Still in beta, a neat application of NLP to allow the artistically challenged to create 3D visualisations is at http://www.wordseye.com. Spurred on by Clover bleating about being left off the recent Ascilite post I entered the following text:
The yellow goat is on the table. A newspaper is on the shiny grass 3 foot in front of the table. A giant daffodil is behind the goat.
Some tweaking of camera angles and voila… Clover rendered in 3D, standing on a table, illuminated by a giant daffodil and inspecting a book! The grass and newspaper might take a bit more practice and perhaps this is a function of limited objects in the library but not bad for 2 minutes work.
A paper describing this text to scene conversion is at http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~coyne/papers/wordseye_siggraph.pdf
Language learning applications in particular spring to mind for this and it will be interesting to see how it develops. The WordsEye site is not open access yet, you need to request an invitation to register. But you don’t have to wait long and it is well worth the short delay. The educational technology community at large has still to latch onto the many powerful applications of NLP but a few more apps like WordsEye and I’m sure it won’t be long.