animac

ANIMAC danceress
 

The picture above is a “photo montage featuring a dancer with body mounted sensors controlling real-time animation on the ANIMAC, 1962, Denver.”—another pre-cyberpunk cyberpunk-image.

Weird coincidence—provoked by my entries on Tron and the interaction with SFAM, I remembered that there was a student-project in gamedesign which culminated in writing a full-fledged 3D-engine. The final product was a racing-game based on the solar sailor seen in the movie Tron. Unfortunately I couldn’t find anything about it on my HDD, so I went on searching the Internet. During the search I stumbled over A Critical History of Computer Graphics and Animation, which is a tremendous resource. As I am prone to get lost in resources like that, I saved the link and for now refrained from diving into it. About half an hour later I checked the Anthropology Newspaper and discovered Seapixy’s Consumption—Tales for a modern anthropology … modern anthropology, commodities, consumption, cultural appropriation—all right, that’s a blog to read! Et voilà, there’s an entry on Computerized Visual Imagery. And within this entry there is, you guessed it, a hint to Tron (“I saw Tron, marvelling at this early CGI attempt.”) and a link to A Critical History of Computer Graphics and Animation at Ohio State. There is voodoo on the net. Seapixy hints to Section 12:
Analog approaches, non-linear editing, and compositing
, which indeed carries an amazing story:
 

Perhaps one of the earliest pioneers of this analog computer animation approach was Lee Harrison III. In the early 1960s, he experimented with animating figures using analog circuits and a cathode ray tube. Ahead of his time, he rigged up a body suit with potentiometers and created the first working motion capture rig, animating 3D figures in real-time on his CRT screen. He made several short films with this system, called ANIMAC.

Wikipedia is at a loss concerning this topic, but the second part of the catalogue accompanying the Ars Electronica 1992 has some substantial information:
 

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