Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Starfire, the Inspiration for Surface

It's the day before Thanksgiving. You're not gonna be productive.

Click me to see the Starfire video

Bruce "Tog" Tognazzi posted this video about Starfire, a 1992 "Product of the Future" from Sun Microsystems...the great grandpappy of Microsoft Surface. It's must see TV for anyone in the multitouch space.

For my money, it's the first compelling "vision of the future" for multitouch and digital convergence. In a space where everyone is still awed by swirly paint programs, 16 years after the fact, Starfire is still ahead of the curve.

This video inspired a direction and significant research into the area of multitouch productivity at corporate research labs including Microsoft Center for Information Work and IBM's USER group, run by Ted Selker.

Bill Buxton, one of the early multitouch researchers (University of Toronto, Autodesk, EuroPARC, Microsoft) also cites Starfire as a significant project.


Sit back. Get some popcorn. Tell your boss it's research.

P.S.
This posting was modified to provide more context about the Starfire Project in response to Richard Monson-Haefel's comments. You can check out his blog at: http://theclevermonkey.blogspot.com/

Make yourself heard. Comment and join the party. What would you like to learn about?

4 comments:

  1. Well that was a big waste of my time. To suggest that Starfire was the inspiration for Surface is pretty silly in my opinion. The concept of touch screens has been around a lot longer than 2004. I don't know who credit goes to but its not Sun.

    Also, its no wonder Sun is cutting jobs - they probably spend 200k making that really horrible video.

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  2. Hi Richard,

    Please, by all means, give me a shout about any content suggestions or projects of your own that you would like to share.

    You are correct, research into multitouch has been going on since the early '80s. The Starfire video you are ragging on was actually produced in produced in 1992.

    It's important for people who are new to this space to see projects like these...even if they are poorly produced industrial hoo ha.

    For my money, it's the first compelling "vision of the future" for multitouch and digital convergence. In a space where everyone is still awed by swirly paint programs, 16 years after the fact, Starfire is still ahead of the curve.

    This video inspired a direction and significant research into the area of multitouch productivity at corporate research labs including Microsoft Center for Information Work and IBM's USER group, run by Ted Selker.

    Bill Buxton, one of the early multitouch researchers (University of Toronto, Autodesk, EuroPARC, Microsoft) also cites Starfire as a significant project.

    Look forward to continuing the conversation.

    ~Jonathan

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  3. Jonathan,

    I commented on your comment to my blog post about multi-touch and telepresence, but I didn't make the connection between you and Microsoft at the time.

    I'll have to spend some time looking a your blog post- you have some interesting stuff.

    I'd like to see tabletop computing systems used for collaborative interactive information visualization and data analysis.

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  4. Hi Jonathan,

    Thanks for taking my comment in stride. I'm looking forward to continuing our conversation in the future.

    All the best,

    Richard

    ReplyDelete