I thought Photosynth would change the world...

Back in December of 2007 I wrote about (

An Emergent Output from Social Media

) a new Microsoft technology at the time called

Photosynth

, a tool that almost miraculously combines images of the same subject into a 'digital quilt'. Unlike multi-picture landscapes from other forms of technology that create a clumsy, artificially stretched final image, Photosynth creates a more natural experience, and when viewed within its own software, an emmersive experience that is more explored than viewed. The comparison is akin to a regular cinema versus a 3D iMax.

At the time I felt Photosynth was a technology that might change the world, provide a way for people to 'see' places in a way that had not been so far. In reality it is a combination of ideas - an engine that provides the photo stitching, and a tool called

SeaDragon

that delivers their large pixel overhead in a dripped fashion. Blaise Aguera y Arcas's, the founder of Sand Codex (the firm behind Sea Dragon) commented on my original blog post about how he saw potential for his baby in astronomy and microscopy, and I can certainly see how with the right imagination it could have real impact on commercial industries such as travel.

Today the codec sits within the Microsoft Silverlight tool, amongst others, but has not taken a life changing role, and I was wondering if it ever would until I started playing with the new

Photosynth app

on my iPhone. And whilst an app isnt going to change the world on its own, putting this astonishing power in everyone's pocket is certainly going to make photography more fun.

The image taken here is a combination of about 10 photos taken by me in the British Museum in London. The app is deliciously simple - you load, tap the screen and start moving around in all angles - the technology does the rest! Viewed here it clearly has an unusual look, but one can imagine how when the capturing and the viewing is combined with augmented reality hardware that things get really interesting (see "

Will Augmented Reality Finally Get The Attention It Deserves?

").