Cartoon Filter for Digital Television

British inventors Matthew Roach and Mark Pawlewski have applied for a US patent for a software application that can control the amount of cartoon programming displayed on a digital TV.

You just need to watch any Saturday morning cartoon to learn that the plotless, seizure-inducing fare, no doubt designed to help that cereal sugar rush kick in nicely, consists mainly of a lot of frantic movement, solid colours and fast cuts.

Roach and Pawlewski’s software can detect animation in digital television’s MPEG2 stream, and react accordingly – even switching itself off after a predetermined time, for those parents who can’t be bothered monitoring their own children’s TV dosage.

The software will be featured in next week’s New Scientist magazine.

Detecting Cartoons – A Case Study (Postscript file)

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?