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Michael von Aichberger Merges Touchless Technology with GigaPan Interactive Images at Photokina

Leading Photography Event

Standing out from the crowd at the world’s largest trade fair for the photographic and imaging industries is no easy task. With 185,000 leading photographers from around the world in attendance, it was always going to take something special to make a statement.

For Michael von Aichberger, an enthusiastic photographer and photo engineer, the challenge was too good to resist. His deep experience in multimedia installations for fairs and events and his love for gigapixel photography seemed the perfect combination to make a mark at photokina 2012.

History with GigaPan

Michael has always been fascinated by photography and took a special interest in interactive gigapixel images after purchasing the GigaPan EPIC. Aside from the ability to easily capture and create high-definition images, Michael appreciated GigaPan’s ease of use as he had previously been used to carrying around large and heavy equipment.

“I have to complement GigaPan for its efforts to promote gigapixel photography,” Michael said. “I think the possibility of uploading gigapixel images to the GigaPan.org site is essential for most users of the hardware and a source of inspiration for everyone interested in gigapixel photography.”

GigaPan at photokina

After learning that LANG AG had developed radarTOUCH, a system that enables users to control a computer by moving their arms, Michael immediately started to think about the possibilities that could present for multimedia installations. In particular, the idea of combining the radar technology with GigaPan’s interactive, gigapixel images on a large flat screen seemed too good of an opportunity to pass up. After receiving approval from photokina, Michael took a gigapixel image of Cologne, the location of the conference, using GigaPan’s EPIC Pro and Autopano Pro Stitching Software.

The result: a high definition screen that allowed attendees to interact with the gigapixel image, without touching it. The installation was an immediate hit at the conference and received rave reviews from attendees. “On the first day a woman told us that just to see this installation was already worth coming to photokina,” Michael said.

Many were delighted by the fact that they could explore the details in the façade of the Cologne Cathedral, details that can barely be seen from the ground near the building. “Overall, most were absolutely amazed, even awe-inspired, by the magnification the gigapixel image provided and had fun exploring it in depth.” The installation also motivated attendees to think about taking panoramas themselves.

Future Projects

Michael is currently using GigaPan technology for capturing and stitching four gigapans of Stuttgart from four different angles.

What’s next? He sees huge potential for GigaPan technology to be used by hotels, especially those that are situated in high buildings with interesting views. “A gigapixel image could be taken from that roof and a gigapixel wall could be created in the lobby of the hotel, allowing guests to explore the hotel’s environment. The gigapixel wall could also be enriched with hotspots and information about sights.”

Looking further into the future, Michael plans to use his GigaPan system to continue to push the capabilities of traditional panoramic images by creating unique and innovative installations, like the one at photokina, that inspire photographers and amaze people everywhere.