“We also have to calculate the actual depth of objects from the stereo effect,” says Stollnitz, “comparing how they appear in different photos.” His software uses what it learns through that process to break each image apart and spread what it captures through virtual 3-D space (see video, below). The pieces from different photos are stitched together on the fly as a person navigates around the virtual space to generate his current viewpoint, creating the same view that would be seen if he were walking around the object in physical space.
I’m most interested in this sort of technology when it’s combined with my recent obsession, 3D printing. Libraries are starting to pay attention to this new technology…I had a chance to talk with Sarah Houghton-Jan, the assistant director for the San Rafael Public Library and better known online as the Librarian in Black. San Rafael is about to purchase a MakerBot for its tech area, and will be running programs on how to use it for their patrons. I can’t wait to get more information about how the patrons take to it.
When you can use your cellphone to “scan” a 3D object and then walk over to your PC and print a model of that object, what sort of things will we be able to do? How does our idea of ownership of objects change in a world like that? What can libraries do to be a part of this new, Star Trek–esque technology?
Engadget is reporting that Barnes and Noble’s Nook 3G is running short on supply, and that bulk orders of the device are being turned down. This almost certainly means that the device is on its way out, perhaps for an updated version. Keep an eye out as B&N sells through their existing supply for an announcement of a new Nook. If you or your library is in the market for them, but not in a hurry…you might want to wait a few weeks before you jump in.
Google enables mobile printing for Gmail and gDocs via its CloudPrint service for any of its supported mobile platforms (Android 2.1+ and iOS 3+). This means that you’ll be able to print using these services from your Android phone, your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to any printer attached to your Windows 7 PC. Clever, and potentially very useful, especially as the tablet form factor becomes more central in offering library services.
It’s been too long in coming, but I think I speak for everyone when I say that I’m going to use this like crazy. I start nearly every writing project on Google Docs these days, and this is going to make everything much easier to manage for my writing.
Today's WWDC announcements were almost entirely, as expected, focused around the iPhone 4 hardware and the iOS4 software. The software had a few pieces that are interesting for libraries, the largest being that the iBook store is coming to the iPhone and iPod Touch with iOS4, and that it will be updated to handle PDF's natively in the iBook interface. But it was the hardware that was really interesting. Here's the highlights as I see them: