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October 4th, 2012

digital communication isn't exactly as imaginedFrom our earliest days we humans have let our imaginations run wild. Of the dreams that have come true over the last few millennia, some are considered nightmares now (nuclear power, for instance). In Top 10 Tech Dreams that Came True, Part 1, we looked at such wonders as submarines, earbuds, and the modern office (as opposed to The Office, which no one could have predicted). But do you realize how far back the ideas for video chat, radar, and the iPad  go? Read and learn! And remember, your dreams can come true, too.

Top 10 Tech Dreams that Came True, Part 2 (6-10)

6. Video Chat, 1911 – AT&T debuted its “Picturephone” at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. It didn’t catch on due to bulky equipment, user-unfriendly controls, and poor video resolution. Today, Skype and FaceTime (the videochat service on all Apple devices from iPhones to the iMac) offer simple, free, and crystal-clear connections.

7. The iPad, 1968 – It was Arthur C. Clarke, once again, who foresaw tablet PCs and e-readers. In 2001: A Space Odyssey, the astronauts used a small, handheld “newspad” to “scan the latest reports from Earth [in] the world’s major electronic papers.” After choosing what stories to read, a simple tap on each “postage-stamp-size rectangle would expand [it] until it nearly filled the screen.” Exactly!

8. Automatic Doors, 1899 – While today’s ecologically minded engineers focus on greening conventions and saving energy, labor-savers like automatic doors were once the height of futuristic fantasizing. Here’s Wells again, from When the Sleeper Wakes: “The two men…walked straight to the dead wall of the apartment… a long strip of this apparently solid wall rolled up with a snap, hung over the two retreating men and fell again.”

9. Tanks, 1903 – The first tank battle took place in 1916, although Leonardo Da Vinci designed various armored vehicles in the 15th century. Warfare changed in a big way during World War I, as the Industrial Revolution made previously unthinkable technology possible. Weapons systems were being developed as swiftly, and with as much public excitement, as high-tech gadgets are introduced today.

10. Radar, 1911 – Hugo Gernsback precisely described radar in his 12-part serial from 1911, Ralph 124C 41+. Guglielmo Marconi didn’t develop a device to detect remote objects by reflected signals until 1933, but would have recognized Gernsback’s description: Radio waves “can be reflected in the same manner as a light ray is reflected,” and when sent “back to the sending apparatus” will show the target’s speed and direction.

CRE will keep you, your projects, and your company moving forward with the right speed and direction, too. With everything from the best PC rentals to network attached storage, CRE is your one-stop shop for technology and trade shows. One call or e-mail, or a visit to the Quick Rental Quote page, is all it takes. Call, write or click now!

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