Amazing Way to Experience an Important Event: Microsoft’s PhotoSynth

Technology Makes A Few Pictures Worth More Than A Thousand Words

I found an truly amazing technology web site run by Microsoft called  It takes a series of uploaded photographs and stitches and merges them together in such a way that you can bring together a huge number of images to create an entire story out of them.  You can zoom in very closely to the faces of people.  You can scan around a background or a crowd because the images are stitched together.  With very little practice, you can literally see an event or an object in full 360 view; panning, re-centering, and zooming in on any detail you wish.  In their insect collection, you can zoom into the eye of a grasshopper. It is like nothing I’ve ever seen in photography; a real and amazing breakthrough in storytelling online.

Since a (hundred) picture(s) is worth a thousand words, just visit the collection on President Obama’s swearing-in ceremony and play with your mouse here:

You’ll get the idea in short order.

Someone uploaded hundreds of photographs that are all stitched together and which can be navigated in through this interface.  In the collection on Obama’s swearing in, by clicking and moving my mouse around the initial image I was able to observe several celebrities in the audience up close and personal. I was able to see who they sat near, their expressions, and so much more. I could even see Senator John Kerry’s look of envy as he watched the President being sworn in.

It was interesting to see the exchange of a humorous moment between Dianne Feinstein and Chief Judge Roberts.  It shows an instance of humor and human connection between two individuals who are likely opposite in terms of ideology.  There are faces of stoicism, skepticism, delight, and so much more that can be seen by studying these images in this way.  Spend some time here.  Regardless of your politics, I think you’ll enjoy the experience.  It’s almost better than being there and certainly a bit warmer. I’m getting an account there and I plan to upload images of my next event.

One problem I did notice is that it’s easy to overlook the dimension of “time”.  There are people who appear in one image that are absent in an adjoining one and often, the same person can be seen standing in one image and sitting somewhere else in an adjoining one. Regardless, I’ll bet that over time the use of this tool will create the discovery of some very interesting news stories and images that in the past would simply have been overlooked forever.

A Grasshopper's Eye

A Grasshopper's Eye

Here is that grasshopper’s eye.

About Joe Martinico

Joe Martinico coaches entrepreneurs in sales and online marketing.
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