DEAF04 - Affective Turbulance

V2_: DEAF04 - Affective Turbulance


techreport: WIMP - *-pike

30 Nov 2004 , report

The DEAF04 techreports try to provide technical insight in a selection of DEAF04 projects. They are aimed at an audience of programmers and project managers and may require some technical background.

At DEAF04, WIMP is on display in a closed booth. Inside the booth, a generic PC displays the familiar Microsoft Windows desktop. On top of the screen, there is a webcam. As you move around the booth, the webcam detects motion and activates the WIMP software: the desktop suddenly scatters and turns into a animating mosaic.

WIMP is the name of the installation, which is appropriate, since it displays the "Windows, Icons, Menus and Pointers" of Microsoft Windows. WIMP is also the name of the software, which seems less appropriate, since it could transform any image on screen into similar mosaics: when WIMP starts, it takes a screenshot and uses that as a texture for OpenGL calls.

WIMP (the application, not the source) can be downloaded for free from the WIMP website. The requirements are, naturally, Windows, preferably Windows XP or 2000, and a videocard with enough OpenGL support.


WIMP (the software) was written by Victor Laskin in Borland's Delphi. Delphi is described by Borland as an "Object Pascal-based visual development environment", but it's also just a programming language. The Personal Edition is free for non-commercial use only. To purchase fully licensed versions of Borland products visit

   more about delphi:


OpenGL is a common programming interface for different video hardware vendors. If you have a big new videocard, most of the graphic animation, especially 3D, is done on the video card. Software can directly send commands to the video card, getting full performance.
A lot of languages support OpenGL - this means that you can call methods on the video card to draw pixels, curves, polygons up to extrusions, polycones and toroids. Surfaces can be textured and drawn in perspectives.

Software developers do not need to license OpenGL to use it in their applications. Hardware vendors do need to have a license to create an OpenGL implementation for their hardware.

   more about opengl:

The future: .NET and Longhorn

Victor doesn't seem to be finished with WIMP yet. He anticipates the 3D Desktop promised by Microsoft in its new version of Windows ("Longhorn") and is looking forward to the .NET OpenGL solutions. When using such techniques, the WIMP software may grow to be a real Microsoft Windows animation add-on, juggling with the folders and icons it finds on your desktop...

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