Tuesday, April 8, 2014

FaceTime Imagined in 1879

In his book, The Design of Everyday Things, Don Norman includes the picture below.

This drawing, from 1879, shows a picture of a mother and father interacting with their children via video chat.  The fact that this was conceived even before early movie cameras is an amazing testament to the vision and imagination of the artist.

"On Screen"

The drawing reminded me of the viewing screen on the Star Ship Enterprise from the Star Trek television series and movies.  All of the captains of various Space Federation star ships have said, "On screen," in order to have tactical, communications, or other information displayed on the main monitor on the ship's bridge.

Current video technology has not yet achieved the smoothness and real-time speed without data interruptions portrayed in both of these imaginative and fictional portrayals.  Perhaps we'll get there someday.

Stretch Goal

Clearly, in 1879, the technology did not exist as imagined in the scene.  That did not stop the artist from drawing what he thought the future might look like.

What can you imagine or design today that might eventually be a reality in 150 (or more) years?

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