President Obama's inauguration in 3D courtesy of Microsoft

Yesterday we reported that CNN would be using Microsoft's PhotoSynth technology to stitch together thousands of submitted photos to create a 3D environment of Obama's inauguration.

The end result is fairly impressive, the technology takes all the submitted images from thousands of sources and angles to create a 360 degree visual image that can be viewed from different angles. The image has zoom in and out functions from close up and shots taken further back, all with incredible detail.

Microsoft has also created a Live Search Map where people can upload "stitches" and search for different inauguration related "stitches".

PhotoSynth is based technology from a small, Seattle-area startup named Seadragon. Microsoft acquired the company in 2006 and the technology is capable of delivering a buttery smooth experience browsing massive quantities of visual information over the Internet. Photos can range from megapixels to gigapixels and Microsoft's first iPhone app was Seadragon so it's clearly an important technology for the company going forward. This is the first time Microsoft has used this technology on a large scale and at such a high profile event. We'd bet Microsoft will be using this heavily in the future.

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Very cool. I've seen Photosynth in action, but there really hasn't been any major events to use it for. This is really neat.

To me it's just a mess. You hover over the main frame and white frames start appearing everywhere, and then when you click on one it shifts with this weird transformation. There's nothing 3D about it. It's just a really weird collage, that's all.

They didn't do a very good job with it. If you go to the Photosynth site there are much better examples. I have no idea why people are calling it 3D, that's a really inaccurate term. It's a 360 degree panorama, not 3D.

Wow very cool stuff, I heard and read about Photosynth, seeing it in action I am amazed at the output of it. This is very nice. This is so wonderful. I can imagine to create a nice wonderufl family album like this

hotdog963al said,
I want to see it, but I'm not installing Photosynth... :(

Yeah you are right. It would immediately send your credi card information to Microsoft and poison your dog. Plus, it can not be uninstalled, the computer has to be cremated once you put it on.

You're whining because you refuse to install free software to enable something you want to see? Wow, so glad you shared.

Can someone explain to me why he is referred to as 'the first black president'?

He is mixed race, he has brown skin and no-one has black coloured skin anyway as black is the absence of colour.

They did this crap with Lewis Hamilton being the 'first black' world forumula 1 champion.

I wish reporters and social commentators would see past the colour of this mans skin.

I wish this would happen in Britain (electing a non-white prime minister), however not in a trillion years will it happen as Britain is a racist country.

It's nice to see United States citizens voting with their feelings for hope rather than having to have a white skinned person in charge.

I can only admire your people and you have written a huge chapter in history.

Well 12% of americans are 'black' as opposed to only 2% in the UK, so if everyone were equal there'd only be a 2% chance of it happening in the UK anyway, and thats not because of racism.

It is interesting that people like Lewis Hamilton and Barack Obama are referred to as black when they are actually of mixed race. You don't see the same with other races, it just seems to be because black ancestry is more prominent.

I agree with you in principle, however I think it's important to black people to make a big deal out of it because of the history of segregation in this country, so it's fine with me that they're making such a big deal. I couldn't care less what color he is, I voted for him because he is a smart, down to earth guy that seems capable of pulling this country out of the deep hole Bush has left it in. But race wise, I think he is also the perfect guy because he symbolizes the mix of races in this country, except for latin-american. He's a bit white, a bit black and a bit asian.

He's black. Look at him. He isn't white. Nevermind who his parents are. He faces the same black prejudices as any "pure" black would. He is symbolic of those prejudices becoming a thing of the past and an inspiration to lots of people because of this fact.

Typhoeus said,
Hypodescent. You are considered black if you have black ancestry, however remote it is. Lurk moar.

Uh, no. That would mean practically everyone in the country is black. (Typing "moar" looks really dumb by the way.)

Obama is black though, he says so himself so isn't that enough? It's like some people don't want to admit we have a black president. I don't mean the original poster though. As for it being a big deal, it's because of how far the country has came since just a few decades ago where he would not have been able to even drink from the same water fountains as other people. Back then to suggest a black president would have been laughed at. They'd have probably tried to hang you for suggesting it.

TRC said,
Obama is black though, he says so himself so people should drop it. It's like some people don't want to admit we have a black president.

Its a watershed moment for blacks regardless of whether Obama is really 'a black man'. But you could also say he is black, so its correct to call him a black president, but he's also white.

But people should have a right to say, if they want, that he isn't really fully black. I really never got why people don't just call him 'mulatto'. He looks like a mulatto more than black.

It's more figurative then literal. Just having a non-white president means a lot too people and because he has dark skin he was coined the first black president

Um yes. According to Conrad Phillip Kottak, the author of Mirror for Humanity, hypodescent is as what I wrote up there. And if you say practically everyone in the country is black, God bless. That should solve the stigma.

Lurk moar. Thank you.

i like this a lot very cool...i've been watching photosynth for awhile now but i can finally see some use for it

I'm not really getting much 3d from these synths, unfortunately. Many other MS examples seem to show this off so much better. Still cool though.