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Entries in communication (9)

Wednesday
Aug102011

Crossing a telephone with a TV set in 1968

In this most gloriously futuristic year of 2011 we somehow find ourselves awash in videophones. In a way, they snuck up on us. And they most certainly didn't show up in the ways that people had been predicting them for decades. The videophone was to change the way we looked at home schoolingjob interviewsmedical diagnostics, and even dating.

One of my favorite examples of videophone predictions is from the 1993 AT&T concept video, Connections. After getting off a plane and meeting her family, a young woman wants to call her fiancee. But rather than reaching for her mobile phone the second the plane lands, she ventures to find the airport's video-payphones. Video-payphones, indeed!

With Skype, iChat, Google Hangouts, Facebook Video Chat, and Facetime, videophone technology is all around us. But most people rarely see the need. That is to say, it's not important to always see the person you're communicating with. I'll video chat with the odd friend or co-worker on occasion, and it's great to see family back in the Midwest on holidays, but more often than not it simply feels unnecessary, even though the technology is so easy and inexpensive.

The 1968 ad below depends on expensive infrastructure that hindered the widespread, pre-internet adoption of videophone technology. Produced for Western Electric, the ad can be found in the book The Golden Age of Advertising: The 60s.

 

Western Electric is crossing a telephone with a TV set.

What you'll use is called, simply enough, a Picturephone set. Someday it will let you see who you are talking to, and let them see you.

The Picturephone set is just one of the communications of the future Western Electric is working on with Bell Telephone Laboratories. Western Electric builds regular phones and equipment for your Bell telephone company. But we also build for the future.

 

 

Thursday
Feb102011

Cooking in the Future (1990s)

This clip from an early 1990's AT&T concept video shows a futuristic world of voice recognition, networked computing and nearly sentient robotic sous chefs. And yet our protagonist's computer doesn't even know the word "HURRY." But what our machines lack in vocabulary they more than make up for in obnoxious pop up coupons right on your phone!

 

I digitized this from a VHS tape but sadly don't have an exact date or name for it. You see, in the early days of the Paleofuture blog I started researching and digitizing every retrofuturistic artifact I could find at a frenzied and obsessive pace. So obsessive in fact, I would often forget to go to class. In my haste, I would sometimes get sloppy and not label every DV tape or image file. Any ideas about the exact title of this AT&T concept video are much appreciated.

 

Previously on Paleofuture:

 

Tuesday
Aug102010

Radio of the Future (1942)

 

The radio of the future is... a television? This 1942 ad for Admiral radios featured modernist designer Samuel A. Marx and his vision of a "radio of the future." Like most American visions of the future from the 1940s, this one is drenched in talk of war and what technological advancements are just around the corner; after the war.

Source: Duke University Libraries

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Sunday
Sep202009

International Travel of the Future (1932)

This illustration of international travel in the future, complete with robotic red-cap porters, appeared in the December 4, 1932 San Antonio Light (San Antonio, TX). It seems that all you need to do is step into the tube of your choice, then be shot out via capsule to your final destination.

The design has a very Rube Goldberg feel to it. Why one must first go down a slide, before ascending stairs couldn't be confirmed by presstime. The caption that accompanied the illustration is below.

INSTANTANEOUS INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL -- The artist here suggests the passenger terminals of the future, which, he thinks, will look quite different from the present steamship pier or railroad station. It will be noticed that everybody is equipped with a little personal radio antenna, and the arrivals and departures are announced by a mechanical man, while the red-cap porter is replaced by a robot who handles the luggage.

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Wednesday
May202009

Videophone "Progress" Newspaper Ad (1976)

The June 30, 1976 Blue Earth Post (Blue Earth, MN) ran this ad for the Blue Earth Valley Telephone Company, in which the videophone is presented as the inevitable next step in telephone technology.


Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Sunday
Mar222009

Radio-Newspaper Receiver for Home Use (1939)

With so much talk of late about how old media outlets are dying, it may be time to look at past visions of the media future. Not that they worked. Don't get any crazy ideas guys.

The image above is from the excellent blog Modern Mechanix and was featured in the May, 1939 issue of Popular Science.

Designed to fit the top of a commercial table receiver which it matches in cabinet style, a complete radio-newspaper receiver for home use has just been placed on the market. All necessary apparatus for receiving and printing news bulletins and pictures transmitted over the air are contained in the unit. The news is automatically printed on a continuous sheet of paper that unwinds from a roll as it is received. The instrument can be used in conjunction with any radio receiver, the manufacturer declares, provided it has an output of at least five watts.

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Sunday
May112008

Experimental City of the Future (1967)


The January 22, 1967 Lowell Sun (Lowell, MA) ran this illustration of an experimental city of the future.

Typical Experimental City may look like this. At left is computerized communications complex; at center lies atomic power plant, while at right is greenhouse for vegetables and greenery.


See also:
Transportation in 2000 A.D. (1966)
Personal Helicopter (1943)
Commuter Helicopter (1947)