I’ve not blogged all the three-munute talks at TED – which feels like a bit of a betrayal, since that’s the only sort of talk I’ve ever given at TED… but there’s lots of them coming very quickly, and I’m often catching up on the previous long talk. But Microsot rese=archer Blaise Aguera’s demo of Seadragon was truly mindblowing. It’s a very powerful and lovely scaling system which lets people smoothly zoom through images and real texts (not images of texts), which allows wonderful applications like a version of The Guardian, where large pages represent section heads, but you can zoom down into incredible visual detail on the stories, photos and ads.
The truly amazing demo is Photosynth, which builds on Seadragon. It knits together unrelated photos into three dimensional spaces. He shows us perhaps the most amazing demo I’ve seen this year – a model of the cathedral of Notre Dame made from photos selected from Flickr – Photosynth maps them together and creates a model you can zoom through, seeing each feature from Flickr photos. It’s quite astounding – we see a three-D model with orange cones floating in space, representing where the system believes each photographer stood. In the future, we might expect each photo to have a sort of hyperlink, which helps it fit in physical space in relation to all other photos – really amazing.