THE HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF MULTIMEDIA:

A STORY OF INVENTION, INGENUITY AND VISION.

Today multimedia might be defined as the seamless digital integration of text, graphics, animation, audio, still images and motion video in a way that provides individual users with high levels of control and interaction. The evolution of Multimedia is a story of the emergence and convergence of these technologies.

As these technologies developed along separate paths for disparate purposes, visionaries saw the possibilities for the sum of the parts as well potential personal application in the broader societal context This chapter highlights visionaries and technological developments from the development of the printing press to the emergence of the WWW .

"The historian, with a vast chronological account of a people, parallels it with a skip trail which stops only at the salient items, and can follow at any time contemporary trails which lead him all over civilisation at a particular epoch. There is a new profession of trailblazers, those who find delight in the task of establishing useful trails through the enormous mass of the common record. The inheritance from the master becomes, not only his additions to the world's record, but for his disciples the entire scaffolding by which they were erected." Vannevar Bush (1945).

This chapter is constructed around five themes developed over a time line. Presented within an interactive timeline framework, the reader has the option to pursue elaboration with a click of the mouse.

Visionaries: From the ingenious idea of the programmable computer, trace the innovations of the outstanding thinkers that had a direct impact on the explosion of the technological age.

Text, Processing and Software: Inventions and innovations that spawned the development of software enabling computers to move from mathematical processing to technology that creates and delivers multi media.

Computers: From the printing press through the exclusive military and academic and corporate worlds trace computer development into the ubiquitous role of the desktop personal computer of today.

Audio & Communication: From the telegraph signal to cellular telephones, follow the development from signal transmission to digital transmission of voice

Video &Animation: From manually manipulated negative film and hand drawn sketches, video and animation develops to sophisticated digital creation and rendering of motion

 

Chapter Contents

Case study

Pre 20th Century

1900 - 1933

1934 - 1945

1946 - 1956

1957 - 1964

1965 - 1974

1975 - 1979

1980 - 1989

1990 - date

credits

 

 

Time & Vision Text , Processing & Software Computers Audio & Telecommunication Video & Animation
Pre20th Century        
1455 Printing Press Gutenberg and Caxton, movable type printing      
1780

FRANKLIN

  Franklin discovers electricity    
1822

BABBAGE

   Charles Babbage designs the Difference Engine    
1833

LADY BYRON

  Babbage designs Analytical Machine, often considered to be the fist general-purpose computer.

Lady Byron writes programs for the machine

   
1837

MORSE

    Telegraph receiver and transmitter  
1839       Daguerreotype: photographs produced using a paper negative
1854

BOOLE

  George Boole: develops binary mathematical language of 1’s and 0’s (Boolean Algebra)    
1858     Transatlantic cable laid  
1867 Remington Manual Typewriter      
1876

BELL

    telephone  
1879

EDISON

     

Granted a phonograph patent

 
1886   Burroughs: First commercially successful adding machine.    
1888

 

 

    Mood Music for Film: Musical scores sent along for organ accompaniment

Gramophone: disks manually rotated @ 70 rpm

Film: Sequential photographs with sprockets manually pulled through a projector

 

1890

HOLLERITH

Tabulating Machine for the U.S. Gov.Census using punch cards. The tabulating machine later became IBM.

Back to Contents

Time & Vision Text , Processing & Software Computers Audio & Telecommunication Video & Animation
1900-1933
1920     Commercial radio: KDKA Pittsburgh  
1925     Electronically recorded sound discs

AT&T’s Bell labs allow recording of whole symphonies

 
1927     "Talkies": The first commercial talkie film using optical sound recording.

Juke Box: Automatic Music Instrument Company –coin operated phonograph

Telephone becomes operational between London and New York.

"The Jazz Singer" starring Al Jolsen.

 

 First public demonstration of T.V.

1928

DISNEY

      "Steamboat Willie" first cartoon with a fully synchronized soundtrack
1931

ZUSE

  Conrad Zuse

First calculator.

   
1932     Magnetic tape

BASF introduces magnetic tape recording

 
1933     Dudley

Vocoder – voice coder

 

Back to Contents

Time & Vision Text , Processing & Software Computers Audio & Tele-communication Video & Animation
1934 - 1945        
1936

TURING

  "Turing’s Machine" defined as capable of computing any calculable function    
1937       "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" the first full-length animation is released.
1939

ATANASOFF

  John Atanasoff and Clifford Berry design a prototype of the ABC computer (the first automated digital computer).    
1940       First colour T.V.broadcast.
1941   "Colossus" built for the British military from Alan Turing’s design    
1943   Zuse – Z3: First machine to work on a binary system rather than decimal system.    
1945

BUSH

 "As we may think" in the Atlantic Monthly Memex    

Back to Contents

Time & Vision Text , Processing & Software Computers Audio & Telecommunication Video & Animation
1946 - 1956        
1946

MAUCHLY

  ENIAC Electronic Numerator Integrator and Calculator the first successful high speed digital computer. However, it used the same concepts that Atanasoff and Berry used to build the ABC computer.    
1948   Shockley, Bardeen and Brattain develop the transistor. More reliable and cheaper to run than vacuum tubes. Open reel tape recorder by Magnecord  
1951   UNIVAC Computer used magnetic tape for buffer memory.    
1952   IBM 701: First electronic stored computer that used vacuum tubes, RAM, punch cards and was the size of a piano.    
1953 Electric typewriter      
1954     Transistor radio: First commercial use of transistor radio developed in 1947 @ Bell labs  
1956     First Transaltantic telephone cable CBS broadcast

First network broadcast using video tape.

Back to Contents

Time & Vision Text , Processing & Software Computers Audio & Telecommunication Video & Animation
1957 - 1964        
1957     Sputnik launched  
1958   CRAY: Builds the CDC 1604 for Control Data Corporation. The first fully transistorized supercomputer.

Texas Instruments develops the first Integrated Circuit. Solves the problems of speed, size and wiring.

   
1959   Second generation computer introduced by IBM. Used transistors instead of vacuum tubes.    
1960   Removable disks

Paul Baran sees a communications network different than the traditional point to point links. He envisioned a "fishnet network".

   
1963   CAD (Computer Aided Design)

Sketchpad uses the first light pen.

 

 Phillips first compact audio cassette.

First home video tape recording
1964

McLUHAN

"Understanding Media" postulates the global village. Third generation of computers included the photo printing of conductive circuit boards to eliminate wiring.    

Back to Contents

Time & Vision Text , Processing & Software Computers Audio & Telecommunication Video & Animation
1965 - 1974        
1965

NELSON

Xanadu hypertext project      
1969

VanDAM

Development of hypertext editing system   Dolby labs produces Dolby noise reduction for prerecorded tapes  
1970   Fourth generation computer by IBM uses chips to reduce size and cost.    
1971   Intel 4004 chip developed by Hoff. Computers can now be owned by individuals.    
1972

 

      Phillips laserdisc playback only deck

PONG, first commercial video game

1973 Metcalf outlines ideas for ethernet   Kahn &Cerf present ideas for structure of Internet  
1974   Intel 8080 microprocessor which was to be used in many PC’s.    

Back to Contents

Time & Vision Text , Processing & Software Computers Audio & Telecommunication Video & Animation
1975 - 1979        
1975

GATES

  Microsoft is founded by Bill Gates.  DND takes over ARPANET  SONY Betamax VCR with a one hour, inch video cassette tape.
1976       JVC introduces VHS format.
1977

JOBS & WOZNIAK

  Apple was founded by Steven Jobs and Steve Wozniak  Email provided to 100 researchers  
1978     First commercially available cell phone  
1979 VisiCalc: the first spreadsheet

Wordstar: word processing package is released.

  Walkman: SONY introduces a portable audio cassette player.

First MUD, MUD1, by Richard Bartle and Roy Trubshaw at U of Essex

Beginning of on-line services with CompuServe and The Source.

 

Back to Contents

Time & Vision Text , Processing & Software Computers Audio & Telecommunication Video & Animation
1980-1989
1980 Word Processing Machine

Single purpose machine with limited storage on magnetic material.

    SONY introduces the consumer camcorder
1981 The MS-DOS, or Microsoft Disk Operating System Adam Osborne completed the first portable compute Apollo Computer unveiled the first work station  
1982  Lotus 1-2-3, software writes directly into the video system of the IBM PC   First digital audio 5’’ compact disc.  Computer-generated graphics in movies step forward with Disney's "Tron."
1983   First PC clone Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) introduced

Internet is born

TCP/IP protocol

 
1984
ENGLEBART
 W. Gibson in Neuromancer coins the term "cyberspace." Apple Computers introduces the Macintosh with the first mouse driven GUI (Graphical User Interface). 3 1/2-inch "microfloppy" diskette

DNS: domain name server introduced

voicemail developed

 
1985 Desktop publishing

Aldus PageMaker for the Macintosh

   NSFNET: linking five universtiy supercomputer centers

(550 mg)CD-ROMs evolve from CDs on which music is recorded.

 
1986    optical transistor patented, a component central to digital optical computing.   SONY Betamax removed from consumer shelves
1987  Hypercard : Apple (1987) actually hypermedia (nonsequential links to documents) includes authoring system -tool for building interactive hypermedia documents (Authorware Model,Linkway)   First digital audio tape players  
1988  Robert Morris' worm flooded the ARPANET.     3D Graphics: 3D graphical supercomputers

Pixar's "Tin Toy": the first computer-animated film to win an Academy Award,

1989 Handwriting recognition is introduced by grid with a touch sensitive pad on a lap top computers. Battery powered ,fully functional notebook computer. Corporation for Research and Education Networking (CREN) is formed by merging CSNET into BITNET

 

 Maxis released SimCity, a sophisticated video game launching a new genre 'simulation'.

Back to Contents

Time & Vision Text , Processing & Software Computers Audio & Telecommunication Video & Animation
1990-date
1990 IBM, Tandy AT &T, and others announce the software specifications for multimedia platforms.

ARCHIE

IBM, Tandy AT &T, and others announce the hardware specifications for multimedia platforms.  The birth of theWorld Wide Web Tim Berners-Lee, develops HTML ( HyperText Markup Language)  
1991 GOPHER

PGP encryption released by Phillip Zimmerman

National Science Foundation lifts ban on commerce on the Internet.
1992

BERNERS LEE

VERONICA World Wide Web
1993

 

Mosaic developed by M. Andreessen  Internet
1994 Internet goes interactive; shopping, banking, live concerts, radio broadcasting, spamming  

 

1995 Private ISP becomes big business

Netscape goes public

Back to Contents

"Our failure to place affection and empathy at the centre of the educational process says something very grave about us, and I do not think it will be of much value for us to persevere unless we can learn to love our technology less and ourselves more." … Neil Postman (1996)

"In order that the picture may not be too commonplace, by reason of sticking to present-day patterns, it may be well to mention one such possibility, not to prophesy but merely to suggest, for prophecy based on extension of the known has substance, while prophecy founded on the unknown is only a doubly involved guess."Vannevar Bush (1945)

Before you become too entranced with gorgeous gadgets and mesmerizing video displays, let me remind you that information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom and wisdom is not foresight. Each grow out of the other and we need them all. Arthur C. Clark (1997)

 

References

Bargen, Jorn (1997) Hyperterrorists Timeline of Hypertext History ,[online ] Available http://www.mcs.net/~jorn/html/net/timeline.html

Bush, Vannevar. (1970) Pieces of the Action. William Morrow & Company: N.Y.

Bush, Vannevar. (1967) Science Is Not Enough. William Morrow & Company: N.Y.

Computer Museum History Center. (1997) Historic Timeline of Computing. [online] Available: http://www.net.org/history/timeline/index.html

Discovery Channel Online .(1998). Timeline of Internet History. [online] Available: http://www.discovery.com/DCO/doc/1012/world/technology/internet/inet2.html

Guay ,Tim (1997). Web Publishing Paradigms. [online] Available:
http://hoshi.cic.sfu.ca/~guay/Paradigm/Paradigm.html

Hackbarth, Steven. (1996) The Educational Technology Handbook : A Comprehensive Guide. Educational Technology Publications NJ.

History of Multimedia Technology (1997). Swinburne, University of Technology TAFE Division. [online] Available: http://swin.edu.au/tafe/aged/itissues/index.htm

Hoyle, M. A.(1994) Computers From the Past to Present. [online] Available: http://www.interpac.net/~eingang/Lecture/

Information Age Tour (1997) National Museum of American History. Smithsonian Photographs [online] Available: http://www.si.edu/resource/tours/comphist/computer.htmtoc1

LaMorte & Lilly. (1998). Computers: History and Development. Jones Telecommunications and Multimedia Encyclop[edia.[online] Available: http://www.digitalcentury.com/encyclo/update/comp_hd.html

Lienhard , John H.(1998) Engines of our Ingenuity. [online] Available: http://www.uh.edu/engines/engines.htm

PBS (1992) [Video] The Machine That Changed the World (v 1-4) WGBH Educational Foundation: Boston MA.

Zakon ,R. H.. (1998). Hobbes’ Internet.Timline v3.3. [online] Available: http://info.isoc.org/guest/zakon/Internet/History/HIT.html

Credits:

Barabash, Craig (Vannevar)

clbaraba@acs.ucalgary.ca

Kyllo, Janice (Ada)

jmkyllo@acs.ucalgary.ca