far away MSNBC's booth is?  Can you imagine how many of these people will show up when Sarah Palin is sworn in in 8 years?

There are all sorts of other gigapans on the site... like London, Boston, San Francisco, Air Show, Burning Man, Full 360s of stores, Beaches, Airports, Mountains...all sorts.


  1. low-tech to your high-tech:

    i'd rather have a polaroid than a camera phone. discuss.

  2. what if. they used this photosynth to look at something in biology. say maybe. i don't know. PHOTOSYNTHESIS? every micrograph of a choloroplast linked together. so this protein is GFP tagged and can be seen here, this other protein YFP tagged can be seen here. so you could almost in cell visualize all the different parts of the photosynthetic machinery. i guess it has problems in that each cell is different and constantly changing, but it might be neat if you could create an average image or something. discuss.