Today Microsoft has released Photosynth, a really creative project, which turns digital photos into 3D environments. The project has started as a collaboration between Microsoft and the University of Washington.
The concept is that a user uploads similar photos of a place, the system analyzes them, and finally creates a 3D world. The 3D world or “panorama” can be navigated with the aid of browser plugins. The viewer is able to rotate the image synth in 360 degrees, zoom in/out, pan left to right etc.
So how does this work, in simple terms?
The system is analyzing photos to find distinct objects/features. Then it is trying to match these objects on other photos, and find overlapping areas. Moreover by analyzing the position of objects, the distance between them, and the angle that the photo was taken, it manages to create and place the objects on the 3D environment.
You can try it for free at: http://photosynth.com
Currently the supported platforms are only Windows XP and Vista.
Supported browsers are IE7, Firefox 2.0 and 3.0.
More info: Photosynth Home