“Your Britain in Pictures”: Microsoft Live Labs Photosynth Delivers a Unique 3-D Interactive Experience

Posted by bink on June 6 2007, 8:54 PM. Posted in Research.

In a unique time-limited technology trial, Microsoft Live Labs offers a 3-D interactive experience to complement the BBC’s “How We Built Britain” television series.

Using its Photosynth™ technology, Microsoft Live Labs is announcing today a collaboration with the British Broadcasting Corp. in a time-limited technical trial to launch unique three-dimensional photographic representations of historic sites throughout the United Kingdom. The online 3-D viewing experience will be available in conjunction with the BBC’s new series “How We Built Britain” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/britain) beginning now and running through mid-July. Viewers will be able to explore Photosynth representations of Ely Cathedral, Burghley House, the Royal Crescent, Bath, the Scottish Parliament buildings and Blackpool Tower Ballroom at http://labs.live.com/photosynth/bbc. The BBC will also have units on location at each of the historic sites to collect images from tourists visiting the sites. The synths will then be updated during the television series with a selection of these images.

Historical and user-submitted images will be integrated into the synths to contrast how people interacted with the locations in the past and present. By clicking and dragging their mouse, visitors to the site will be able to explore a building, zooming in to see the smallest decorative detail, or zooming out and panning through 360 degrees to place the building in a wider context.

“Photosynth is an extremely immersive experience where one can find oneself spending hours walking in the footsteps of the photographer and exploring minute details of the 3-D environment,” said Adam Sheppard, group product manager for Microsoft Live Labs. This opportunity with the BBC allowed us to test the limits of the Photosynth technology by integrating photographs from decades ago of the United Kingdom’s historic sites along with those of the general public today. We’re eager to see how people tell their stories with this new interactive medium.”