multimedia technology[¦məl·tə‚mēd·ē·ə tek′näl·ə·jē]
Computer-based, interactive applications having multiple media elements, including text, graphics, animations, video, and sound. Multimedia technology refers to both the hardware and software used to create and run such systems.
The mode of delivery for each application depends on the amount of information that must be stored, the privacy desired, and the potential expertise of the users. Applications that require large amounts of data are usually distributed on CD-ROMs, while personal presentations might be made directly from a computer using an attached projector. Advertising and some training materials are often placed on the WWW for easy public access. Museums make use of multimedia kiosks with touch screens and earphones. See Internet
Multimedia products may be created and run on the commonly used computer environments. Multimedia system users may employ a variety of input devices in addition to the keyboard and mouse, such as joysticks and trackballs. Touch screens provide both input and display capabilities and are often the choice when potentially large numbers of novices may use the system. Other display devices include high-resolution monitors and computer projectors. Generally the abundance of graphics and video in multimedia applications requires the highest resolution and deepest color capacity possible in display devices.
Input devices for the creation of multimedia applications include graphics tablets, which are pressure-sensitive surfaces for drawing with special pens; digital cameras, which take pictures electronically; and scanners, which convert existing pictures and graphics into digital form. Other hardware devices, such as a video card and video digitizing board, are required both to create and to play digital video elements.
The hardware for incorporating sound elements into multimedia systems includes microphones, voice-recognition systems, sound chips within the computer, and speakers, which come in a wide variety of forms with varying capabilities and quality.
The future of multimedia technology is dependent upon the evolution of the hardware. As storage devices get faster and larger, multimedia systems will be able to expand, and increased use of DVD should result in improved quality. Rising network speeds will increase the possibility of delivering multimedia applications over the WWW. Currently, Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) is used for some WWW applications and may drastically expand the multimedia experience. Virtual reality is becoming more realistic and will stretch the multimedia experience to envelop the user. The one certainty in multimedia technology is that it will continue to change, to be faster, better, and more realistic. See Virtual reality