HTML5 + Chrome = GigaPan Awesomeness

A few days ago a researchers over at Carnegie Mellon University announced a “Time Machine” they had built which uses HTML5 to take GigaPan to the next level. There is lots of explanation to be had, but in short: You can watch time lapse videos of super-high resolution images, fast forward/rewind and zoom, as well as create your own “Time Warps” from within these for others to view. They will even help you create your own!

An enabling technology for time-lapse GigaPans is a feature of the HTML5 language that has been incorporated into such browsers as Google’s Chrome and Apple’s Safari. HTML5, the latest revision of the HyperText Markup Language (HTML) standard that is at the core of the Internet, makes browsers capable of presenting video content without use of plug-ins such as Adobe Flash or Quicktime.

Using HTML5, CREATE Lab computer scientists Randy Sargent, Chris Bartley and Paul Dille developed algorithms and software architecture that make it possible to shift seamlessly from one video portion to another as viewers zoom in and out of Time Machine imagery. To keep bandwidth manageable, the GigaPan site streams only those video fragments that pertain to the segment and/or time frame being viewed.

“We were crashing the browsers early on,” Sargent recalled. “We’re really pushing the browser technology to the limits.”

Guidelines on how individuals can capture time-lapse images using GigaPan cameras are included on the site created for hosting the new imagery’s large data files, Sargent explained the CREATE Lab is eager to work with people who want to capture Time Machine imagery with GigaPan, or use the visualization technology for other applications.

Once a Time Machine GigaPan has been created, viewers can annotate and save their explorations of it in the form of video “Time Warps.”

As you can see, the luxury of view Time Machine videos is something only Safari and Chrome users can afford right now. Should you try to view one with a different browser you’ll be greeted with the following message:

Anyway. It’s just something you really should see for yourself.  Fortunately, they’ve made that real easy by providing the following video, which explains how it works and what all you can do with it. Which (as you read above) includes them helping you stitch together your very own images to make your own video. When you realize you must see more, head on over to their site or check it out in Chrome Experiments.


[CMU | Google Blog | GigaPan Time Machine]