About: Interactive Media

"The reason that fish form schools, birds form flocks, and bees form swarms is that they are smarter together than they would be apart. They don't take a vote; they don't take a poll: they form a system. They are all interactive and make a decision together in real time."
- Louis B. Rosenberg

Laser Discs: More than a Hipster Punchline

Laser Disc

The analogue videodisc developed by NV Philips was the pioneering technology for interactive media. Additionally, there are several elements that encouraged the development of interactive media including the following:

  • The laser disc technology was first invented in 1958. It enabled the user to access high-quality analogue images on the computer screen. This increased the ability of interactive video systems.
  • The concept of the graphical user interface (GUI), which was developed in the 1970s, popularized by Apple Computer, Inc. was essentially about visual metaphors, intuitive feel and sharing information on the virtual desktop. Additional power was the only thing needed to move into multimedia.
  • The sharp fall in hardware costs and the unprecedented rise in the computer speed and memory transformed the personal computer into an affordable machine capable of combining audio and color video in advanced ways.
  • Another element is the release of Windows 3.0 in 1990 by Microsoft into the mainstream IBM clone world. It accelerated the acceptance of GUI as the standard mechanism for communicating with small computer systems.
  • The development by NV Philips of optical digital technologies built around the compact disk (CD) in 1979 is also another leading element in the interactive media development as it raised the issue of developing interactive media.

All of the prior elements contributed in the development of the main hardware and software systems used in interactive media.

Interactive media is related to the concepts interaction design, new media, interactivity, human computer interaction, cyberculture, digital culture, interactive design, and includes augmented reality.

An essential feature of interactivity is that it is mutual: user and machine each take an active role. Most interactive computing systems are for some human purpose and interact with humans in human contexts. Manovich complains that ‘In relation to computer-based media, the concept of interactivity is a tautology. .... Therefore, to call computer media “interactive” is meaningless – it simply means stating the most basic fact about computers.’ Nevertheless, the term is useful to denote an identifiable body of practices and technologies.

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