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Apple Research Labs

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Apple Computer has a number of innovative new technologies in the works. Here's a preview.

Engineers at Apple Research Laboratories are working to shape the hot new technologies of the future. HotSauce MCF (for Meta-Content Format), for instance, is a language for encoding information about information - or "content," as it's referred to on the Internet. Meta-content is information about this content; it's anything that refers to, describes, or indexes content. Web hierarchies (such as Yahoo!), e-mail headers, and the Macintosh desktop database are all examples of meta-content. HotSauce MCF-based applications will help users look at information in new ways, and will make it easier for users to locate the Internet or intranet information they are searching for.

As Don Norman, Apple Fellow and head of Apple Research Laboratories, notes, "It is ever more important to develop a humane technology, one that takes into account the needs and capabilities of people."





Also under development is a toolkit code-named "MacHeadroom" that manages the synchronization of MacinTalk Pro synthesized speech with animations stored in QuickTime movies. A performer makes various lip and eye movements in front of a camera, and these movements are tracked using computer-assisted tracking software. The tracked features are then mapped automatically onto scanned photographs or drawings of characters, eliminating many of the tedious steps previously associated with computer animation. By synchronizing lip animations using QuickTime and MacinTalk, the user can make characters talk simply by typing in text.

Hyper Sprites

How do you make multimedia developers start salivating? We showed them a demo that takes multimedia interactivity to the next level. Code-named "Hyper Sprites," this new technology enables users to interact with a scene, seeing their faces reflected on metallic objects in real time, or driving simulations built into the graphics. Here, a rippling pond reflects a real scene, and you can create ripples in the water just by dragging your mouse across it.

3-D Finder


Folders reveal their internal hierarchies in a compact form.

Windows can be moved back in three dimensions, while objects in the window retain their functionality.

Window borders show visual context for objects outside the visible area.

To help users with spatial organization, 3D-Esque's 3D-like rendering gives windows and folders a sense of depth.


Using morphing software developed in Apple Research Laboratories, a fully textured cartoon character is made to jump like a kangaroo. A modeling and motion technology code-named "Pantograph" will enable nonexperts to express themselves in 3-D modeling and animation. Providing motion blending and editing tools that even a novice could use, Pantograph maps and transfers motion characteristics from one animated model to another.


Forget surfing - and take up flying instead. This new technology, called HotSauce, graphically represents the content of a web site, enabling users to "fly" through the site to find the information they need. It also lets you navigate Gopher sites, your desktop, and practically any other information repository.

Find By Content

Find By Content, based on Apple's new information access toolkit (code-named "V-Twin"), will enable users to search not just the names and attributes of their files, but the contents as well-without learning a complex query language. Users can order searches in their own words (for example, "vintage motorcycle engines"), and Find By Content will find all files related to the topic. V-Twin uses an advanced fuzzy-retrieval technique that displays, in order of relevance, how well each file matches the search request. Users can even ask Find By Content to "find files like this one."

Research Notes

See Also