Then and Now: Where Electronic Gadgets Come From
Remember the feeling every time you see a new gadget that’s not around before -- that immediate need to try it out, the curiosity as to how it was invented, and the excitement to know how it will change the way you live.
We live in the days when we take for granted the technology that we never had before. To better appreciate them now, we’ve listed down some gadgets that were deemed the “first” of their class, which purpose survived until today.
Polaroid Land Model 95
Introduced way back in 1948, the Polaroid Land Model 95 was the first practical instant camera in history and was named after Polaroid founder Edwin Land. It produced prints in about 1 minute, had a built-in 10-second timer (after all, no one wants to be left out of a rare picture especially one coming from a Polaroid camera), had a “big” lens that works great in low-light conditions, and had 4 other variants available in the market. Instant cameras were never thought to sell fast but Polaroid sold all of the first 57 units in a single day before the Christmas of 1948 in Boston. Before technology like this came, people badly wanted to see how they looked in the photos immediately but had no choice but to wait until the film was developed. It was like that until the 90s, wasn’t it? Hmm.
What we use now
The Polaroid Pic-300 and Fujifilm Instax Mini 9
The Polaroid Pic-300 and the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 are very similar in a lot of ways. Both are expected to shoot and print pictures instantly, has instant flash, they almost (and mysteriously) look the same, and promise to give users the retro feel of taking shots and looking at them on paper the next minute. The only difference, though is the fact that the Polaroid uses 4 AA batteries, while the Instax uses 2. But there may be something better than just instantly printing pictures…
Fujifilm Instax Square 10
The Fujifilm Instax Square 10 hybrid instant film and digital camera lets you take square pictures and saves every shot digitally! Square pictures are great when you love uploading pictures to Instagram. Modern times, right? It can store up to 50 pictures within internal memory and can be expanded using a microSD card. But since this camera does not have internet connectivity, you’ll have to download the pictures from the camera before they can be upload through the computer. You can print and reprint the saved pictures from the camera and this is, by far, the best improvement an instant camera ever had.
An improvement to the Horn made by Thomas Edison
Image from www.edisontechcenter.org
The Horn, as a sound amplifying device, was invented in the late 1870s and eventually developed until the 1920s. Not an electronic device, the Horn was quite an improvement to sound production. However, it couldn’t produce much sound and the development of an electronic loudspeaker was still a promising recourse (electronic loudspeakers were poorly developed at the time). In 1921, the first modern loudspeaker was created. Unlike its predecessors, it produced a nice crisp sound by reproducing a dynamic range of frequencies and increasing the loudness. There was a lot of room inside the wooden casing. Talk about spacing! Here’s how it looked like:
The first modern loudspeaker
Images from www.edisontechcenter.org
What we use now
The Onkyo LS-T10: Because “modern” is all about space
The likes of Onkyo LS-T10 has been a vision of the future for loudspeakers given its much smaller dimensions and inconspicuous facade. One look and you couldn’t even guess it’s a speaker -- simply designed to disappear under the TVs they support (yes, it can also serve as a sound stand for your 55-inch flat screen TV.) Though it doesn’t pass as a total home entertainment sound system like the 5.1 setup, it’s great for casual watching of movies because of its clean reproduction of dialogues, crisp sound effects, and surround-sound. The LS-T10 also features a six-channel digital amplifier to power the six-driver array, with four full-range drivers on the front, a speaker on each side, and an active subwoofer on the underside. Relatively, there’s more room in your room, and not in the casing!
Phones with a Front Cam
The Motorola A835 and the Sony Ericsson Z1010
Originally, the front-facing camera was made to contribute to the development of video calls at that time, not for selfies.
Taking pictures of ourselves when the need came was widely recognized as a struggle in the early 2000s. Because we were using the rear camera of our phones (or digital cameras), photos were either unfocused or misaligned, therefore shots were taken over and over until we got the perfect look. Before the selfie was popularized, the self-portrait brawl was almost eliminated when the Motorola A835 and Sony Ericsson Z1010 mobile phones were released -- the first phones to have front-facing cameras -- in late 2003. They both featured a VGA camera at the front for video calls, and at the rear for video recording and taking photos. But the sad thing is this, the front-facing cameras were made for video calls only. At the very least, these phones were officially the ones that uncovered the need for selfies!
What we use now
Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro
Now comes something much more dedicated to the cause. The Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro carries camera specifications that speak a lot for itself -- its front camera has a dual 24-megapixel + 5-megapixel with white filtered LED flash, which is far better than its 16-megapixel front camera. It’s been almost 14 years since the first phone with a front-facing camera has been introduced and a lot of features have been added to a smartphone. But it’s about time that somebody gave more importance to the front more than the rear. I wonder, what are the next advancements after the selfie generation?
Portable Music Players
The Sony Walkman TPS-L2 was almost called the “Walky”
While there were other portable music devices invented before the Walkman, everyone agreed that this was the first self-contained portable music player. The TPS-L2 started playing music in cassette tapes in 1979, which was the same year the 2nd Star Wars movie was released. Irrelevant, but hey, anything released at the same time as any Star Wars movie should be great. Oh yeah, it’s so legendary, it had a scene in the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie as Star Lord’s music player.
Star Lord’s belt and his TPS-L2 with its cassette labeled Awesome mix vol. 1
What we use now
Sony NWZ-B183F: Same brand, new feel
Even though the Walkman endured so much competition since it was produced, it’s still the King of Portable Music today. Improvements count the new look, the new media it plays, the new features added over the years: Bass Boost; FM Radio Recording; and the quick-charging, long-lasting battery. The astounding feeling of simply carrying a legend it is still the same, touching the heart of music lovers for generations to come.
Mobile Power Sources
Extra mobile phone batteries for more power
This is something we felt we should add to the list because we don’t get to bring a spare of these things anymore for an extra power. Gone were the days when these were removable. Now that most of them are not, we bring an extra convenient source of power instead…
What we use now
The Sense 4 Plus. The smarter mobile phones get, the more power they require.
Power banks! The Romoss Sense 4 Plus suitably gives you the power you need for all of your mobile devices. You can’t feel any more confident with its 10,400mAh capacity. It is compatible with all smartphones through its Fitcharge technology and is able to power up your devices simultaneously while it’s charging. I can’t wait for the time when these devices can power up a whole house!
Considering that each piece of successful technology changes the way we live -- making it a lot better -- we can’t help but wonder what’s next for us. Come to think of it, it is us -- the users -- who gives technology the power to predict. But before going to the next step, appreciating the gadgets that started the evolution of every lifestyle and watching the new ones evolve over the years brings us to another tier of insight. We’ll see that every step is nothing short of amazing.