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Microsoft’s Photosynth: “Immersive”

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Microsoft has unveiled an impressive new technology, which the company described as a “unique, immersive online photo-sharing experience.” A press release also bragged about how it “renders images with stunning realism and detail.” I tried it, and can’t argue with either assertion.

Richard Szeliski, the manager of the Interactive Visual Media Group within Microsoft Research, described the prototype, which is called Photosynth. “It’s like a hybrid of a slide show and a gaming experience that lets the viewer zoom in to see greater detail or zoom out for a more expansive view,” he said. “This is a revolutionary way for people to interact with photos in a 3-D context that more closely resembles the place where the images were captured.”

The press release reported that a preview of Photosynth can be found here. Photosynth itself “will be available for download later this year,” according to Microsoft, and it may only be a indicator of more interesting products in the works. “Photosynth is the first of many upcoming examples of Live Labs’ ability to take basic research from Microsoft Research and the academic community and rapidly create prototypes of new online services,” according to Dr. Gary William Flake, “noted industry technologist and Microsoft technical fellow.”

Despite the availability of the press release, the “research paper detailing the technology” will not be presented until “Aug. 2 at SIGGRAPH 2006, the 33rd annual international conference and exhibition on computer graphics and interactive techniques.”

Microsoft also hinted at a possible new Photoshop competitor, as it mentioned “a technology system for drag-and-drop pasting of an object or region from one source image . . . onto another image in such a way that they blend seamlessly.” The company went on to call it a “user-friendly image-composition tool.”

Microsoft seems to be doing some very impressive things with imagery.

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Doug is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest eBusiness news.

Microsoft’s Photosynth: “Immersive”
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