The technology behind CNN

I gotta say, I can’t think of a time in my career when I’m been more impressed and just blown away at the innovation and use of technology, than what CNN has done in the past 6-12 months. Have you see "The Situation Room" or see the election coverage tonight? Between the "wall" they have and the "smart board" (touch screen plasma with "Microsoft Surface"-style interface) – and tonight, they actually used a hologram!! Check it out:
 
 
 
Now, I know – it’s a little bit cheesy in a Princess Lea sort of way ("Help me Wolf Blitzer, you’re my only hope!"), until the camera in the Situation Room start rotating around her, and the "hologram" still looked correct! She explained that she was being recorded by several cameras all around her, and the image is recreated on the other side, based on the angle of the camera in the studio. Pretty cool!
 
Again, the quality was low and it was a little bit of a gimick, but it shows a tremendous drive for innovation and is a good example how they continue to leverage technology, not for "technologys sake" – but to bring a more complete, interesting and understandable user experience!
 
I did send off an e-mail to CNN to get more information on the technologies that they use. It seems to me – with the touch screen stuff – and with how "the wall" works, it has to be either:
 
  • Adobe Flex
  • Microsoft WPF and Surface computing
  • Some gaming engine

My guess, based on what’s on cnn.com is it’s all Flex-based – but the "smart board", I would guess – is MS Surface computing EXCEPT, I remember reading that, that works by using a projector and sensors, so it couldn’t reasonably work on a plasma/LCD monitor. So – who knows?!! VERY cool stuff though – I’ll post back if I ever hear back from them…

Posted in New Technology, Uncategorized

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