Photosynthesis

Microsoft Photosynth recreates a 3D environment from a number of 2D photos.

This is of course no trivial task, but the reason I have included it here, is because of its quite… futuristic interface, which has to be experienced. It runs directly inside your browser (also in Firefox! – but why isn’t it based on Silverlight?). Cool (and confusing).

Actually, though it is not quite as polished, the Automatic Photo Pop-up 2D to 3D conversion project, seems even more impressive:

It is possible to run the software yourself:

You will need to convert your input image to PNM format, but ImageMagick supports this format. After that you will need to run the ‘segment’ program to create the superpixel image. (Notice that the link is to source files – on Windows, VS2003 is able to compile it after changing ‘random()’ to ‘rand()’ a few places. I’ve also uploaded a Windows binary, in case you are too lazy).

After that download the Automatic Photo Pop-up software and follow the readme file. There are some detailed instructions here.

I must admit that my humble attempts (requires a VRML viewer) with the software was nowhere as impressive as in the video. Also be aware that the conversion can be very slow for complicated pictures (~30 minutes for my tests).

The Edge of Chaos

VisualComplexity.com is a site for visualizing complex networks (though the actual entries seems to cover a lot more than just network visualization).

Leonardo Solaas’ Dreamlines is one of the more intriguing visualizations: the user enters a couple of keywords which it uses to pull pictures from Google Image Search. It then creates a slowly morphing visualization based on the images, without ever showing the images explicitly.

A dream about ‘war’

Dreamlines freely associating about ‘war’

The Clock of the Long Now

Attempting to build a clock that will run for 10000 years is a daunting task.

Never the less, that is exactly what the Long Now Foundation is trying to do.

The clock uses binary digital logic, but is mechanical. Time is stored as a 28-bit number where each bit is represented by a mechanical lever.

It is built using the following principles:

  • Longevity: With occasional maintenance, the clock should reasonably be expected to display the correct time for the next 10,000 years.
  • Maintainability: The clock should be maintainable with bronze-age technology.
  • Transparency: It should be possible to determine operational principles of the clock by close inspection.
  • Evolvability: It should be possible to improve the clock with time.
  • Scalability: It should be possible to build working models of the clock from table-top to monumental size using the same design.

Virtual Art III

Digital Art Software showdown:

Processing is a Java-based environment for creating digital art. ProcessingBlogs often showcases examples of Processing creations. This Flock of birds demo and the Webcam controlled video pong are nice examples.

VVVV is a realtime video synthesis framework. It is a Windows only flowgraph based system, which seems to be built on top of DirectX and DirectShow. As seen on the Eno Henze image above, VVVV is also very suitable for creating static pictures.


Nodebox

Nodebox

For Mac OS X users, NodeBox looks very impressive (short summary: “NodeBox does less, prettier, in Python. Processing does more, uglier, in Java“) Their gallery page has lots of good examples.

Just-In-Time Programming

ChucK is an audio programming language for real-time performance. It is possible to add and modify code without stopping the audio stream, which makes live coding sessions possible. I played a bit around with ChucK in the miniAudicle editor, which can be recommended – the real Audicle (a spectacular OpenGL interfaced IDE) on the other hand proved to be quite unstable.

For a more extreme version of live coding check out Quoth (now this is weird – a Zork-inspired user interface).