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Hyperlinking Reality

Topics: Technology | 1 CommentBy admin | April 7, 2009

What if you could click on the objects around you for more information about them?

Imagine you’re in Rome, and by pointing your iPhone at a statue, you’re able not only to identify the statue, but also able to click on links to Wikipedia about it, and then switch to Google Maps to locate the nearest cafe for a break from sightseeing. This scenario is quickly becoming less and less like science fiction, thanks to new tools like Photosynth and Mobvis. We touched on Photosynth a while back, but they’ve more recently teamed with CNN to bring you an interesting and different way to look at the 2009 Presidential Inauguration. Unfortunately, if you’re on a Mac, you won’t be able to see how interesting and different. They say they’re working on a Mac-friendly version, but for a more cross-platform look at what these tools have to offer in the meantime, see the Photo Tourism project page at Washington University. You might also check out the short video Hyperlinking Reality Via Camera Phones (also below), which presents the concept in a simpler, more visual manner. And although the presenter and narrator step randomly into programmer gobbledy-gook, cut them some slack. At least they have the courtesy to do it in English! The project is being developed by Visual Cognitive Systems Lab, at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. This technology has amazing possibilities, but I’m also always a little leery of the possible negative uses. Imagine a more highly developed version of this that merges the tools with Google Street View (with which I’ve previously expressed some annoyance) and Facial Recognition Systems. You could literally click on the faces of people around you for biographical information. Unless of course they had an adequately-developed tinfoil hat, as I apparently do…

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