Photosynth Reno Tahoe project

This Week



What are Photosynths, and what is the RSCVA doing with them?

Photosynth is really two remarkable technical achievements in one product: a viewer for downloading and navigating these complex visual spaces and a "synther" for creating them in the first place.  Together they make something that seems impossible quite possible: reconstructing the 3D world for sets of flat photographs.   But how did they come together in the first place?

  • In 2006 Microsoft acquired small, Seattle-area startup Seadragon, whose technology is capable of delivering a buttery smooth experience browsing massive quantities of visual information over the Internet.  It is all the detail you want, exactly when you want it, with predictable performance regardless of the amount of data—from megapixels to gigapixels.
  • The same year, from the groundbreaking research of Noah Snavely (UW), Steve Seitz (UW), and Richard Szeliski (Microsoft Research), a prototype called ‘photo tourism’ was born.   The idea was simple:  given a few dozen or few hundred photos of a place, is there enough information to reconstruct a 3D model of that place?  The advanced computer vision techniques pioneered in pursuit of this goal form the basis of the synther.

Together these incredible tools are the foundation that makes Photosynth work.  Seeing the promise in the product, the RSCVA has created a small startup group to work with Microsoft software and the Photosynth project. 

Watch this video on the Microsoft Photosynth, or scroll below to download the software and view projects that the RSCVA has been working with Microsoft on building for you.  No matter what you choose, come back regularly, as we will be adding more and new synths.

Download the Photosynth Software (required for viewing)
Requires Windows XP or Vista for viewing