Autostitch is "the world's first fully-automatic 2D image stitcher". Developed by Matthew Brown at the University of British Columbia, Autostitch can automatically generate panoramas from a collection of overlapping images.
Autostitch uses a key-point detector known as SIFT (Scale Invariant Feature Transform) to locate interesting features in images. By finding the correspondence between key-points in different images, Autostitch can tell how the images are arranged with respect to each other, allowing them to be rendered into a seamless panorama. Scale invariance means that the features still look the same under scaling (rotation, translation, zoom, etc) which makes them robust to typical camera motion.
Click on the following images for a detailed version:
Sugar mill at Tully, view from atop the Golden Gumboot
Autostitch is clever, but its also fun! After playing with it a bit I got thinking. If you can build a panorama automatically, then you can "embed" any image taken from the same position into the panorama. This could be quite interesting as a creative tool, but also has applications in tools like media browsers where the relationships between images could be useful for organising and navigating media.
Check these posts for some ideas about how to use this: