Do You Want To Know What IT Is?

Morpheus asking Neo that ominous question was what I heard echoing in my head after learning about a completely different kind of photo software called Photosynth. According to the press release, "Photosynth takes a large collection of photos of a place or an object, analyzes them for similarities, and displays the photos in a reconstructed three-dimensional space, showing you how each one relates to the next. In these collections, you can access gigabytes of photos in seconds, view a scene from nearly any angle, find similar photos with a single click, and zoom in to make the smallest detail as big as your monitor."

Looking at this remarkable technology reminded me of a science magazine article I read in the early 90's that predicted virtual reality technology would be commonly used by the mid 2000s. Well I'm no prognosticator, but it's almost 2007 and I'm still typing this blog entry on a physical keyboard when I'd rather be composing on the virtual terminal that Keanu Reeves used in Johnny Mnemonic or the one that Tom Cruise used in Minority Reporty.
What the heck happened? The closest I get to virtual reality these days is browsing past the want ads for virtual tour real estate photographers. Umm...thanks, but no thanks!

I'm not a video game player, but I appreciate the technological advances that the industry pushes forward. But I guess there isn't yet a large enough number of people willing to fork out the dough for a computer that can handle the processing needs of virtual reality technology (though I think the new Wii game system is a step in that direction). Fortunately, we won't have to wait long to enjoy Photosynth, an imaging program that will allow us to visually explore our photos in a way that goes slightly beyond the two dimensional constraints of our existing technolgy. What really bakes my noodle is that the photos of hundreds of people can be combined into a virtual construct. I won't try to explain it beyond that. Morpheus said it best- "No one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself."

You can learn more about Photosynth (and start creating some!) here. In the meantime, I'm going to work out my strategy for creating three dimensional portraits!

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