Real-Time ASCII Art Conversion of Google Street View

#Internet

Wed, Aug 1st, 2012 20:00 by capnasty NEWS

Toronto-based programmer Peter Nitsch has created a real-time conversion of Google Street View into ASCII art -- that's the CN Tower, in case you're wondering. Oh, you'll need a browser that supports WebGL. You can read more about the project on the Teehan+Lax Labs website.

It's no secret that -- in some eternal quest to palliate my nostalgia -- I've developed a mild obsession with text-mode art. Years ago, I learned all the relavent algorithms, techniques, and code pages in order to best simulate text-mode in modern browsers -- an effort that resulted in (long since abandoned) projects like ASCIImeo and Flashterm. Recent explorations in bridging the digital-physical divide (plus a sense of withdrawal) have caused me to revisit image-to-text conversion with a quick experiment.

For many of us that have grown up with computers, text-mode art represents something deeper than nostalgia. It is an artform manifested from technological constraints, inspired by the same hacker ethos that build the early machines used to produce and view it. Fundamentally, it is both an expression and prisoner of the system it inhabits. This latest experiment attempts to free ASCII art from the confines of the screen and enable it to exist in physical space -- with light and paint.

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