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Photosynth Demo

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the wow-just-wow dept.

Software 204

A couple of days ago Microsoft labs released a demo of their new Photosynth software on the web. Photosynth allows the aggregation of social picture networks (a la Flickr) into a completed image in addition to allowing a level of depth to image browsing previously unavailable. There is also a very impressive video of the demo available.

cancel ×

204 comments

I tried to WTFA (2, Funny)

froggero1 (848930) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416331)

but I couldn't... 30 seconds of ads at the beginning, then the phrase "through an aquisition".

typical microsoft "innovation"

Re:I tried to WTFA (1)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416399)

Enh, so it wasn't Microsoft that did the innovative work. It's still a damn impressive demo (although you know what they say about demos...); you're missing out. (Ad was annoying, though.)

Re:I tried to WTFA (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417699)

Video looks cool yes but it will never take off.

The video only looks cool because their demos are done because their source photos are carefully chosen.
They didnt send a n00b out to take the photos.

Re:I tried to WTFA (3, Informative)

xeromist (443780) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417783)

You must not have seen the whole thing. The cathedral was assembled from images available from the internet taken by hundreds of different people and cameras.

Re:I tried to WTFA (2, Interesting)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417867)

Which were then manually screened to weed out the crap ones.

Re:I tried to WTFA (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19416405)

Better Link to the video demo.
http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/129 [ted.com] Click Here

mod parent -1 wrong (1)

froggero1 (848930) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416443)

that's the same crap ad-infested garbage hype video as the one on youtube.

mod parent -1 moron (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19416523)

The link that the GP posted was to the same video, but it splits the presentation into three parts (Advertisement, Enter Seadragon, The Photosynth Experience) that you can easily skip between. The good part starts at about 30 seconds into the clip.

Re:mod parent -1 moron (2, Funny)

froggero1 (848930) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416547)

...watched the whole thing now... couldn't find the aformentioned "good part" anywhere.

Re:mod parent -1 moron (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19416691)

Congratulations. You aren't interested in this article or the technology it's about. Glad you let us know.

Go move on and troll somewhere else.

Re:mod parent -1 moron (1)

Basehart (633304) | more than 7 years ago | (#19418229)

When I were a lad we'd use good old fashioned scissors and sticky tape to make pictures that looked a lot better than this blurry computerized gibberish.

Re:mod parent -1 moron (1)

tukkayoot (528280) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416917)

Also, the video on the TED site can be enlarged and I believe is higher resolution.


TED [ted.com] is definitely a site worth visiting away, as this presentation is probably among the less interesting ones you can watch there. More people should check it out.

Re:I tried to WTFA (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19416601)

WTFA? You must be new here. I mean, nobody even reads articles, let alone writes them!

Re:I tried to WTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19416603)

There was an old metacreations package that let users do this manually. There's nothing new or innovative in the idea of doing it automatically, it was obvious 10-15 years ago - we just lacked the computing power to do it.

Re:I tried to WTFA (1)

xgr3gx (1068984) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416661)

Quote "then the phrase "through an aquisition"."
That is so funny, I was thinking the same thing.
Who did they buy out or sue to gain this technology. Those turds.

The Software is AWSOME! However the delivery... (4, Informative)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416677)

I decided wade through the hype/ads/blah, and came across a really cool piece of software. It takes thousands of flickr images stitches them into a 3-dimensional mosaic, all just through software. No special on-site 3d imaging hardware, just a program compiling everyday images of something. It does this through some very advanced image recognition. If you can brave the ads, it IS worth it.

Autostitch licensee? (2, Insightful)

14erCleaner (745600) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417563)

Sounds like an application of autostitch [cs.ubc.ca] . The downloadable demo version is pretty neat and fun to play with, if you have overlapping scenery photos, for example.

Re:Autostitch licensee? (2, Informative)

spoco2 (322835) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417769)

No, it's far more advanced than that, as its recognition is able to match objects that are not directly from the same set of photos, or even all photos, some can be diagrams or drawings for example.

The part that blew me away is the SeaDragon technology behind the image/information scaling portion of things... now that is just incredible... check out a talk/demo at TED on March of 2007 by Blaise Aguera y Arcas of Microsoft [videosift.com] , just amazing stuff.

Re:The Software is AWSOME! However the delivery... (2, Insightful)

ozbird (127571) | more than 7 years ago | (#19418153)

"Windows XP SP2 and Vista Only

The Photosynth technology preview runs only on Windows XP SP2 and Windows Vista.

If you feel you've reached this message in error, you can try anyway."

Wow, another innovative product from Microsoft.

Re:I tried to WTFA (1)

kahei (466208) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416845)


Yes, they funded this innovation by buying equity.

C'mon, learn how it works. It's the system you live in.

Re:I tried to WTFA (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19418349)

Actually I'd say the typical MS portion comes from the fact that this was originally intended to build 3D scenes from a common photoset. Since it can't do that very well (and various incanations of this are already been done for free on the web) it's instead been reconfigured into a social tool - taking advantage of the database it generated instead.

I'd be a bit more impressed if the performance of the photo panning software is maintained on consumer hardware. However, keep in mind that even this isn't new, as a very similar technique is being used to give the appearance of higher polygon counts in games for years. Procedural geometry counts etc.

Does anyone have an actual video of the demo? (-1, Flamebait)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416341)

'cause that link is an annoying ad.

I closed the window when it got to "this has never been shown to the public" or some such piece of hype.

Re:Does anyone have an actual video of the demo? (3, Insightful)

koreth (409849) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416465)

Then you closed the window about 10 seconds before the demo started. Keep watching.

Re:Does anyone have an actual video of the demo? (-1, Flamebait)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416581)

Then you closed the window about 10 seconds before the demo started. Keep watching.
Well, I figured there was content after the stupid intro, but seeing how much production value was in the intro, I can't trust the content, there's probably as much production value in it's presentation as there was in it's introduction.

Is there any real demo, not a slick marketing SFX presentation of what the product would be in a magical world where stuff works like they'd want us to think it works?

Re:Does anyone have an actual video of the demo? (2, Informative)

tukkayoot (528280) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417341)

Well, I figured there was content after the stupid intro, but seeing how much production value was in the intro, I can't trust the content, there's probably as much production value in it's presentation as there was in it's introduction.


The people responsible for creating the intro (TED) are just the people responsible for giving the presenter a forum to share their ideas/technologies, don't let it color your impression of the rest presentation or the technology itself too much. The same brief advertisement is used across all the videos hosted on the TED web site, for all speakers, some of whom include Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Richard Dawkins, Bono, Peter Gabriel, Jane Goodall, Ray Kurzweil, Sir Martin Rees, Michael Shermer and Craig Venter and in that context the intro isn't as over the top as it may at first seem, if you think TED is just all about showcasing new technological toys.

Re:Does anyone have an actual video of the demo? (5, Informative)

EERac (873862) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416573)

This system was demoed a while ago, I think at siggraph. There are some videos on the original university of washington PhotoTourism page. [washington.edu] . Also here's a repost of the video on youTube. [youtube.com]

Also there's microsoft's page [live.com] , which has the demo (I don't think that's new either). It seems to have some longer videos

Non-newness and marketing hype aside, this software is frickin' awesome. It lets you view and tag photos organized in a 3D environment that reflects where the photos were taken. It should be particularly useful once cameras have GPS built in.

I imagine the reason the software is still in the demo phase is because it's very difficult to take a large number of photos and reliably figure out where they were all taken from. For the demo purposes, Microsoft probably hand corrected a lot of the placements. Even so, everyone I've shown this too thinks its often (even non-slashdot readers!)

mod parent up (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416741)

This system was demoed a while ago, I think at siggraph. There are some videos on the original university of washington PhotoTourism page. [washington.edu] . Also here's a repost of the video on youTube. [youtube.com]
Thank you, that youTube link is exactly what I was looking for: A clear video demo of what this is, how it's used, with a nerd voiceover explaining what's going on.
No frills, no fuss, no slick intro telling me how I should feel about the damn thing, just info.

Re:mod parent up (0)

EERac (873862) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416861)

Thanks for the support. It's funny you should mention the voice over because I just showed it to my friend and he thought the voice over was great. Totally dead pan, no frills, just letting this totally awesome software speak for itself.

Did the cat push your button? (0, Offtopic)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417113)

Or did you repost this exact message 15 minutes later for fun?

  • 4:06PM [slashdot.org]
  • 4:22PM [slashdot.org] with one sentence added and one carriage return removed.

Curious how things go around here.

Re:Did the cat push your button? (0)

EERac (873862) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417265)

I'll have you know I also changed the word "often" to "awesome", but yeah, sorry about that.

Re:Did the cat push your button? (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#19418105)

I'll have you know I also changed the word "often" to "awesome", but yeah, sorry about that.

Ah, I missed the word change. No need to apologize to me.

Re:Did the cat push your button? (0, Troll)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417939)

This coming from a guy widely renowned for posting the same comment over and over to whore karma.

People in glass houses shouldn't take up Ultimate Frisbee.

Re:Does anyone have an actual video of the demo? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417139)

Also there's microsoft's page, which has the demo (I don't think that's new either). It seems to have some longer videos

The page also links to sample collections and a Photosynth Firefox plugin. [live.com]

Re:Does anyone have an actual video of the demo? (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417721)

I have to say, there is something funny about Microsoft providing a Firefox plugin. Very cool in the geek sense, but kinda weird.

Re:Does anyone have an actual video of the demo? (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417781)

I don't like it.
Kind of like fucking a dirty hooker.
I installed it, then had trouble uninstalling it (it might have been in Unistall but I couldn't see it so I deleted manually)

I don't like executables being linked into Firefox.
Once a plugin is there, its executable and available to any page wanting to use it.

Anything additional is a potential expliotable hole.

Re:Does anyone have an actual video of the demo? (-1)

Lilo-x (93462) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417727)

Hello there

I was listening to an interview with one of the visionaries of this technology and apparently GPS will not be used as it isn't as accurate as their algorithms.

Goatse Fist Sport (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19416355)

Goat See? [goatse.cz]

Huh? (2, Funny)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416367)

Photosynth allows the aggregation of social picture networks (a la Flickr) into a completed image in addition to allowing a level of depth to image browsing previously unavailable.


That appears to be syntactically tolerable English. Semantically, though, WTF?

Re:Huh? (3, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416409)

Let me translate.

Pretty pictures.

Re:Huh? (5, Informative)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416529)

Photosynth allows the aggregation of social picture networks (a la Flickr) into a completed image in addition to allowing a level of depth to image browsing previously unavailable.
That appears to be syntactically tolerable English. Semantically, though, WTF?

This lets you take all sorts of pictures of your room, and will automatically assemble them into a 3D environment. It will assemble your photos to look like an RPG, instead of a slideshow.

Using the example in the video...there are hundreds of online collections of people's photos of Notre Dame cathedral. Each photo is of a different part of it, from a slightly different angle.

This software takes all those different photos and assembles them into a 3D representation of Notre Dame cathedral, where you can look at any of the individual photos.

In addition, if someone identifies one of the saints in a statue on the cathedral, when you take a photo of it and your photo is added to the collection with the software, your photo will also have that saint identified--thereby enhancing the data contained in your photo.

- RG>

Re:Huh? (3, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416729)

I don't think this technology has that much to do with social picture networks in particular, I'm not sure using it to index images is all that compelling. What would be more useful is inputting some images from different angles (or a video) and getting back a .3ds texture-mapped geometric model. Reconstruction of gometry from imagery has been a big research topic for ages but I'm not aware of any effective, user-friendly software to do it.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19418041)

Call homeland security. Send them the compilation that this software made using all the pictures of the capital, joined a FPS RPG, the storming of the big house. Giving the current state of paranoia in the US over terrorist attack, and the love of movie plot security research, with any luck BillG will be in on the little island off Florida, enjoying the home grown torture, within the month. Although, if the movie plot is to reach the final conclusion, he will more likely to take his souped up yacht to his fortress of doom.

Re:Huh? (1)

ecklesweb (713901) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416541)

You know what's strange is that I thought the same thing before I watched the video demo, and now having watched it, the sentence makes decent sense.

WTFV.

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416811)

Yeah, it's pretty decently cool, too. Personally, I thought the magazine and the car ad with highly detailed information "printed" really small was as interesting a concept at anything-- it looked like it might provide a reading experience that would make sense for an online magazine, and the small print bends the concept of your printable space in an interesting way. So long as there are sufficient hints that the tiny text was there, it would allow you to put a lot of information into a small "space".

The rest of it definitely is neat, but if the recognition is done automatically, I wonder how accurate it will be. It should be good fun for some hacker to try to game this system and get goatse.cx into random places.

Re:Huh? (0, Offtopic)

Asgerix (1035824) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416759)

Posting to void accidental wrong moderation.

With the new moderation system, it's (in my opinion) far too easy to accidentally choose the wrong moderation, and there's no way to undo it, except by posting.

Interesting (0, Troll)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416385)

By my calculations it'll be a month before there's an open-source alternative of better quality, but then in 6 years we'll have the DRM version which takes 1GB of RAM.

Why don't Microsoft just try and focus on Windows, which is steadily losing popularity, instead of trying to make random programs 99% of people will never bother to even consider.

They have a perfectly good monopoly and they appear to just be waiting for someone to take it over, until they can buy Linux they should really get to work

Re:Interesting (2, Insightful)

abigor (540274) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416625)

In the interests of openness, would you mind publishing these calculations of yours? I'm sure we'd like to see your quantification of the open-source development process, particularly for software as complex as this evidently is. Thanks.

Re:Interesting (1)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416753)

It was (and I thought it was obvious that it was) a joke, I am aware that there won't be an alternative for a long time.

However I was making the point that Microsoft shouldn't try and be competitive on all fronts, as they simply aren't that good.

At least if they make a good operating system the users who will never switch to Linux will still have access to a good operating system.

Most people I know wouldn't consider switching to Linux (I do know a guy who downloaded a liveCD, but overall he didn't feel he could easily make the switch) but most people I know have no problem using open-source programs such as Firefox, Thunderbird and GIMP for everyday stuff...

It would appear that Microsoft could make a great operating system without having to develop IE and a bunch of other needless tools, and not only would they have a better OS and therefore be more loved, they'd save money developing IE and stuff.

Re:Interesting (5, Funny)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417289)

In the interests of openness, would you mind publishing these calculations of yours? I'm sure we'd like to see your quantification of the open-source development process, particularly for software as complex as this evidently is.

  • Day 0: Someone registers a project on Sourceforge, commits main.c to CVS.
  • Day 3: It's noted on Digg, Reddit
  • Day 30: Slashdot links to project, hails it as "the Photosynth killer", misspells project leader's name. Commenters gloat about M$'s lack of innovation, speculate on the throwing of chairs in Redmond, argue about atheism and gun control.
  • Day 33: Slashdot dupes story, misspells "Photosynth", "killer" and "the".

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19417067)

Why don't Microsoft just try and focus on Windows, which is steadily losing popularity, instead of trying to make random programs 99% of people will never bother to even consider.

Diversification? Xerox realized they couldn't rely on photocopiers forever and created PARC. (Unfortunately for them it took others to truly deliver PARC's work to the public at large.)

Windows and Office brings in buttloads of cash, but it can't hurt to do develop ideas in other areas, especially when they have the cash to throw at it (or small upstarts.) Some elements of that work might even work their way back into MS' flagship products as new features, (or if you prefer, bloat.)

press release (1, Flamebait)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416387)

Can we get an editor who doesn't post/write press releases too? We're geeks, we know about blogs, you can't bullshit us with your PR so quit trying.

It's insulting when an article like this appears and SCREAMS "We were paid for it".

Either write like a human being or stop trying to impress us, because you can't do both.

Re:press release (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416511)

Oh that explains it. I was wondering why I watched 10 seconds of a person looking at a large amount of pictures, like it solved something important.

Re:press release (3, Insightful)

koreth (409849) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416617)

I don't get the point of that part either, but keep watching. A couple minutes into it he moves on to the real meat of the demo, and it's pretty astonishing. I won't spoil it except to say that if I'd seen it in a sci-fi movie I'd probably have dismissed it as very cool-looking but totally unrealistic.

Waste of time, bandwith (0, Redundant)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417509)

but keep watching. A couple minutes into it he moves on to the real meat
Some people found videos that show you the good stuff right away.

Re:press release (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19416565)

We're geeks, we know about blogs, you can't bullshit us with your PR so quit trying.

Since most of the commenters seem unable to watch through the admiitedly obnoxious 30 second intro from the conference organizers (which has nothing to do with Microsoft or the product) to get to the astonishing content, I'm not sure you're correct. More like "We're geeks, we fly into insane rages over any perceived grievance but we can't really use computers so good."

"More like ... BOREophyll!" (0, Troll)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416403)

That is such a perfect name. I can't believe no one has thought of it before.

Now that's a real summary! (4, Funny)

L. VeGas (580015) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416491)

Photosynth allows the aggregation of social picture networks (a la Flickr) into a completed image in addition to allowing a level of depth to image browsing previously unavailable.
Slashdot summary entices the accumulated aggravation of social comment communities (a la Digg) into a aggregated juxtaposition while interspersing levels of irritation heretofore unimaginable

Re:Now that's a real summary! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19418357)

Mod up parent. For the love of God... mod it up!

Better Video Demo Link (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19416537)

Here is a better link to the video demo. Pretty Amazing stuff
http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/129 [ted.com]

Re:Better Video Demo Link (0, Redundant)

Eggz Factor (455382) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416639)

That was fcuking amazing!

microsoft or not (1)

boolithium (1030728) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416561)

I could only watch the video, cause apparently linux pictures aren't part of the collective consciousness. Still that's pretty fucking cool.

Re:microsoft or not (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417165)

> I could only watch the video,

There's a video? I clicked on the link and it said:

> Photosynth is now installing

No it's fucking not! Back Back Back!

Wake me up when I can check it out without having to install anything.

Re:microsoft or not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19418027)

It's just a Firefox extension. Easily installed and uninstalled.

Your loss really since the software itself is pretty fucking amazing.

thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19416571)

photosynth is already occupied by nature in hardware and in software, so i dont need anything m$ like with that name right now

clear case of prior art

Some impressive things (5, Interesting)

kiwicmc (93934) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416619)

Unlike the first set of posters I managed to get over my self importance and watched a couple of seconds of BMW ads to see the actual video.

I liked the initial viewing of large quantity of hi-res images and the smooth zoom. The aggregation of many thousand flickr images of the Notre Dame (including one of a poster on a wall) into a 3-D image was fantastic.

C

Re:Some impressive things (2, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417299)

> The aggregation of many thousand flickr images of the Notre Dame (including one of a poster on a wall) into a 3-D image was
> fantastic.

Yeah, that's got to be running on a bog-standard Vista install, hasn't it. I agree with the guy - I can't think of a better way to read a newspaper than to pan around and zoom in on a huge monitor in my front room. And I can't wait to see what happens to this system when it's attacked by spammers creating fictional spaces. Whats to stop people from adding the world from, say, Duke Nukem into the London Underground system?

what ads? (1)

crabpeople (720852) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417397)

youtube videos don't have ads, but your not the first one to mention this in this thread. Weird. Were you on the other site? Why would microsoft have ads in their own techdemo?

Re:what ads? (1)

antic (29198) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417809)

The video is of a presentation at TED:

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/129 [ted.com]

I submitted this exact story about PhotoSynth and SeaDragon to Slashdot a few days ago and it was rejected. Boooo!

Th-The-Ther-There are a series of.. (0)

retardedtimmah (665966) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416633)

It's hard to watch this guy stuttering through the presentation. The audience OHHH-WOWing at the 300 MEGAPIXEL image was amusing at least.

One step forward! (4, Interesting)

Sectrish (949413) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416665)

At least now someone at Microsoft seems to know _what_ to buy, this is some pretty amazing technology. I just hope that someday it will be available to other OS'es too.

Re:One step forward! (4, Interesting)

evohe80 (737760) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417471)

One thing that amazes me of Microsoft is how, having so many bright people at MS reasearch, most of their stuff is so bad, and/or lacks innovation. (I know part of this came from some other company they bought, but some of it is original from MS, I've read a paper related to this technology).

Every single paper I've seen from MS research is great. Well done!

(from someone developing computer vision on linux)

Re:One step forward! (1)

Rufus211 (221883) | more than 7 years ago | (#19418237)

It's kind of amusing how the original research demo [washington.edu] is in Java, so it runs on anything. The microsoft demo [live.com] of course is Windows XP/Vista only. At least they ported the plugin from ActiveX to work in Firefox.

The Humane Environment (5, Interesting)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416697)

This zoom-ability of the first part has a lot in common with the ideas behind Jef Raskin's The Humane Environment http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archy/ [wikipedia.org] .

The second part, however, shows marvellous stuff. Especially if what I think he did, was search for patterns in images, and compare those for unique objects to collect a library of images of a single object.

This guy and supposedly his group shouldn't work for Microsoft in my opinion, but would perhaps feel more at home in a fundamental science laboratory. But I think my opinion on this is slightly partial.

B.

Re:The Humane Environment (2, Informative)

BrewedInTexas (971325) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416885)

The project was demonstrated on the Research Channel at the beginning of the year.

Microsoft bought out a company that had written the non 3D part of Photosynth and student(s) at the University of Washington wrote the rest if I remember correctly. At the time they didn't work for Microsoft.

Savor it. (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416995)

This guy and ... his group shouldn't work for Microsoft

Someone else pointed out that the actual work was done outside of M$, but I agree that it's a shame they were bought up. Expect this to be crushed instead of landing on your desk.

Re:The Humane Environment (1)

chrismcb (983081) | more than 7 years ago | (#19418269)

Why should he and his "supposed" group NOT work for Microsoft? Why would he feel more at home at a fundamental science laboratory?

Old News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19416715)

A few days ago? Try a few months ago. Microsoft was demoing this at O'Reilly's Web2.0 Summit in SanFran last November. Very cool, not very new.

Not just released, but still awesome (0, Redundant)

EERac (873862) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416791)

This system was demoed a while ago, I think at siggraph 2006. There are some videos on the original university of washington "PhotoTourism" research page [washington.edu] . Also here's a repost of the same video on that page on youTube. [washington.edu]

Also there's microsoft's photosynth page [live.com] , which has the demo (it's been up for months). It seems to have some longer videos.

Non-newness and marketing hype aside, this software is frickin' awesome. It lets you view and tag photos organized in a 3D environment that reflects where the photos were taken. It should be particularly useful once cameras have GPS built in. It could be used by a single person, but it's definitely well suited to large collections such as flickr. I imagine the reason the software is still in the demo phase is because it's very difficult to take a large number of photos and reliably figure out where they were all taken from. For the demo purposes, Microsoft probably hand corrected a lot of the placements. Even so, everyone I've shown this to thinks its awesome (even non-slashdot readers!).

Picking your nose in front of a strip club (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19416829)

Didn't rtfa, but I recall seeing some video of this a while back. Imagine in an ideal world, with all the photographs everyone had taken taken at every concievable angle of just about every place on the planet, this could, if not put Google Maps' street view to shame, gain a following ready to pooh-pooh on Google's offering. Overlay on Google Earth and SketchUp (or whatever MS' competing product,) for extra awesomeness.

Granted not everyone's photos were taken at the same time, but you could group them together by time period to create a reasonable reconstruction. On top of that, since you have now have a time element you could in addition to doing a fly/walk through of a location, turn the clock back. For example (at the risk of sensitive pick,) explore around the World Trade Center property before & during construction, and before & after 9/11.

Wow, a new idea, if JWZ hadn't done it years ago (-1, Offtopic)

br0d (765028) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416853)

Sounds like webcollage, with tags. http://www.jwz.org/webcollage/ [jwz.org]

QOTD (1)

Asgerix (1035824) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416883)

The QOTD seems very appropriate for this article: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.

Googles Answer (1)

sundru (709023) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416991)

You can stitch pictures of your home but we can see thru your window ! (streetview) But seriously though kewl piece of technology. Sundru

It's here! Web 2.0 is HERE!!! (4, Insightful)

tygerstripes (832644) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417003)

I can honestly say, without hyperbole, that this is the first time all those promises of what the web can really do - interconnectivity, automatic synaptic contextual linking, user generated content, and god-damned cleverness - have finally come together into something which is un-fucking-believable!!

All those next-stage, new-wave, super-hyped ideas that generated enough excitement to get a survivable user-base just kind of passed me by, because they only ever seemed to be minor amplifications of what we already had. But this... this is something totally new. And utterly, utterly incredible!

I'm so excited by this it's making me feel sick! TECHNOLOGY! INTERWEB! I take it all back - forgive me for my lack of faith! I LOVE YOU!

And by the way, that "content only limited by how many pixels are on the screen" idea has been a long time coming, and I'm deeply happy that someone's solved it. I could never understand why we use raster-imaging for computer games because it's a squillion times quicker than ray-tracing, but nobody had applied the same idea to other applications. Now I feel justified in wondering, and I'm so pleased with the result!

Amazing Software, Lackluster Comments (5, Insightful)

Ided (978291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417101)

This software is absolutely amazing, especially when you consider the programmatic side of this. People bashing this without actually watching the video AND playing with the operating demo are really missing out. You don't have to like it but at least have a reason that shows some form of intelligence. Not just "the intro was poorly done".

Re:Amazing Software, Lackluster Comments (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417439)

This software is absolutely amazing, especially when you consider the programmatic side of this.
People bashing this without actually watching the video AND playing with the operating demo are really missing out. You don't have to like it but at least have a reason that shows some form of intelligence. Not just "the intro was poorly done".
"But look, you found the notice didn't you?"

"Yes," said Arthur, "yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying Beware of the Leopard."

Yes, but.. (1)

CRX588 (1002741) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417217)

Does it run on Linux, well, lets see...

/me clicks on "Try the tech preview".

The Photosynth technology preview runs only on Windows XP SP2 and Windows Vista.
Thats too bad.

Re:Yes, but.. (1)

corvax (941506) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417583)

This technology is great but i wont use anythig that does not run on linux. Also whats the point of something like this if it isnt completely opensource?

You are a fucking loser. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19417723)

Also whats the point of something like this if it isnt completely opensource?
Go outside, dipshit.

Re:Yes, but.. (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417657)

Don't worry, that will change to Vista ONLY when released.

Reason?

Ummm, MS needed to add some "Features" that requires DirectX 10. Or, they could just be honest and say... "we need to push more Vista sales. This program will act as the conduit to achieve that goal."

Re:Yes, but.. (1)

sxtxixtxcxh (757736) | more than 7 years ago | (#19418021)

i'm pretty sure this started on linux, at the very least. check the long video linked on the photo tourism page: http://phototour.cs.washington.edu/ [washington.edu]

Covered on /. a year ago... (3, Informative)

Lord Satri (609291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417317)

Right here [slashdot.org] .

Interesting -- but viable? (0, Troll)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417329)

Will this turn into a viable service (web service or not) anytime soon?

I read this has enormous space requirements *and* computations associated with it.

Sure, it's amazing once all image data has been calculated and matched against each other, but I have a hard time seeing this being available for end users soon, unless they just happen to be sitting on a tasty... Beowulf cluster? :-)

Not new. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19417379)

To be perfectly clear here, this technology is not new. Here's a group [cmu.edu] from Carnegie Mellon university doing something similar [youtube.com] a year ago. There are many companies that have algorithms that can generate three dimensional data from 2 dimensional pictures. What Microsoft has done here is take the existing concept, put a proprietary 3D interface around it and tie it all into photographs obtained from the internet. A nice evolution of the state of the art, but hardly revolutionary.

Just looking at that (2, Interesting)

goldcd (587052) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417413)

rather fabulous demo, I realize that that would tie in beautifully with the surface computing MS showed last week (which was lovely as a tech demo with little immediate use).
Vista is 'nice' but it's just a progression of what we already know - these tech demos give me a big warm fuzzy futuristic feeling inside :)
If nothing else it shows that MS is innovating again (at last) - Ball's back with Apple and Google now - "Make me more impressed!"

Why this will never be available ... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19417535)

No, the demo is not rigged (and it's about 11 months old).

The whole thing is based on SIFT keypoints http://www.cs.ubc.ca/~lowe/keypoints/ [cs.ubc.ca] . These are very powerful and work indeed as shown in the video/demo. Check autopano-sift http://user.cs.tu-berlin.de/~nowozin/autopano-sift / [tu-berlin.de] for a real application using them.

There is only a little problem, M$ cannot use SIFT commercially. The licence says "for research purposes only" and the US Patent 6,711,293, Asignee: The University of British Columbia protects SIFT.

Data aggregation (3, Interesting)

jemenake (595948) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417539)

Near the end of his presentation, the guy sums up the technology as taking all of these separate images from various sources on the net and figuring out how they all interlink to present a larger, more coherent picture. He got applause.

My first thought was about the U.S. government's "total information awareness" project, where they're trying to take lots of separate pieces of info (which are already available to law enforcement) and interlinking them all together to provide a more coherent picture... but most people consider that to be evil.

Granted, the government isn't doing it with vacation photos, but the idea, of finding pieces of data that are related and finding out *how* they're related, is the same. The difference in people's reaction to it, I can only attribute to the fact that people see the photosynth guy as good, and the government as evil. But I don't agree that the goodness or evilness of an action is solely determined by the goodness or evilness of who's doing it. The U.S. gov't tries this and fails. It expects that it can invade foreign countries and install friendly governments and torture people because it's "the good guys", yet the soviet union did those same things during the cold war and we admonished them for it because they were "the bad guys".

So, where am I going with this rant? My point is this: You can't blame somebody for connecting the dots. In fact, that seems to be one of the things that we, as humans, are particularly good at. So, if you think that this photosynth thing is fine, then I think you've got to grant that the TIA project is fine. Now, you could argue that some particular bits of information shouldn't be available, but the piecing it together to form a more coherent picture... I can't come up with an argument against it that I consider defensible. Sure, it makes me uncomfortable, but that's not an "argument".

Re:Data aggregation (1)

funkcommander (1112461) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417777)

I was wondering if I was the only one that immediately thought of this angle. I'm shocked at the lack of discussion about the privacy and human rights implications of this. I just about fell out of my chair watching that video. My concern is that once you combine all that data with facial recognition software, we've got a cat out of the bag. Combine that with the proliferation of public-facing security cameras, flickr, the general mass of photographic data on the web and enough processing power and you've got candy every government wants. I'm sure that countries like North Korea and China could find one. Insert Orwell reference here. I'm not sure I'd completely agree with your point about the TIA and Photosynth being the same thing. Giving up my privacy to the public or the government makes me nervous, but if I had to pick my poison I'd take the public variety. If it's public at least there's some kind of passive or active sign-off. At least we garner some benefit from it. Maybe it's exactly the same but one smells nicer. But don't listen to me. I'm feeling a little defeatist about privacy these days, like maybe the battle's already over. When it comes to our right to privacy in this country, it always boils down to what is "a reasonable expectation of privacy". that concept only tangentially relates, but still, we're collectively guilty of lowering the bar on that one. We've been trading it for things like blogs, myspace and flickr for years with very little resistance. A modern Louisiana Purchase, if you ask me.

Stephen Hawking (1)

NikG43 (247278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417623)

I was looking at the demo, and one of the pictures has Stephen Hawking in it.

Re:Stephen Hawking (1)

NikG43 (247278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417717)

screenshot [nyud.net]

Vast Desktop... (4, Interesting)

Slur (61510) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417711)

Actually, as I looked at the demo, I couldn't help feeling like all that virtual space was looking like a damn nice desktop environment. Nevermind the part of the demo with a flat-on scrolly-zoomy desktop, as nice as that would be (Seems obvious in a way too... And wouldn't it be nice if Leopard had that instead of "Spaces" ?). But imagine the notion of opening up an application and instead of just popping up a new window it creates a new space - within the desktop virtual space - and brings you into it. You can always pull back and move around to another window or workspace, but while in it you'd be totally immersed.

I dunno, I just like the notion of immersive environments, especially for conceptual learning. I think we're going to see a prevalence of this kind of interface in the near future.
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