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Kinect's Grandaddy Running On an Apple IIe In 1978 81

An anonymous reader writes "30 years before words like performance capture, augmented reality, or avatars were around — let alone commonplace — experimental film and video artist Tom DeWitt created a system that features aspects of all of them. Pantomation let users interact in real-time with a digital environment and props. It was built using Apple IIe's, analog video gear, and lots of custom hacking and patching. He's currently working on a holographic 3D system that's similarly ahead of its time."
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Kinect's Grandaddy Running On an Apple IIe In 1978

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  • Apple IIe in 1978?! (Score:5, Informative)

    by smasch ( 77993 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @04:10PM (#35023476)
    Apple IIe in 1978?! It was probably an Apple II (released in 1977). The Apple IIe wasn't released until 1983. See Timeline and History of the Apple II series []
  • by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @04:18PM (#35023564)

    >>>something was running on an Apple product before it was on a Microsoft product

    LOTS of things first saw the light of day on those old 8-bit machines:
    - windows/mouse interfaces (Apple, Atari, Commodore)
    - security cameras & alarms run by my Commodore=64
    - 128-color porn on Ataris
    - music & voice coming from the 1977 Atari console
    - full-scale video on my C=64
    - ripped music from the radio, or downloaded off the net, playing back on the Commodore SID and Amiga Paula
    - and on and on and on.

    There's very little that is truly new. Most of it was invented in the late 70s and 80s, but it was not widely adopted until later.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 27, 2011 @04:25PM (#35023636)

    "Xerox may have invented the mouse and the concept of on-screen "windows","

    It certainly did not. [] Why is ignorance of technological history so prevalent????

    "Say what you will about about Apple, but they have really been bringing new technology to users for a long time."

    No, they haven't. They were lucky to be able to steal/copy/buy the best ideas for a long time.

  • by Bill_the_Engineer ( 772575 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @06:30PM (#35025454)

    While you are correct, you are grossly undervaluing the work of pioneers at each milestone. No one worked in a vacuum back then.

    You would have really earned some "geek points" if you mentioned that Douglas Engelbart was inspired by Ivan Sutherland's Sketchpad program from 1963 when he created NLS (what your video link was about). NLS had several modes of operations, but none of them resemble what we have today.

    The modern desktop evolved from many years of work and research by pioneers in their field.

    1952 - The trackball was invented by Tom Cranston, Fred Longstaff and Kenyon Taylor working on the Royal Canadian Navy's DATAR project.
    1963 - The computer mouse was invented by Douglas Engelbart and Bill English.
    1963 - Ivan Sitherland's Sketch program was created.
    1969 - Douglas Engelbart demonstrated NLS (oNLine System)
    1970 - David A. Evans created a primitive hypertext-based groupware program that ran on NLS
    1972 - Xerox Alto was conceptionalized
    1979 - Apple's McIntosh project began.
    1982 - Xerox Star was introduced to the market. ($75,000 base + $16,000 for each additional workstation).
    1982 - Commodore begins development on the Amiga which was originally intended to be a next-generation game computer. (Jay Miner was originally with Atari).
    1983 - Apple markets the Lisa the first GUI based personal computer ($9,995).
    1983 - Chase Bishop starts "Interface Manager" and is announced by Microsoft as Windows (after Lisa was released)
    1984 - Apple introduced the Macintosh a much more affordable GUI based personal computer ($1,995).
    1985 - The Commodore Amiga was released ($1,295)
    1985 - The Atari ST was released ($999).
    1985 - DRI releases GEM/1
    1985 - Microsoft Windows 1.0 was released.
    1987 - Microsoft Windows 2.0 was released.
    1990 - Microsoft Windows 3.0 was released and Microsoft finally begins its transition from CLI to GUI products.

    I know I left some milestones out, but I just wanted to illustrate that the modern desktop was an evolutionary process with many innovations taking place between 1952 and 1984. Of course, Microsoft catches up when all the hard work is finished :P. I'm joking of course. In fact I'll clarify 1990 for them.

    1990 - Microsoft Windows 3.0 was released which becomes a significant milestone for GUI on the x86. It may have not been the first, or the best, but it did bring the GUI desktop to the masses. After all with Apple, Xerox, DRI, Commodore, and Atari using GUI, Microsoft had no choice and would have ceased to exist if they hadn't caught up with questionable tactics that led to a settlement with the DOJ in 2001.

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian