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People unable to get to Sydney for the Olympic Games will be able to enjoy virtual tours of Games sites and interactively view images of Sydney via roving digital cameras and video cameras mounted on top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Utilising immersive imaging, a single capture allows users to take a 180-degree view around Games venues with a click of the mouse.iPIX, the standard for dynamic imaging, has partnered with production company Hyro.com to capture images of Sydney and Games venues.

Michael Green, technical manager for iPIX, said two cameras had been installed on the very top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge last week and each one was offering 180-degree shots from the ground to the sky, up and down the harbour.

"We are not offering 360-degree shots as the cameras are about 10 centimetres apart and it is difficult to get the pictures to match up exactly."

The cameras were put up later than expected due to "aesthetic" problems from authorities concerning the transparency of the antennae and the position of the radio frequency box.

The cameras, which can be set to capture images from every 15 seconds to every 10 minutes, are presently set to two minutes and look east and west, but will be modified to southeast and northwest to offer better views up and down the harbour.

"The images are put into a radio frequency and set to the receiving box where the processor adds the images together. The processor then puts them into iPIX language which is then fed to a FPT server. It is quite a simple process and the software is automated," Green said.

"Given the nature of sending across radio frequency, we are unable to deliver the images in real time."

The cameras on top of the bridge, three NetCams, digital Kodak cameras, iPIX still Nikon cameras, and one 360-degree video camera will be roving over Sydney and at the Olympic venues with feeds into olympics.com, usolympicteam.com and sydneylink.com.iPIX, which has never worked with IBM before, has enjoyed increased visitation rates as a result of the venture. "Hits to our site have increased 33 per cent in the last two weeks," Green said.

Once the Olympics are over, the company is looking to apply the cameras and the technology to other industries, specifically the surveillance industry.


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