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LiftEye replaces elevator walls with synced 3D view of world outside

April 7, 2014 | Telepresence Options

What if instead of staring at the walls as we rode up and down, we could look at the view from outside?


Story and images by Sydney Brownstone / Co.Exist

Unless someone comes up with a better way for groups of people to move vertically within tall buildings (pneumatic tubes, anyone?), elevators are here to stay in our rapidly urbanizing world. This alone is a testament to human adaptability, because elevators, when you really stop to think about them, are terrifying.



But maybe the elevator experience doesn't have to land somewhere on a spectrum among awkward, mind-numbingly dull, and panicky. Lifteye, a startup out of Russia's St. Petersburg State University, has developed a technology that breaks through the elevator's fourth wall, and exposes passengers to a panoramic view of what's outside the building.


Computer scientist Dmitry Gorilovsky developed the idea for Lifteye based on something known as computer vision--the process by which two images can be converted into a 3-D model, similar to how humans create a single panoramic scene with their two eyeballs. In order to install the technology, a building would have to place several cameras vertically along the fa�ade as well as a sensor inside the elevator cabin to track its movements. The 3-D panorama created by the cameras syncs to the sensor, which shows passengers what it would look like if they were moving at the very edge of the building, with no barrier between them and the outside world.

"If you think of architecture as experience, the lift cabins are quite a strange place. You understand where you are before you enter the lift cabin, but after that it's a bit like a black box," Gorilovsky says. "It's not enough to build a skyscraper. You have to think about the whole experience of people within the building."

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