Mink Machine

Photosynth at SIGGRAPH

Today’s coolest session at SIGGRAPH in Boston features Photosynth, a sneak preview held by Microsoft Live Labs. Simple put, it’s about assembling a lot of digital photos and then applying algorithms to extract distinctive features and link these together in a big kind of 3D-model, by calculating 3D positions from adjacent images.

Of course the algorithm is secret, but I would guess they use something like SIFT (Scale Invariant Feature Transform) to detect image features regardless of orientation and then create a point cloud from camera rays sweeping the scene.

The technology looks awesome but I think it faces several technical issues. How many photos are needed to make it look good? My guess would be: a lot. Also, how will the algorithm work with photos from different batches? Their example photos are taken at the same time, but what if some are taken in daylight, some during the night and some with distortions such as tourists posing in front of the pictures? If this technology is made available on a site where everyone can upload their own images, I hope the photos are approved before insertion or else it will all collapse as people add silly stuff.

Nevertheless, it still is a very interesting idea with many applications. For instance, what will happen if all photos of the world are inserted in Photosynth and then linked with Google Earth? Mindboggling!

Have a look at the site for video presentations and technical details, or subscribe to their feed for future updates.

Related posts


  • avatar
    03 Aug, 2006

    what will happen if all photos of the world are inserted in Photosynth and then linked with Google Earth?
    End quote.
    Well, I’d say combine that with good cyber sex and some kick ass home delivery food and noone will never ever leave home again…

  • avatar
    03 Aug, 2006

    …unless there is a sudden power failure.

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Featured stories

New Years Eve in Sydney

"Opera House is seen in front of the massive fireworks in the harbor area, celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Harbour Bridge."

Conquering Machu Picchu

"A life-long dream came true this morning, as I stood upon the mountain looking down at Machu Picchu. I felt like some strange mix between Indiana Jones and a small boy, gazing down upon the final treasure of the Incas."

Road trip across the American Southwest

"We drove along Route 6, Route 66 and Route 666. If there was a Route 6666, we must have missed that turn."

Good morning Montenegro

"One would almost think that all this secrecy was made on purpose to keep the hordes of tourists away. Let them all perish in the crowds of Dubrovnik while the people of Montenegro can enjoy their beautiful country on their own. Or something like that."

The dark days of Sarajevo

"The city survived on the edge of annihilation and has started to recover, but the stone walls still seem to cry out in lament of all the horrible things they have seen."

Memories of Skye

"The countryside is charming and some places even have coffee."