In an age where we will go to great lengths to limit our physical efforts (i.e. downloading a flick rather going to a movie theater, or clicking a few buttons on Seamless rather than speaking to a human being) there is now a tool that allows you to rearrange your living room and visualize your maximum Feng Shui potential, without lifting a finger — save the ones you use to click your mouse.
A team of scientists from Carnegie Mellon and UC Berkeley just announced the development of a software that would allow you to move objects within a photograph, be it the sofa in your living room or the car in your garage. But wait, you may ask, didn’t the Swedish patron saint of dorm rooms Ikea already bestow us with a room-rearranging, augmented reality app? The difference with this software is that it offers 3-D manipulation of 2-D images, “exposing areas not even captured in the original image — turning a chair or flipping a car, for example, to reveal hidden backsides and undersides,” according to the New York Times. After analyzing the online images you may gawk at on a regular basis, such as Ikea’s digital catalog, the software calculates what the unseen parts of an object should look like, from the textures of its surfaces to the shadows it would cast. The footage they’ve provided of the software in use is startingly clear and realistic, i.e. magic. Most likely witchcraft.
Although the software is high on potential for architects, interior designers, animators, engineers, and basically any professional who uses images at some point in the workday, the software’s creators have not yet established plans to commercialize it as a product — or even give it a name. At the moment it and its source code are available for free online. The scientific team is going to present its findings during this week’s International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques in Vancouver, British Columbia.