Project Description: This was an investigation of interactive television where the viewers create the programming content instead of choosing between more professionally produced alternatives. Urban design, architecture and interior design become interface tools as Manhattan cable viewers were invited to navigate around a virtual world using the buttons on their telephone. Within the world viewers encountered pictures, sounds and video that had been sent in by other viewers using modem, fax, telephone and Ethernet. The messages seen on TV are also available for distribution over these networks. I conceived, designed and programmed this automated television program. This work was widely written up and presented at numerous conferences such as Imagina in Monte Carlo and the New York Interactive Association. It aired three nights a week on Manhattan Cable Television and was sponsored by NYNEX. It became a showpiece for the department.
I worked with Red Burns, Lili Cheng, Nai Wai Hsu, Eric Fixler and about a million others.
Technical Notes: V.P.L.s virtual reality software on an SGI machine was used to render the imagery in real-time. The SGI machine was located at the Medical School and the video output had to travel across Manhattan making use of several different technologies with an Ethernet connection going back to control the SGI. The system also made use of a Video Toaster on an Amiga, for mixing video and various boxes for telephone voice and touch-tone telephone input. A Macintosh, running HyperCard was the main program for serving up media.