BBC and Microsoft Photosynth Britain

, posted: 6-Jun-2007 15:53

Microsoft Photosynth LogoMicrosoft's Photosynth is very cool tech, but I wasn't sure what it could be used for when I first wrote about it. BBC however figured it out: the UK state broadcaster will air a TV programme throughout July called How we built Britain. This will feature Microsoft Live Labs Photosynth, which will use thousands of images from tourists visiting Britain's historic buildings building a three-dimensional panorama that you can pan and zoom along in as you like.

You can upload pictures to Flickr if you want to join the effort.
Check out some of the first Photosynth composites from around UK here. There's Ely Cathedral, Burghley House, the Royal Crescent in Bath, and the Blackpool Ballroom. Not that interested in Trafalgar Square (seen it too many times), but the new Scottish Parliament Building is something else. I think I like it, but can definitely see why it's deemed controversial. Good to see that bland, grey architecture didn't win the day for the Scots though.
As the TV programmes are shown, more collections will be added.
There's now a Firefox plug-in for Photosynth (yeah!) but you will need a fast video card and broadband. That's understandable, given it's a heavy-duty graphics app. Photosynth is pretty smooth on average but new-ish hardware though.

One thing I'd like for the Live Labs Photosynth team to come up with is an embeddable player for web pages. Wonder if that's possible?
Another very nice use of Photosynth can be seen in this demo which also features Microsoft's recently acquired Seadragon zooming interface:
Very impressive, and not pie-in-the-sky-ware either.

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