Britain in Pictures: a unique 3-D interactive experience

Microsoft, in collaboration with the BBC, launch a trial of unique 3-D photo representations of historic sites throughout the UK. The online 3-D viewing experience is available in conjunction with the new BBC "How We Built Britain" series, running through mid-July. Viewers will be able to explore Photosynth representations of these sites. The BBC will also have units on location at each of these historic sites to collect images from tourists visiting the sites. The synths will be updated during the television series with a selection of these images...

The 3-D viewing experience of Britain in Pictures

PRESS SUMMARY

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.”

About Microsoft Live Labs

Microsoft Live Labs is an applied research organization focused on the incubation of innovative Internet-centric technologies to improve and accelerate the next generation of Microsoft's Internet products and services. Through the rapid prototyping of emerging technologies and the incubation of entirely new inventions, Live Labs aims to advance the state of the art of Internet technologies and enable new scenarios for its users. The Live Labs team also believes that collaboration with other groups at Microsoft, government and academic research labs, industry labs and pioneers, and others is key to fulfilling its mission, and works to build strong relationships with these groups. Live Labs incubations such as Photosynth are examples of the rapid innovation happening within Live Labs and the influence it is having on Microsoft® products. More information about Photosynth 3-D imaging technology is available at the Microsoft Live Labs site at labs.live.com.

Additional Information: The 3-D viewing experience of Britain in Pictures

June 6, 2007

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