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7/28/2006
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Microsoft To Offer 3-D Photos

Dubbed "Photosynth," the technology allows users to combine their photos with thousands of others collected on the Internet to present a detailed 3-D model of a subject, giving viewers the sensation of gliding around a scene from every angle.

MANHASSET, N.Y. — Microsoft researchers will detail a new 3D software technology designed to create an immersive 3D online photo sharing capability for consumers.

Technical details will be discussed in a paper to be presented at Siggraph 2006 in Boston next week (July 31-Aug. 4). The technology will be made available for download later this year.

Dubbed "Photosynth," the technology enables users to combine their photos with thousands of others collected on the Internet to present a detailed 3D model of a subject, giving viewers the sensation of gliding around a scene from every angle. Viewers can zoom in to see greater detail or zoom out for a more expansive view.

Photosynth is the first prototype to come out of Microsoft Live Labs, which was formed in January 2006 as a partnership between Microsoft Research and Microsoft's Online Services Group to rapidly launch emerging technologies.

Photosynth started as a collaborative research project called "Photo Tourism" between Microsoft Research and the University of Washington. This research combined both new and established techniques in computer vision, image-based modeling and rendering, image browsing, retrieval and annotation and keypoint detection and matching. Together they can present unstructured collections of photos in 3D perspective.

Overall, Microsoft Research is presenting 17 papers this year at Siggraph covering animation, image processing and manipulation, shape matching and symmetry, shape modeling and textures, appearance representation, shape deformation, and matting and beblurring and image collections.

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