iSynth (iTunes Link) is a new application that brings Microsoft’s impressive Photosynth 3D photo viewer to the iPhone. Photosynth stitches together user-submitted photos of the same subject, allowing users to ‘fly-through’ the area by clicking on each successive photo. The technology works best in places and events with many user-submitted photos (popular Synths include the Taj Mahal and President Obama’s inauguration). The site is very fun and often gorgeous, and is certainly worth checking out if you haven’t seen it before.
iSynth brings much of the functionality of the original Photosynth to the iPhone, and for the most part it works well. In fact, the touch-screen interface makes the experience even more intuitive than the original – tapping on the screen causes the app to zoom in on the highlighted photo, shifting the viewer’s position in the 3D scene. Unfortunately, because the iPhone’s screen is so much smaller than a computer monitor the feeling of ‘walking through’ each scene isn’t quite as good as it is on the original application, but it’s still fun nonetheless. And the application is perfectly suited for those moments when you just need to kill time for a few minutes – just fire up the app and take a virtual stroll around the Taj Mahal.
The free iPhone application was developed by Greg Pascale, a former Photosynth intern who received permission to build the app from Microsoft (though Microsoft didn’t build the application and does not support it). Also worth checking out is Microsoft’s Seadragon Mobile (iTunes link), which allows users to flick through large albums of high-resolution photography, including 2D versions of albums from its Photosynth product.