“Rome wasn’t built in a day, but in cyberspace it might be. Computer science researchers at the University of Washington and Cornell University are deploying a system that will blend teamwork and collaboration with powerful graphics algorithms to create three-dimensional renderings of buildings, neighborhoods and potentially even entire cities …
“The PhotoCity game is already being played by teams of students at the University of Washington and Cornell, and the researchers plan to open it to the public in an effort to collect three-dimensional renderings in cities like New York and San Francisco. Contestants will be able to use either an iPhone application that uses the phone’s camera, or upload collections of digital images.
“In adopting what is known as a social computing or collective intelligence model, they are extending an earlier University of Washington research effort that combined computing and human skills to create a video game about protein folding.
“The game, Foldit, was released in May 2008, allowing users to augment computing algorithms, solving visual problems where humans could find better solutions than computers. The game quickly gained a loyal following of amateur protein folders who became addicted to the challenges that bore a similarity to solving a Rubik’s Cube puzzle.”