Monday, August 30, 2010

Vision of Mobile Phones in 1976

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 Vision of Mobile Phones in 1976

I am glad to see more and more information popping up on the Internet that identifies and reaffirms the exciting history of mobile telephones, originally called wireless telephones. I am and I believe I shall always be an advocate of this scientific technological advanced development. If there are details defining our science that can help people understand the history and future of mobile telephones then I want to know about it and let you know too.

In 2009 I set out historical reference relevant to mobile communications and telephones and in it referred to a particular important historical event, that being the first patented wireless telephone. "1908: Nathan B. Stubblefield invented and patented the first mobile telephone a 100-years ago."

A technological fact worth noting about Stubblefield's invention is that it did not make use of a computer central processing unit (CPU) which was not invented in 1908 and was many decades away. Thus mobile telephones were scientifically and technically defined then, as they are today, by the science with which the devices are intended to make use - wireless (radio signals)/telecommunications.

The Washington Post (February 20th 1910) ran a story of a development for wireless telephones to use an umbrella as an antenna and the thought that wireless telephones could be used for sending aerograms (a fore-runner idea to text messages) containing Valentine messages?

The aerogram idea would not be an idea that would be far fetched for 1910 given that previously technology was already in use for sending text messages. One hundred years on, I wrote in 2010 about Victorian Texting and its origins. "Victorian Texting was made possible with the use of the Wheatstone's ABC Telegraph originated in 1842 developed by the English physicist and inventor Sir Charles Wheatstone (1802-1875)."

Wheatstone's invention of 1845 may fit with the notion for the possibility in 1910 of an aerogram (instead of a telegram) to be communicated over-the-air and again re-enforces the point how the concept of features originating from telecommunications could be used with wireless technology.

Sixty years on from 1910 our common understanding of mobile telephones started to come to fruitition. In 1976 a design (see image above) for the first portable telephone, so we are told, was not far off the design of mobile handsets used in the 1980s.

Through out the last century and up-to-date wireless telephones (mobile phones/smart phones) utilise a natural science that remains the kernal for and primary concept of mobile telephones that appears unchangeable position and that is mobiles use radio signals. Today we speak of cellular radio, but the natural waveform of radio signals is still analogue in nature, irrespective of the modulation treatment applied to the analogue signals. Mobile telephones today have analogue-to-digital (A/D) signal processors to convert the radio signal into a digital format. Naturally, mobiles equally use a digital-to-analogue signal prcessor. I guess the day mobile telephones no longer need or use radio signals for over-the-air communications then that is the day when when we might re-name them as smart electronic devices. Until then, mobile telephones are here to stay and, as far as I can see, for many decades to come.

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