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Editing digital video with a flick of the wrist
Human-computer interaction researcher wants to change the way we use computers

Gonzalo Ramos thinks he can take the toil out of editing digital video.

Ramos is a grad student in U of Tís human-computer interaction research group. Headed by professor Ravin Balakrishnan, the group aims to develop new methods of interacting with the technologies of the future.

The graphical interfaces we are accustomed to on Windows and Macintosh computers were invented three decades ago. The mouse is at least as old, and the keyboard is much older. As good as these ideas were, Balakrishnanís group believes we now need better ways of interacting with our technologies if we are to fully exploit them.

Ramos is figuring out a way for people to efficiently manipulate digital video so that it can be annotated, organized and shared effortlessly.

Currently, when we watch an interesting DVD movie or a film trailer online, the most we can do to share it is just to tell our friends where to find it. If we are really excited, we might even write down specific time markers and tell them about cool scenes at certain time intervals. Aside from that, there isnít much we can do.

Ramos is developing a system anyone can use to annotate digital video by adding notes and pictures and pulling out interesting scenes from video streams.

He demonstrated the system using a pen-input device. Move the pen to the right, the video plays. A quick tap and it pauses. With a flick to the left, the video rewinds.

As Ramos showed, he can grab entire scenes of a video, then stretch it out to view individual frames. Another few quick flicks of the wrist and he has completely spliced and reconnected the video to his fancy.

The system is more than just a fancy video editor. At any time while the video is playing, Ramos is able to write messages or draw pictures directly on or around the video frame. Reviewing the video, his comments fade in and out as the annotated scenes pass.

Ramos and his fellow researchers hope to develop a new way of looking at your computer. In our increasingly connected world, he hopes that one day, all our information will be interconnected and our media will be easily accessed and shared by all.
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