Telautograph (1888) Using a special pen connected to wires that tracked the pen’s position on paper, the telautograph sent handwritten messages via telegraph. Image courtesy of jmcvey.net . Click here to view this gallery. For many people, Apple ‘s iPad is a magical device that appeared out of thin air. The iPad , however, is the culmination of decades of advancements in a variety of technologies. Come along as we take a look at some of the milestones in the evolution of the best selling tech gadget in history . Touchy Beginnings The iPad’s multi-touch screen is the descendant of a wide range of stylus-based input technologies, starting from early handwriting recognition to miniature Monets on the family’s Commodore 64. 1888 — Using a special pen connected to wires that tracked the pen’s position on paper, the telautograph sent handwritten messages via telegraph. The recorded positions were transmitted to another pen on the receiving telautograph, that would recreate the message or drawing. Not only was this the birth of handwriting recognition, but also the fax machine. 1964 — Designed without a keyboard, the 10 by 10-inch RAND Tablet let computer users choose menu options, draw diagrams and even write software using only a digital stylus. It cost about $18,000 (~$130,000 today), so its use was very limited. 1979 — The Graphics Tablet for the Apple II was the first tablet released for the home market
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Tablet History: 14 Devices That Laid the Groundwork for the iPad
File-sharing site The Pirate Bay caused an Internet stir last week when it introduced a new content category called “Physibles,” essentially designed to allow people to pass one another physical objects for download . The term refers to data files that are actually able to become physical objects via 3D printing technology. Before long, The Pirate Bay said in a blog post, “you will print the spare parts for your vehicles.” Some saw the announcement as an overhyped publicity stunt. Others saw a powerful revolution of how humans acquire essential goods. But one expert Mashable spoke with this week said that 3D printing is indeed bound for the mainstream — and even sooner than The Pirate Bay might think. “If you want to draw that parallel, we are kind of in the early 1980s of the computer industry right now, when it was just moving from mainframes into home computers,” said Hod Lipson , a Cornell University associate professor of both Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering and Computing & Information Science. “I see a big future for 3D printers in personal-scale applications that will unfold over the next decade.” That big future will probably include kids like Riley Lewis and Vernon Bussler (right and left, respectively, in the accompanying photo). Riley and Vernon are eighth graders. Along with a small cohort of classmates at Discovery Charter School in the Bay Area, they’re already getting pretty deep into the world of 3D design and printing. After Riley developed a strong interest and aptitude for 3D printing a couple of years ago, a company called 3D Systems donated a 3D printer worth several hundred dollars for him to use at school. The class of some dozen students is one a very small number of middle school labs beginning to delve into the emerging industry. The group’s work has been featured in a Popular Science blog post, and they have already produced items including dice, jewelry and replacement parts for the printer. Their progress reflects a tangible future for the medium that exists outside of exclusive laboratories and research facilities. “It’s just amazing to have an idea and then be able to create a perfect rendition of it, something you can physically hold and touch,” Riley told Mashable . Vernon said that their classmates react with “a combination of ‘that’s cool’ and ‘I don’t get it.’” According to Lipson, more and more people will begin to “get it” in the coming years.
You’ll Download Physical Objects Sooner Than You Think, Thanks to Kids Like These
Our Take: We love this idea imagine being able to email your physical project work to your examiner half way round the world.
Via The Guardian:
Each summer we’re subjected to a string of arguments over whether getting an A-level or GCSE is getting easier. But thanks to officials in Denmark, it may be time to stop talking about dumbing down exams and start talking about wiring them up instead. According to reports in the Danish media, ministers are about to trial a system where A-level students are allowed to take internet-connected computers into exams. The reason, say officials, is that collecting facts and figures is now a task best left to computers – and that youngsters taking exams shouldn’t necessarily be blocked from one of the tools they are routinely expected to use in their studies. “It is a good way to get historical facts or an article that may be useful in a written civics exam, for example,” Søren Vagner, a consultant with the Ministry of Education told Danish newspaper MetroXpress last week. At a simple level, this makes a lot of sense. The internet is now such a powerful research tool that it has done away with lots of the old methods like learning by rote – turning facts into commodities in the same way that calculators dispense with some basic mathematical activities. Why bother remembering facts and figures when you can call them up on demand with a computer? There are a number of potential pitfalls, however, not least protecting against plagiarism and the problem of students lifting information from online sources to pad out work. Vagner was quoted as saying that examiners would keep a close eye on what students submitted, and would conduct regular, randomised checks of the web pages that they had used in the course of their research to keep tabs. Checking for plagiarism is relatively easy, of course (a simple web search for groups of words would do half the job) and web-based plagiarism is something that schools are already trying to cope with . But the biggest problem is one that doesn’t seem to be addressed: the possibility for students (or other people) to collude over their exams.
Danish schools ready to trial internet access during exams