Topic: Anyone have any novel/new uses for photosynth?

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Mister_Blondie (Over 1 year ago)
Thought I'd start this thread and see what other people can think of to use photosynth for.

Anyone out there got any ideas?

As my manager would say "It is what it is"; but whatever something is there are always as many uses as users, mostly not whatever the original purpose was.

My first thought was a photo album.  Imagine if you live in the same house for many years, over the years you would collect photos of your family, say in the garden at a barbeque, photosynth would allow you to stitch in new photos over the years which it would position using the walls and features allowing you to browse a family album in 3D.

A good 'n easy gift for a loved one at Christmas ;)
tbenedict (Over 1 year ago)
I'm trying an experiment at work: using Photosynth to try to see every angle of a thing at a moment in time.  That way later when someone says, "Hey, did we...?" we can look at it and find the answer.

I should've prefaced this by saying we run a lot of our hardware remotely.  This one, in particular, is normally housed inside a thermal enclosure, inside a thermally stabilized room, in the dark, in a facility that's a couple of hours from our headquarters.  Getting eyes-on is not trivial:

So far the only comment from a co-worker:

"Huh!  Geek..."

Time will tell.

swami_worldtraveler (Over 1 year ago)
I think I have one:)...

"Hiroshima A-Bomb Dome! (guided tour, and scavenger hunt!)"

It includes:
- a "WELCOME" image w/ text, and a closing image
- an extensive, thoroughly commented highlight-linked tour
- a scavenger hunt of sorts w/ "hidden" surprises
- a user QUICK HELP in the Description
- fotos from less than 1m to 1/2 km
- a 13k pixel wide panorama w/ historic foto composite attached
- & an associated blog w/ an amazing story!

Plus, it's almost 600 photos, and it is 100% synthy!:)

Hopefully, you will find it entertaining, amusing, educational, surprising at times, and most hopefully, inspiring! For me it was an amazing experience, and I hope I have been able to share at least a small sense of that with anybody who comes to visit my synth (and blog).

Thank you, and HAPPY SYNTHING!:)...


botocudo (Over 1 year ago)
I think bing/travel and bing/reference could profit from adding photosynth results to their queries!
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
@Swami Worldtraveler, that is an fantastic amount of planning that you put into your synth. Great job!

@Mister Blondie, funny... your 'photo album' case is the first way that I ever thought about Photosynth. I grew up on a small international boarding school campus where everyone knew everyone else and you did everything together... school, sports, bmx and motocross, hiking, dorm life, church... you name it. I've been kicking around an idea for an alumni website for years where people could share their photos and videos (as you can imagine quite a few were taken) to document the history of the place since most of the people have since returned to their home countries. 

As a place where people come and go often, it is common for the avg. person to have lived multiple places on the campus throughout their time there and a Photosynth style way to browse all those photos to see what a house was like as different friends lived in it through the years blows me away. ...
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
... As it turns out, this is much more difficult to achieve than I first imagined. Scanned photos, whether from film or prints carry a lot of texture data in them that is difficult to post-process out well and tends to trip up the computer vision. Add to this that many of the buildings have fairly featureless walls (both inside and out) and that the furniture and furnishings are always in a state of flux as people change their home and as the home changes occupants, as you can well imagine.

I love the photos being positioned in 3D and also being streamed with Seadragon. Being able to automatically have them arranged is certainly quite nice when it works, but I desperately wish that there were a way to manually align images when the computer vision fails or to specify more keypoints that they have in common when the automatic registration has formed a very weak connection between images.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
... There is also the issue of wanting to be able to browse the entire campus after all the little synths have been arranged properly with geo-alignment.

This also brings up the desire for per-photo privacy settings. While you technically want every photos available to be used for scene reconstruction, it is highly unlikely that you want every last person who was ever at the boarding school to be able to view all of your photos. 

I suppose what I have finally come around to is that while the photo album scenario *should* work, in practice it is far more difficult than one would first imagine.

Since then, I have begun mainly building synths purely for the pointclouds. Presumably in a future version of Photosynth, new synths will ask, at the beginning, where the photos about to be synthed were taken and will use the geometry from existing synths to more quickly or accurately solve the new synth, placing the new photos within the 'known' world.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
As to different uses, it is difficult to tell what you consider the default uses to be.

The original research project was appropriately called "Photo Tourism" and tourism is certainly an excellent application of this sort of browsing.

In practically every case you will be describing a space with a synth, so the question is only, "What will you do with this tour?".

Common ideas include:
>> Crowd Sourced Mapping (Think of it as Wikipedia for maps - if your house isn't on the map, you can put it there!)
>> Real Estate selling
>> Ebay item description
>> Virtual Storefront (just take photos around your shop and make a list of the items and their prices to create your store's website).
>> Archival (Archaeology, Botany, Biology, Geography, etc.) (like Botocudo is interested in)
>> Games + Education (such as Swami Worldtraveler posted above)
>> Personal (Hi)stories (Think our photo album idea - or share your afternoon walk with friends + family overseas or out of state)
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
>> Art Galleries and Museums (Here's an extension of the 'tourism' concept. Show people around your town before they come.

Our only real limitation is our imaginations. 

We have the ability to describe and share, in detail, any object that we can get our camera to focus on with anyone in the world. Do you have access to something rare and beautiful? Now you can enable anyone to get a good close look at it. (Maybe you should invest in security before geotagging it =] ) 

The archival idea is extremely wide and fairly deep. Apply it to local trees, leaves, flowers, fruit, architecture, musical instruments, weapons, ruins, food preparation, fire prevention, etc., etc.

It's the little things that you take for granted that you discover are completely different when you travel to another country or continent. We have the power to take anything we want about how we do things and broadcast it across country borders to deepen each other's understanding + broaden thinking.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
*As a note, when I mentioned post-processing texture out above, what I meant was paper or film texture, which does Photosynth no good. Obviously the texture of the things in the original photos is the thing that Photosynth needs to succeed. This is simply part of the struggle of image restoration though.
botocudo (Over 1 year ago)
I think Windows7 touch could bring a entire new perspective for the UEx of photosynth! Large screens with multitouch technology could creat a feeling of 'tele-presence' and interaction with remote, virtual space.

One must remember that Win7 and Xbox will bring computer to the living room, more space, more 'social', more open space for computing!
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
@botocudo: I certainly look forward to full fledged touch controls, but I wouldn't mind seeing traditional joypad support either. For some people this is as comfortable as anything else; some things are just easier with a joypad than with touch which is why you don't see certain types of games ported to the iPhone.

The really interesting part happens when you get Project Natal controls for Photosynth. =] I really have no favorites; I'd love to see all three.

Anyway... even though this talk of other control schemes is interesting it is really a bit of a distraction from what we were saying. We're meant to be talking about imaginative uses for synthing here. There are other conversations about control schemes in New Feature Suggestions/Requests.

Tom, I liked your archival idea. I've had a similar application to pitch to the local Parks and Recreation department.
botocudo (Over 1 year ago)
YES! Project Natal + photosynth = pure awesomeness!

I would love to see that!

That would give the 'immersive' experience for synths!
deivand (Over 1 year ago)
I have been using it for 3-dimensional viewshed analysis.  Allowing the point cloud to define the environment the a] can see a certain spot in space and b] can be seen from a certain spot in space.  The idea is to better know how something [architecture, sculpture and activity] can be seen and as such interpreted and experienced.
swami_worldtraveler (Over 1 year ago)
Sounds like good topic for a blog submission:)
NateLawrence (Over 1 year ago)
On the whole Photosynth and Project Natal/Kinect front, I thought that you guys might be interested in seeing a homemade version of this. Unfortunately they're only navigating the point clouds, rather than the full synths, but it's better than nothing, right?
greendude (Over 1 year ago)
im thinking if you are trying to show off a school photosynth the school then put it on the school webpage. that way parents can explore the school... 
thats a bad idea isnt it?
michaeldenis (Over 1 year ago)
It's not a bad idea, greendude; it's a great idea!  My associates and have been dying to do exactly what you're describing.  In fact, I just started on a project for the University of New Hampshire that will eventually be what you're describing.

iNveridux would be very happy to create just such large-scale projects for schools out there.  Contact with specific project proposals   (: