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Graphics Input Devices Software Technology

Ivan Sutherland Wins Kyoto Prize 44

cstacy writes "The Inamori Foundation has awarded the Kyoto Prize to graphics pioneer Ivan Sutherland, for developing Sketchpad in 1963. The award recognizes significant technical, scientific and artistic contributions to the 'betterment of mankind, and honors Sutherland him for nearly 50 years of demonstrating that computer graphics could be used "for both technical and artistic purposes.'"
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Ivan Sutherland Wins Kyoto Prize

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  • Kyoto Prize (Score:3, Funny)

    by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Monday November 12, 2012 @12:14AM (#41953971)

    Is this something to do with preventing global warming?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This prize has nothing to do with global warming. As I'm sure everyone here knows, Kyoto is a city, and not everything from there is related to the Kyoto Protocol.

      The Kyoto Prize has been awarded annually since 1985 by the Inamori Foundation, founded by Kazuo Inamori. The prize is a Japanese award similar in intent to the Nobel Prize, as it recognizes outstanding works in the fields of philosophy, arts, science and technology. The awards are given not only to those that are top representatives of their own respective field, but also to those that have contributed to humanity with their work.

      Prizes are given in the fields of Advanced Technology, Basic Sciences and Arts and Philosophy. Within each broad category, the prize rotates among subfields, e.g. the technology prize rotates across electronics, biotechnology, materials science and engineering, and information science. The prize was endowed with 50 million yen and Kyocera stock. The prize is rising in prestige[opinion] as it covers fields not often awarded by the Nobel Prizes.

  • Sketchpad Video (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cito ( 1725214 ) on Monday November 12, 2012 @12:38AM (#41954057)

    Awesome video footage seeing Sketchpad in operation. []

    • Steve Jobs! (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Awesome video footage seeing Sketchpad in operation. []

      Gee Steve Jobs looked different back then....

      Was this before he invented air and water, or after? ;-)

    • Re:Sketchpad Video (Score:4, Interesting)

      by GODISNOWHERE ( 2741453 ) on Monday November 12, 2012 @03:10AM (#41954585)
      One thing that really caught my attention in this video was a throwaway comment about the input pen. It was found to be a failure because the blood would drain from the hand after about twenty seconds, leaving the user with a numb hand. Kay then goes on to say that the input pen had been reinvented about 90 times by other people in the twenty years since the demonstration. This underscores the importance of learning tech history. You can learn from the mistakes of others and avoid reinventing the wheel, and you can avoid being swept up in fads that plague the industry (touch based operating system, anyone?).
      • They could have just re-oriented the screen so that it was horizontal or at say 30 degrees from horizontal, and it would have been far more comfortable. I had no clue they had such amazing input tech back then.

      • by tibit ( 1762298 )

        I would add eye-movement-based interaction to this list of stupid things that everyone feels to be the next big thing. Eye movements are used for visual exploration. If you limit yourself to eye tracker input, it's not generally possible to discriminate between exploration and desired interaction. If you want to provide inputs, you can't explore, and vice-versa.

        • If you use *only* eye-movement, then perhaps (though you could definitely do something like "look at and pause a bit before it acts upon your look"), but just like with the original use of the mouse, it could be combined with the keyboard or other input device.

          Since I'm basically always looking at what I'm interacting with, at least briefly (touch-typing being one big exception), using my eyes as part of the interaction UI is perfectly reasonable, if done well.

          • by tibit ( 1762298 )

            So, I gather you've never actually done it, then :) The "look at and pause a bit" thing is generally speaking a pipe dream. Our visual system doesn't work that way. Once you have other input devices available, eye movement quickly becomes unnecessary. It's only useful as the last recourse.

            Do recall that our eye's area of highest resolution is a couple degrees across. The real "pointing error" when using eye movements, assuming no errors from the eye tracker at all (pipe dream too), is bound within +/- 5 deg

      • by lahvak ( 69490 )

        Considering that artists were painting or drawing on vertical or nearly vertical surfaces for many centuries, maybe it was just a particularly bad design that made the pen hard to use.

  • by SpazmodeusG ( 1334705 ) on Monday November 12, 2012 @12:46AM (#41954093)

    I recommend watching this video of Sketchpad narrated by Alan Kay []. You have to remember this is from 1963. It demonstrated copy and paste, rotation and scaling, a pointer based graphical interface, and more. Pretty damn impressive.

    • The Youtube comments are worth a read. Kids nowadays... [shakes head] I just want to know why the symbol editor in OrCAD still sucks so bad. Maybe I should send them the link to the video?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Is the source code of Sketchpad available?

    • was written in assembly language for the Lincoln Labs TX-2. Ivan has been asked by many people for the code and as far as I know he has never released it.

  • Ivan Sutherland, still alive and working at 74. Wow.

    • Er.. people staying alive and productive well into their 70s - and beyond - isn't exactly uncommon these days you know.

      • by tibit ( 1762298 )

        Anecdote: My grandma, as a professor, was going to the university department meetings well into her 70s.

        • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
          My father is in his eighties and still runs an accounting business. I believe, in fact, if he didn't, he would have wasted away being a retired couch potato, and would be dead by now otherwise. He often walks the three miles to his office (in Florida), and when he doesn't he goes out for walks otherwise just to keep moving. It's WHY he's in his eighties and still sharp and productive.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is a great story, and it's wonderful to hear Mr Sutherland still actively tackling computational problems when others have put their feet up.
    I've looked around for an implementation of Sketchpad to build and study, but have never found anything. Has no-one ever recreated it? I don't mean a modern CAD do-everything application, but an honest-to-gosh 100% faithful simulation, with 'hen-chicken' node relationships and a simulated bank of pushbuttons. I've thought about writing one myself (in C#, Javascrip

    • by tibit ( 1762298 )

      There was a download of a modern reimplementation running in a browser, done by Ivan's collaborators, but I've lost the links and couldn't find it merely looking around for stuff with Ivan's name on it :(

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