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

" I try to sit down at the typewriter four times a day, even if it's only five minutes, and write three sentences. And if I feel like going on, or if something turns me on I'll just keep writing till I'm written out."
- Roger Zelazny

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
Finally! Microsoft Surface Neo And Surface Duo Implement Excellent Courier Idea
Tap Strap 2 Now With Air Mouse
Entire Planet Modeled In New MS Flight Sim
String Art Courtesy Of Robot Artist

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

Hail SmartCan! Your Trash Bin Takes Itself Out
'...a waste can twenty feet away stirred into life.'

Finally! Microsoft Surface Neo And Surface Duo Implement Excellent Courier Idea
'Runcible, whose pages were thicker and more densely packed with computational machinery...'

Tap Strap 2 Now With Air Mouse
'He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.'

Legal Profession Now Fairly Bristling With AI
'The virtual counsel appeared to be about forty-five years old and prosperous.'

Entire Planet Modeled In New MS Flight Sim
'CIC uses [it] to keep track of every bit of spatial information that it owns...'

FlyZoo Robot Hotel By Alibaba
'... hotels that specialized in non-human service.'

Implanted Memories Provide Songs To Birds
Finches can't tell the difference.

Robot Tuna Swims As Fast As Nature's Tuna
'With one fluid motion, it surged forward, plunged, and was gone.'

Shapeshifter Robot Is Comprised Of Cobots
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed. For an interval, the device struggled with itself...'

Google Commits To Fighting Deepfakes
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'

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.