Saturday, February 26, 2011

Way before Kinect there was Pantomation in 1978

Pantomation was a very early tracking chromakey system from the 1970s. Originally intended for music scoring, the system was adapted to other styles of performance art. While crude by modern standards, the concept was decades ahead of its time; it can reasonably be considered an early forebear of systems like Microsoft's Project Natal.

On Slashdot: Kinect's Grandaddy Running On an Apple IIe In 1978
"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."

The Slashdot article title is incorrect.   Apple IIe didn't exist in 1978.  It was probably an Apple II (released in 1977). The Apple IIe wasn't released until 1983. 

The mini-computer they talk about in this video is the PDP-8/L

Read more:
Video History Project: Electronic Body Arts

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