The Ultimate Display (1962)

Segue abaixo um trecho do ensaio “The Ultimate Display” de Ivan Edward Sutherland um dos pioneiros da computação gráfica, criador de um dos primeiros sistemas interativos de desenho por computador, o Sketchpad em 1962, entre outros desenvolvimentos. Esta é uma versão comentada pelo escritor de ficção científica Bruce Sterling (((os comentários estão entre parênteses)).

Sterling faz referências aos desenvolvimentos atuais da tecnologia, por exemplo no campo da realidade virtual, dos games e outras areas, reforçando o caráter visionário do texto. Para ele, “The Ultimate Display” está para realidade aumentada na mesma maneira como o texto classivo “As We May Think” (1945)  de Vannevar Bush está para as redes de computadores.

Leia o texto completo com comentários de Bruce Sterling aqui

[…] We live in a physical world whose properties we have come to know well through long familiarity. We sense an involvement with this physical world which gives us the ability to predict its properties well. For example, we can predict where objects will fall, how well-known shapes look from other angles, and how much force is required to push objects against friction. (((In-world physics.)))

We lack corresponding familiarity with the forces on charged particles, forces in non-uniform fields, the effects of nonprojective geometric transformations, and high-inertia, low friction motion. A display connected to a digital computer gives us a chance to gain familiarity with concepts not realizable in the physical world. It is a looking glass into a mathematical wonderland. (((Virtual reality, MMORPGs, simulators.)))

Computer displays today cover a variety of capabilities. Some have only the fundamental ability to plot dots. (((Dot-matrix.))) Displays being sold now generally have built in line-drawing capability. (((Vector graphics.))) An ability to draw simple curves would be useful. (((NURBS, splines, CAD-CAM.))) Some available displays are able to plot very short line segments in arbitrary directions, to form characters or more complex curves. (((Processing.))) Each of these abilities has a history and a known utility.

It is equally possible for a computer to construct a picture made up of colored areas. Knowlton’s movie language, BEFLIX [1], (((MPEG, AVI, .mov))) is an excellent example of how computers can produce area-filling pictures. No display available commercially today has the ability to present such area-filling pictures for direct human use. It is likely that new display equipment will have area-filling capability. We have much to learn about how to make good use of this new ability.

The most common direct computer input today is the typewriter keyboard. Typewriters are inexpensive, reliable, and produce easily transmitted signals. As more and more on-line systems are used, it is likely that many more typewriter consoles will come into use. Tomorrow’s computer user will interact with a computer through a typewriter. He ought to know how to touch type. (((With his thumbs, on a “typewriter” touchscreen the size of a matchbox.)))

A variety of other manual-input devices are possible. The light pen or RAND Tablet stylus serve a very useful function in pointing to displayed items and in drawing or printing for input to the computer. The possibilities for very smooth interaction with the computer through these devices is only just beginning to be exploited. (((Mouse, trackpad.)))

RAND Corporation has in operation today a debugging tool which recognizes printed changes of register contents, and simple pointing and moving motions for format relocation. Using RAND’s techniques you can change a digit printed on the screen by merely writing what you want on top of it. If you want to move the contents of one displayed register into another, merely point to the first and “drag” it over to the second. (((”Drag and drop.”))) The facility with which such an interaction system lets its user interact with the computer is remarkable.

Knobs and joysticks (((”knobs and joysticks”))) of various kinds serve a useful function in adjusting parameters of some computation going on. For example, adjustment of the viewing angle of a perspective view is conveniently handled through a three-rotation joystick. (((AR-capable mobile with compass, GPS, accelerometer.))) Push buttons with lights are often useful. (((Power button, mobile keypad.))) Syllable voice input should not be ignored. (((Voice recognition.))) […]

Colaborou:  Francisco Arlindo Alves

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