Mirosoft Releases ‘PhotoSynth’ 3D Tool

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Microsoft on Thursday released a technology preview of an application it previewed in July, which is capable of taking hundreds of photographs and building a three-dimensional model in which users can “fly” through like a virtual world.

The program, called PhotoSynth, was first announced at SIGGRAPH 2006. Microsoft describes it as “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.”

For now, Microsoft is providing the collections of photographs, as a user processing his or her own photos could take hours, or even days. The application also has pretty hefty hardware requirements and will only run on Windows XP SP2 or Windows Vista systems with a capable graphics card.

Photosynth was born out of Microsoft’s Live Labs, a group of scientists and engineers that are studying new ways to use the Internet. The group was founded in February 2006 by Dr. Gary Flake, who joined MSN as a distinguished engineer in April of last year.

“Microsoft Live Labs is very much focused on pushing the state of the art of the internet forward and showing what’s possible today. We like to do things quickly and in a very collaborative way,” the group says. “Over time you’ll start to see more and more of our technologies work their way into great products across Microsoft, but in the meantime we want to get your feedback on what we’re doing right, and areas where we can improve.”

PhotoSynth can be downloaded from the Live Labs Web site.

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