Microsoft Photosynth creates 3D models from photographs

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Microsoft has created software that will generate 3D models from a collection of disparate photographs.

The Photosynth system is supposed to work with any collection of photographs, not just ones that have been accurately measured and shot. The software analyses each photograph, looking for similarities, and then works out the position of the camera in relation to the subject (a building, for example). From this, it can build up a 3D model of the object.

One of the developers at Microsoft, Dr Szellski, said that the system works best when several dozen images are used to build up the model. He said that it could be really exciting to see photo-sharing websites (like Flickr) using this technology to create a virtual model from the many photos shared by its members.

The app will likely be web-based, and available later this year. It’s currently due to be shown off at the Siggraph 2006 conference in Boston, which looks at the latest developments in computer-generated graphics.

I’m looking forward to seeing this in action.

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Andy Merrett