Saturday, February 26, 2011

AMD Open Sources Their Linux Video API

AMD has open sourced X-Video Bitstream Acceleration, their API by which they expose the Universal Video Decoder 2 GPU under Linux.

Check it out at with links to the XvBA documentation / header file. They have also setup an XvBA SourceForge page

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

Mark Cuban, on 3DTV

I find this really interesting. He's right. No one cared about 3D, where I would have thought Sports was the market for this.

The Most Interesting Thing About This Years Super Bowl

with out question is…… drum roll please…. 3D
the fact that no one asked if the game was being televised in 3D before hand.
No one talked about wanting to  watch in 3D
No one was upset that the game was not broadcast in 3D. There weren’t irate call ins to talk radio. In fact, I don’t think anyone realized that it wasn’t being broadcast in 3D because no one cared.
It was the same thing earlier in the season when the NBA did a game in 3D. Not a single person asked me about it. No one in the media brought it up. No one talked about watching it.  That is saying a lot.
The future of 3D is not sports. A bunch of guys are not going to spend a lot of money on glasses to look goofy sitting next to each other.  Nor will they sit on top of each other  to watch a non glasses 3D . (non glasses 3D requires viewing from right in front of the TV.)
That’s not to say that 3D doesn’t have a future on TV. 3D will work for things people tend to watch alone or with one other person. If you bought the 3D TV. If you bought the glasses . You probably bought just a pair for yourself. Maybe a significant other or child.  Noticing that a movie is on in 3D and grabbing the glasses, that could work. Noticing that a travel show is in 3D (say… Get Out from HDNet , now shooting in 3D) and grabbing your glasses works. Again, any show that you would typically watch by yourself, it’s no problem grabbing the glasses and chilling in front of the TV.  It’s a unique experience when you want something different. It can really make some shows a lot more interesting.
Having to buy a bunch of glasses for you and your buddies to watch the game…..too much risk that someone takes a picture of the group and posts it on Facebook. That shit lives forever…..

Internet Video vs Traditional TV battle

Here are some good articles from Mark Cuban's blog.


Tracking video projector.

Jon Howell came up system which projects his name his office door. The thing is, his office door slides on tracks so he made a projector that can follow the movement of that screen. He used a laser printer to make a black and white pattern that indexes the movement of the door using a quadrature encoder. When it senses door movement a servo motor rotates the projector to match the change in the door’s location. As you can see in the video after the break it works even if the door is moved quickly.