Blaise Aguera y Arcas’ background is as multidimensional as the visions he helps create. In the 1990s, he authored patents on both video compression and 3D visualization techniques, and in 2001, he made an influential computational discovery that cast doubt on Gutenberg’s role as the father of movable type.
He also created Seadragon (acquired by Microsoft in 2006), the visualization technology that gives Photosynth its amazingly smooth digital rendering and zoom capabilities. Photosynth itself is a vastly powerful piece of software capable of taking a wide variety of images, analyzing them for similarities, and grafting them together into an interactive three-dimensional space. This seamless patchwork of images can be viewed via multiple angles and magnifications, allowing us to look around corners or “fly” in for a (much) closer look. Simply put, it could utterly transform the way we experience digital images.
He’s now the architect of Bing Maps at Microsoft, where he leads a team of researchers and engineers with strengths in social media, computer vision and graphics. He joined Microsoft when Seadragon was acquired by Live Labs in 2006. Shortly after the acquisition of Seadragon, Blaise directed his team in a collaboration with Microsoft Research and the University of Washington, leading to the first public previews of Photosynth several months later. His TEDTalk on Seadragon and Photosynth in 2007 is rated one of TED’s “most jaw-dropping.”