Researchers at Carnegie Mellon and the University of California just announced a new suite of software that makes 3D control of objects in a photograph look pretty easy. The tool taps into the many massive online libraries of stock 3D models to provide the specific objects that can be manipulated in a photograph. In a video, researchers show how they find a 3D model of an Ikea chair in their office and plug it into the software, making it possible to flip the chair over and look at it from any angle. The software automagically adjusts the texture and lighting, effectively adding detail to the sides of the object that can't be seen in the original photo, so that everything looks natural.
The idea is good - add optics to your smartphone to turn its camera into a portable digital microscope. In the past several years I've seen several designs of varying quality. I just saw an Apple ad that features one by ProScope - specifically the Micro Mobile. Other models by the company are well designed and built - my dermatologist uses one - so this one is worth consideration if you are in the market. A nice feature is you can purchase $20 adapters so it isn't tied to one device that is likely to be obsolete in a year or two. Check out the videos on the lower right side of the page.
Point and shoot is ok for probably 99% of the population and some fraction of the remaining 1% wants a camera with reasonable camera physics. But the smartphone is omnipresent and the ability to capture something is extremely attractive.
A lot of people use smartphones as their primary camera these days .. there are a lot of photo applications - some useful and well beyond the normal red eye, cropping and filter adjustements. Here are ten (mostly common to iOS and Android) ... the video offers good explanations of most of them.
There has been work on staying sharp later in life that points to the value of learning a new activity. The one that seemed most beneficial (only a few were studied) was photography as it was considered the most challenging.
Notes by Molly Wood of the NY Times. She isn't a fan of Carousel squaring wit my experience. The tech press largely fawned over its slick interface at its announcement, but I doubt many (any?) of them had really used it.
Bjarne notes a Time site that spotlights the construction of One World Trade Center. It features a dramatic gigapan image fashioned from 567 photos that were stitched together to give the extremely high resolution/zoomable panorama.