Sunday, January 18, 2015

1981 contest for designing the phone of the year 2000

In 1981 a competition was held in Holland to design the "Phone from the year 2000" to honour 100 years of telephony. Three age categories were allowed to participate: 13-15 years, 16 to 18 years, 19 to 25 years. In each category the grand prize was a trip to Cape Canaveral. A selection from the thousands of submissions was gathered in the book "Hello, this is the future". As a kid i got the book from my mom who used to work as a phone operator back then. It got lost at some point, but as the gadget loving adult that i became, i never forgot about it. How were peoples perceptions of the "phones from the future?". I wanted to get my hands on it, but it was extremely hard to find. Here are some of the entries.
"Every phone will have a video screen. Because people arent alway ready to show their faces, there's a button to disable it."

"in 2000, a microphone will be embedded in the pinky and a receiver in the thumb. The hand will be modified to an antenna. It will no longer be needed to dial number: simply say it out loud and the antenna will connect you with a computer unit which will transfer you. A vibration in the thumb will notify you of incoming calls"

"Phone - bankcard - calculator - wallet."
In general most contestants agree that the phone of 2000 will be portable and wireless, something to always carry with you: a personal device.

"the watch-O-phone can show the time, has a caculator and a stopwatch"

COMP. STIFT-PHONE (Computer Space Telephone Internation for telecommunication)

This phone's main purpose is to easily communicate, with added attention for disabled persons: it has subtiles in realtime for deafs and buttons in relief for blinds. Can be used to play chess and checkers and have video calls. It has a pull out map with several "sectors": for a phonecall  to New York, the pen is used to tip sector 17. Below the sector sits a chip that will connect you to new york via a satellite. You will then simply need to dial the person's number you want to call. Comes with an earbud for private phonecalls, an alarm and a built in tape recorder.

"In the future, phones will have an electronic agenda"

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