I’m pretty sure all of you who saw Minority Report were in awe at all the great technology featured in it. The film is now 7 years old and still manages to amaze.
A lot of the things we saw in the movie are becoming reality; we’ve got electric cars on the roads (though not in huge numbers), we are already able to browse content or play video games with our hands and feet, and electronic paper is being perfected at this very moment.
One of the things that always intrigued me – amongst others – was how the videos were controlled in the movie. Instead of pressing play and pause, the videos were directly manipulated – rewound, played and sped up – with simple, intuitive gestures.
Again, the quick progress of technology has caught up, allowing us to tick off this feature on our Minority Report list as well
DimP is an application that makes this very thing possible. It’s a direct manipulation video player, but what exactly does that mean?
Well, instead of watching an elevator go up, or a car drive down a road, we can grab the objects in question, and drag them along their path. To put it very simply, we use the objects of the film as timeline sliders.
DimP does this by calculating the motion paths of every element in the video, and by matching them up with the timeline. You can then grab any object, and drag it along its motion path.
The video itself won’t be altered, as DimP stores the motion paths of each individual video in a MOTION file. Holding on to these files will speed up later usage, but if discarded, you can easily have them recreated in a timely fashion.
There are various uses for this kind of software. Besides the fact that it’s extremely fun to drag your way across videos, research has also proven that “completion time for in-scene navigation tasks” are reduced by an average of 19 to 42 percent.
DimP will also come in handy if you need to watch a video in great detail. Security footage, for instance, or lab recordings, can be viewed in the needed pace. Have a closer look at the details of every move.
Macintosh users (running OS X 10.5 Leopard or later) should check out DRAGON, a very similar, Mac-exclusive program. DimP is currently limited to AVI-, DRAGON to MOV files.
Do you see a future in this technology? What do you like or dislike about it? Perhaps you know another, even better application that does the job. Tell us all about it in the comments!