Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"It's also important to vary your stimuli. I always look for new things to shock the system. Just as you make muscles grow by shocking them, you make the mind grow by shocking it."
- Bart Kosko

Calculator Pad  
  Used to make psychohistoric calculations  

Everyone uses smartphones or tablet computers that are basically just a thin slab faced with glass. The idea was somewhat more exotic in 1951, when the only computers were room-sized, and the first computer terminal had only been invented a few years before.

Seldon removed his calculator pad from the pouch at his belt. Men said he kept one beneath his pillow for use in moments of wakefulness. Its gray, glossy finish was slightly worn by use. Seldon's nimble fingers, spotted now with age, played along the hard plastic that rimmed it. Red symbols glowed out from the gray...

"That represents the condition of the empire at present."

From Foundation, by Isaac Asimov.
Published by Doubleday in 1951
Additional resources -

I have a Cassiopeia Pocket PC; its gray, glossy finish is also slightly worn by use (written in 2003!). Just to give you some material for comparison, in 1951 the big news in computers was the use of vacuum tubes. CBS purchased a Universal Automatic Computer (UNIVAC) for use in predicting results in the 1952 presidential elections; it took up most of a 15'x15' room.

Note that Seldon's pocket computer was no mere calculator, also at it did not use the touch screen interface now all the rage in computing. (As it happens, I'm making this addition to the text on this web page using a iPad, another descendant of this idea.)

Bypassing the present, you might want to see the future view of this kind of device - the Control-Face, from William Gibson's Idoru. Compare to the blue optic plate from EM Forster's 1910 The Machine Stops.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 2 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Foundation
  More Ideas and Technology by Isaac Asimov
  Tech news articles related to Foundation
  Tech news articles related to works by Isaac Asimov

Calculator Pad-related news articles:
  - E-paper You Can Write On From Seiko Epson E Ink

Articles related to Computer
String Art Courtesy Of Robot Artist
Tetraplegics Dominate Avatar Races
IBM's Grain Of Sand Computer
Can An Entire Brain Be Simulated In A Computer?

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

Plants of the Future - What Should They Be Like
'He almost choked in his astonishment. Mashed potatoes and brown gravy!'

China Deploys Robot Traffic Police
'The robot came up smooth and fast as a rocket...'

Better Than Dune Chromoplastic? This Guy Might Have Done It
'But when Old Father Sun departs, the chromoplastic reverts to transparency in the dark.'

Gather, An AI Warehouse Inventory Drone Startup
'It extended three of its tiny arms sideways to lock onto the registration pins...'

China's Artificial Intelligence-Enhanced Education
'The grey gas not only cut off his vision, but also his other senses...'

Orbital Manufacturer 'Made in Space' Gets $73 Million NASA Contract
'Mass-produced in the orbiting factories...'

Soli Gesture Tech Will Be In Google Pixel 4
'I enjoy watching this way, but - He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.'

Uber Eats Pairs Cars With Drones
Fresh grub? Let's hope they aren't delivering grubs.

Space-Based Solar Power Roundup
SF writers popularized and elaborated on this idea a generation before the first patents were filed.

Lost Language Meanings Found By Machine Learning
'The autopilot would need data before it could begin a translation...'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.