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Multimedia Integrated Workstations

Objective

It is well recognised that the workstation of the 1990s will be characterised by its ability to process multimedia information. This will provide support for the development of new applications that take advantage of the added value provided by combining traditional computer media and information systems with digital video and audio technology.

The goal of MULTIWORKS is to develop an office workstation that manipulates video, graphics, text, voice and sound with facilities comparable to those available today for traditional text and graphics media.
Multimedia integrated workstation (MULTIWORKS) is a technology integration project aiming to design an integrated multimedia workstation and a low cost delivery system for the office of the future. It is based on European technology and complies with international standards. Full use is made of high performance European reduced instruction set computer (RISC) technology, and speed of execution is ensured via access to state of the art very large scale integration (VLSI) technology. MULTIWORKS software also uses European technology for its operating system. It is UNIX compatible and will adhere to international standards.

The goal of the multimedia integrated workstations (MULTIWORKS) project was to develop an office workstation that manipulated video, graphics, text, voice and sound with facilities comparable to those available today for traditional text and graphics media.

2 system configurations are provided: a high cost authoring workstation, called MIW, and a low cost delivery system, called MIW-L. MIW is based on industry standard open 32-bit architecture with intelligent controllers to manage multimedia devices. The first example of MIW is the CP486 workstation available from Olivetti. It is expected that other partners of MULTIWORKS will develop different versions of it with compatible architectures. MIW-L is built around a highly integrated low cost workstation based on the ARM RISC processor developed by Acorn (UK). Both versions will be able to support the same operating software and applications.

MULTIWORKS provides:
a peripheral subsystem of intelligent controllers that manage the new multimedia devices;
enhanced user interfaces, including new interaction devices usch as voice input and electronic paper;
Unix operating system enhanced with real time features to handle multimedia;
a consistent object oriented programming environment for the development of traditional applications that use the new media;
a set of authoring tools based on hypertext and expert systems.

The combination of these features with advances in user interface design will produce a significant increase in user friendliness and thus usability of the system compared with products currently on the market.
This multimedia technology is just emerging in some specialised products. It is foreseen that a high volume market will develop by 1994. Since the results of MULTIWORKS will be available in 1992, there will be enough time for the industrial partners to evaluate them and incorporate some of the MULTIWORKS components in their multimedia products.

MULTIWORKS will be based on European technology and comply with international standards. Full use will be made of high-performance European hardware and design-on-silicon techniques. MULTIWORKS also uses European technology for its operating system, AI environment and applications. The project has a good mix of large and small companies. It is planned to last 4 years with significant results becoming available as spin-offs to the companies involved throughout the duration of the project, rather than just at its end.

Coordinator

Ingegneria C. Olivetti and C. SpA
Address
Via G. Jervis 77
10015 Ivrea
Italy

Participants (10)

AEG Olympia AG
Germany
Address
Bücklerstraße 1-5
78467 Konstanz
Acorn Computers Ltd
United Kingdom
Address
Acorn House Vision Park Histon
CB4 4AE Cambridge
BULL SA
France
Address
Tour Bull 1 Place Carpeaux
92800 Puteaux
Chorus Systèmes SA
France
Address
6 Avenue Gustave Eiffel
78182 Saint-quentin-en-yvelines
Harlequin Ltd
United Kingdom
Address
Barrington Hall Barrington
CB2 5RG Cambridge
International Computers Ltd (ICL)
United Kingdom
Address
Icl House 1 High Street Putney
SW15 1SW London
PHILIPS CONSUMER ELECTRONICS BV
Netherlands
Address
Pastoor Petersstr., 10-16, 218
5600 MD Eindhoven
PHILIPS KOMMUNIKATIONS INDUSTRIE GMBH
Germany
Address
Thurn-und-taxis-straße 10
90411 Nürnberg
TRIUMPH ADLER AG
Germany
Address
Hundingstraße 11B
90431 Nürnberg
Thomson Microelectronics Srl (SGS)
Italy
Address
Via Tolomeo 1
20010 Cornaredo Milano