Thursday, September 25, 2008

Microsoft: 3D Future will be Photosynth

There's only one place to be for the techcrowd this week, and that's Amsterdam with the Eduverse Symposium on the 23rd followed by 3 days of PICNIC 08. It isn't the only event going on though, there's also the Emerging Technology Conference (in short EmTech) at the MIT Campus.

"Microsoft's Craig Mundie has dismissed the potential of "synthetic virtual worlds" like Second Life, saying that the potential for immersive environments will be likely realized through 3D tools that capture and model the real world.

Mundie, who oversees research and long-term strategy for Microsoft, devoted a significant portion of his "Rethinking Computing" presentation at MIT's Emerging Technology conference to what he called the "Spatial Web," a blend of 3D, video, and location-aware technologies. At the center of several of his demos was Photosynth, a Microsoft software tool that can create 3D models using 2D photographs taken with an ordinary digital camera. In one brief demo he showed how a small, camera-equipped robot could be used to model a large room. In another, he showed a 3D model of a commercial district in Seattle that had been created with Photosynth, and demonstrated how a virtual visitor could come to the district using the Internet, enter an art shop in the area, and examine and buy a virtual sculpture that had also been "photosynthed" by the shop clerks or the artist.

Mundie noted that Microsoft is counting on the creation of a 3D "parallel universe" modeled with tools like Photosynth. However, he dismissed the potential of social virtual worlds that include user-modeled objects. "Many people are familiar with Second Life, which is a synthetic virtual world that
people came quite enamored with," Mundie said. "Our view was that there was a fairly limited audience who was willing to deal with the construction of avatars and operating in that virtual space."

[read the full article at The Industry Standard]

I would go along with Mundie when it comes to short term vision -only to a certain extend though. I agree with the part that there is a huge market for the Paraverse, virtual worlds that mirror our own real world, and that these mirror worlds will be fit for business sooner that general VW's in all likelyhood when augmented reality kicks in.

Question is... will the dominant one be a Microsoft product? I would have been very surprised if Mundie would have said the future is in the hands of Google Earth, but I don't think Microsoft, despite Photosynth being a cool product, has what it takes at this time to be a thoughtleader in this area.

So, speaking off the next couple of years, he's right and the paraverse may get a bigger business crowd moving, but in the long run, I wouldn't put my money on Microsoft.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

It's Captain Jack

One of my daily routine jobs as a blogger is checking Technorati to see if there are new links to my blog. When following one of these links I noticed a familiar face...

Yes it's captain Jack Sparrow. It's not Johnny Depp though, but Tay Runo. The beautiful lady at his side is Jojamela Soon. The picture is taken by Paisley Beebe at Sailor's Cove.

Do have a look at Paisley's Flickr Photostream as there is a ton of really great pictures of Second Life, utilising almost every option provided by the WindLight client.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Nikon puts focus on Scenery

Bienvenuto Nikonista! is the first thing I see when the world rezzes around me. Just after blogging the Japanese Pioneer Corporation build in Second Life I immersed at Nikon island. Although another Japanese company, it's clear this isn't the mothership which has landed in Second Life.

"Nikon Corporation is a Japanese company specializing in optics and imaging. Its products include cameras, binoculars, microscopes, measurement instruments, and the steppers used in the photolithography steps of semiconductor fabrication. It was founded in 1917 as Nippon Kōgaku Kōgyō ("Japan Optical Industries"); the company was renamed Nikon Corporation, after its cameras, in 1988. Nikon is one of the major companies of the Mitsubishi Group. The name Nikon, which dates from 1946, is a merging of Nippon Kōgaku ( "Japan Optical") and an imitation of Zeiss Ikon. Among its famous products are Nikkor camera lenses (notably those designed for the company's own F-mount SLR cameras), Nikonos underwater cameras, the Nikon F-series of
professional 135 film SLR cameras, and the Nikon D-series digital SLRs. Nikon has helped lead the transition to digital photography with both the Coolpix line of consumer and prosumer cameras as well as DSLR system cameras."

The island basically has one building, surrounded by a number of small information stands on the Nikon group in Second Life and competitions.

The main building has two levels and at ground level we find various seats in front of slideshows and some general info on Nikon and their latest camera models. The second level houses a museum with information on early Nikon camera's.

However, the sims main focus is not on the brand, but on the scenery, which I think is an excellent choice. Not just another build and another brand, but an attempt to show the beauty of things, trying to depict the essence of why people start with photography. I must say, the scenery is absolutely fantastic.

The build was done by an Italian MDC named "NoReal-it" (I doubt there's a pun intended), which in my opinion have done a great job at the scenery and in putting the foucs there.


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