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The iPad's Progenitor — 123 Years Ago

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the expensive-tic-tac-toe dept.

Communications 123

scurtis writes "All technology evolves from cruder predecessors, and tablets are no different. People have been playing with some of the technologies underlying tablet PCs for over a century: In July 1888, for example, inventor Elisha Gray received a US patent for an electrical stylus device that captured handwriting. According to his original application, this 'telautograph' leveraged telegraph technology to send a handwritten message between a sending and receiving station."

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Lawsuit! (2)

DWMorse (1816016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948028)

I smell a lawsuit. Moses had the first tablets, right? I'm sure he at least copyrighted the term "tablet". Pay up.

Re:Lawsuit! (2)

Freaky Spook (811861) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948210)

Till the Ark of the Covenant turns up that prior art can't be proven.

Re:Lawsuit! (4, Funny)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948280)

Till the Ark of the Covenant turns up that prior art can't be proven.

We have top people looking into it. Top people

Re:Lawsuit! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35948390)

Pretty sure "looking into it" is what got all those people's faces melted off.

Re:Lawsuit! (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948852)

Till the Ark of the Covenant turns up that prior art can't be proven.

We have top people looking into it. Top people

I see you altered the quote to be politically correct.

Re:Lawsuit! (0)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950812)

You mis-quoted, that's Top Men

- Dan.

Re:Lawsuit! (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948276)

I think this Elisha Gray guy was more than a parable, though.

Re:Lawsuit! (1)

CWSmith1701 (2003480) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948790)

I think this Elisha Gray guy was more than a parable, though.

Yes, he was at least a Psalm.

Re:Lawsuit! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35948844)

Yes, he was at least a Psalm.

Psalm Pilot.

Re:Lawsuit! (1)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950818)

Mod Up!!

Re:Lawsuit! (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948640)

Come on Apple thought about it. Everyone knows Moses' tablets were rectangular with a curvy arc for the top side. OK OK not everyone. Only those who saw "The Ten Commandments" by Cecil B DeMille but the principle is the same. The bottom corners were not rounded. That is why Apple patented the "rectangle with rounded corner" tablet.

Re:Lawsuit! (2)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#35949856)

No.

Apple had to go with having a single button on the front because those 'original' tablets had zero. Once the patent expires, then no more button!

Re:Lawsuit! (1)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950830)

If Moses weren't holding them wrong maybe the people wouldn't have gone off and built that idol.

- Dan.
 

Re:Lawsuit! (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 3 years ago | (#35949124)

Moses had the first tablets, right?

Maybe true, but they had poor durability and no back or recovery... [youtube.com]

iPad has nothing to do with handwriting (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35948040)

What BS. An ancient handwriting recorder has as much to do with the iPad as does pencil and paper.

Re:iPad has nothing to do with handwriting (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35948052)

Personally I find this offensive. The article says it is so simple that a grandmother can use it. I am a 49 yo feminist grandmother and C programmer. I think I could use something more complex.

Re:iPad has nothing to do with handwriting (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35948078)

Some people might find it offensive that a 49 year old is a grandparent. Each to their own?

And anyway, I know of C programmers that can't figure out how to use a microwave. I'm not sure what your point is.

Re:iPad has nothing to do with handwriting (2)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948152)

Eh? Having a kid at 24 and a half, and then having that kid have a kid at 24 and a half isn't really that outrageous.

Re:iPad has nothing to do with handwriting (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948310)

SLUTS! :P

Re:iPad has nothing to do with handwriting (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948620)

GILFS!

Re:iPad has nothing to do with handwriting (1)

webmistressrachel (903577) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948316)

How does one "have that kid have a kid at" any age? Holy Orders? That's some wacky cult, that is!

You are correct, however, in asserting that 24 and a half is a perfectly reasonable age to have a first child.

Re:iPad has nothing to do with handwriting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35948420)

But, what if she were a great grandmother at 48? 16/16/16?

Re:iPad has nothing to do with handwriting (2)

webmistressrachel (903577) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948458)

This would be legal (in the UK) but outrageous. Don't get me started on the failings of the welfare state, please...

Re:iPad has nothing to do with handwriting (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35949024)

This would be legal (in the UK) but outrageous. Don't get me started on the failings of the welfare state, please...

It's legal in the U.S. too and not really outrageous. Maybe frowned upon, maybe. Two 16 year olds can make a baby. I would speculate that it is more normal world wide and historically than abnormal. I know of no other animal that waits so long after hitting reproductive age to actually reproduce.

To be sure, for humans, waiting can be beneficial. The ability to pursue education being the main one. I'm not so sure there is a 'failing of the welfare state' more than diminishing of family structure. Industrialization brings many things to a society that weaken the dependence and therefore strength of family.

The automobile has scattered families. Moving off of farms has cut our rate of offspring at least in half. Independence from each other has made it much easier to divorce. The ability to be financially independent seems to be a factor in the divorce rate as divorce rates usually decline in economic slumps.

House insurance means you don't have to depend on your neighbors to help you rebuild. The modern world gives us independence. Unfortunately that brings problems when what family structure remains consists of a dozen or less people. When someone honestly needs help it can strain that small circle. I'm not sure how to address the underlying problems/freedoms that industrialization has given us.

Re:iPad has nothing to do with handwriting (2)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950868)

This would be legal (in the UK) but outrageous. Don't get me started on the failings of the welfare state, please...

It's legal in the U.S. too and not really outrageous. Maybe frowned upon, maybe. Two 16 year olds can make a baby. I would speculate that it is more normal world wide and historically than abnormal. I know of no other animal that waits so long after hitting reproductive age to actually reproduce.

To be sure, for humans, waiting can be beneficial. The ability to pursue education being the main one. I'm not so sure there is a 'failing of the welfare state' more than diminishing of family structure. Industrialization brings many things to a society that weaken the dependence and therefore strength of family.

The automobile has scattered families. Moving off of farms has cut our rate of offspring at least in half. Independence from each other has made it much easier to divorce. The ability to be financially independent seems to be a factor in the divorce rate as divorce rates usually decline in economic slumps.

House insurance means you don't have to depend on your neighbors to help you rebuild. The modern world gives us independence. Unfortunately that brings problems when what family structure remains consists of a dozen or less people. When someone honestly needs help it can strain that small circle. I'm not sure how to address the underlying problems/freedoms that industrialization has given us.

If civilization were to collapse, human reproduction will return to it's natural state. Any natural human condition should therefore not be considered an abnormality in a civilized society. That we as a race would look down on each other for applying ourselves to the primary purpose of our existence suggests that this society should not replenish itself. Society, through occasional welfare, is ensuring the continuation of our societies through the rigors of an industrialized nations in flux.

- Dan.

Re:iPad has nothing to do with handwriting (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35948290)

I searched the article (online and pdf) for the word simple or grand and found neither. I also think I've since this post before. I have no idea who wasted mod points on an AC that seems to be trolling.

Re:iPad has nothing to do with handwriting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35948612)

Inside joke?

yep thats it.. WOOOOOSHHH

search slashdot for similar comments from a while ago

Re:iPad has nothing to do with handwriting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35948838)

+5 troll modding for this troll in the past:

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=107840&cid=9175401 [slashdot.org]

Totally epic.

Re:iPad has nothing to do with handwriting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35949514)

This is a ancient and hilarious troll, and it deserves the +Funny mod it got.

Re:iPad has nothing to do with handwriting (2)

Goose In Orbit (199293) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948058)

Never stopped a patent troll...

Re:iPad has nothing to do with handwriting (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35949666)

iPad has nothing to do with handwriting

True, and interesting. If you weren't a coward, I'd give you a point. Back when "Palm Pilots," The Newton and their ilk arrived nearly twenty years ago, it was all about handwriting capture. I remember university profs that would write in Palm Graffiti (Google it) on the blackboards. Today, no one writes with a stylus on their tablets...

We used something similar at work... (3, Interesting)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948062)

...in the mid-80's, we used a similar device to send weather observations from the air traffic control tower I worked at (FYV) to the flight service station across the field. It would literally duplicate every stroke you made on the other end. IIRC, we called it the "electrowriter."

A few years later, they replaced it with a rebadged TI-99A that was "state of the art" for the FAA (and probably cost them thousands of dollars) where we could magically type in our ATIS report, and have them appear at the other end on a little amber monitor with attached thermal printer. High times those were!

Re:We used something similar at work... (4, Informative)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948702)

And I'll be damned if this [harvard.edu] isn't the very device!

Re:We used something similar at work... (1)

bytesex (112972) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950694)

Wasn't there a special internet protocol developed for this in the early nineties: 'whiteboard' or something ?

Apple patent suit out of this world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35948074)

Surely the Gene Roddenberry and Mike Osaka own the copyright for an iPad like device. Apple cannot refute the fact that they blatently stole this tech from the captain's ready room on the NCC-1701-D.

Re:Apple patent suit out of this world (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948370)

I bet this guy [memory-alpha.org] sold it to Steve.

Beware the wrath of Jobs, not Moses. (1)

pro151 (2021702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948076)

Apple's lawyers are filing multiple lawsuits as we type these comments!

Re:Beware the wrath of Jobs, not Moses. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35948156)

<shatner>JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOBS!</shatner>

I shouldn't use so many caps. It's like yelling, or so I'm told.

Isn't this more like a FAX? (3, Insightful)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948092)

I mean, seriously, this is more like a FAX technology than a tablet PC if you ask me.

Re:Isn't this more like a FAX? (4, Informative)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948194)

Except the fax was invented even earlier, 1843 by Scottish physicist Alexander Bain. It had a light-sensitive element on pendulum for sending on telegraph line, and printer for receiving.

Re:Isn't this more like a FAX? (4, Interesting)

jessehager (713802) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948396)

Well, Telautograph (the company that made these) was bought out by OMNIFax (which later became part of Danka). I used to fix these machines. And they were in use at least to the mid 1990's. Hospitals used them to send prescriptions from the ER to the pharmacy. This allowed a doctor to write out a prescription and have it simultaneously written out in the pharmacy in their own handwriting. The machines were pure analog and were a pain to adjust and maintain. A pair of rheostats encoded the pen position and a switch sensed when it was pressed to the paper. The signal was encoded and sent to the receiver where a pair of servo solenoids replicated the movement of the pen.

Re:Isn't this more like a FAX? (1)

rs79 (71822) | more than 3 years ago | (#35949724)

I worked at Telautograph in 1988 to 1990. The telewriters with the articulated arms gave way to the fax machines of the 60s and they were replace by the Omninote which was a small desktop terminal with a 2 line vacuum flourescent display, keyboard and small printer, used to send messages *over the power line*, so, for use inside one building. I did try to get them to send via uucp but they were not interested in that in 88. They had pretty interesting network software, if a node couldn't communicate with another node, it relayed through another node that could, power lines aren't the cleanest things to send signals on, especially when they're 90V with huge motors going on and off at random.

Re:Isn't this more like a FAX? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950078)

I mean, seriously, this is more like a FAX technology than a tablet PC if you ask me.

More like a pantograph or auto-pen.

It would have been like standing at the side of the sender as he wrote out his message. You can't get more trustworthy than that.

The transmitter consists of a stylus which is mechanically connected, through two sets of levers and appropriate swivel joints, to the contact arms of two variable rheostats in such a way that the horizontal and vertical components of the stylus movement are translated into corresponding current variations in two lines connecting the receiver. At the receiver the variations in the line currents produce similar movements in two coils or "buckets" within a magnetic field. The movements of these coils are communicated through a system of levers to a writing pen which reproduces the movements of the sending stylus.

margins : telautography [jmcvey.net] [The Gray and Tiffany patents with high quality illustrations and photographs]

Gray displayed his telautograph invention in 1893 at the Chicago Columbian Exposition and sold his share in the telautograph shortly after that. Gray was also chairman of the International Congress of Electricians at the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893.

Elisha Gray [wikipedia.org]

It marks a strange turn-around from Bell's famous - half-legendary - demonstration of the telephone at the 1876 Centennial Expo in Philadelphia - where Gray, a founding engineer of Western Union, had been a mere specator on holiday.

Other Progenetors....the Go Computer (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35948106)

It's funny how folk nowadays think that the pads/tablets are something new and innovative. Go Corp had a pen based, handwriting recognition tablet with an innovative GUI on the market back in 1990. However, it was a classic example of a technology looking for a market...which hasn't seemed to develop until 2 decades later.

Re:Other Progenetors....the Go Computer (2)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948222)

the GRiDPad by GRiD Systems Corporation beats that, introduced in 1989. it ran MS-DOS.

Re:Other Progenetors....the Go Computer (0)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948258)

well lets take a look at what previsou generations of tablets lacked.

(1)wireless networking(3G or Wifi)
(2)Broad adoption of said wireless networking meaning you can go many places and connect.
(3)Battery life, while some ran well on regular batteries in general you didn't get very far.
(4)Poor screen quality, sure an 80 by 180 character display might seem awesome, but until you start to use it you realize just how small it is compared to a sheet of paper.
(5)Weight. components were large and weighed a lot the first notebooks weren't really a "laptop" as they weighed in at 10-15 pounds. Even the tablets of 9 years ago weighed as much as regular laptop at 4-6 pounds each.

That won't even get into the software differences between the 80's 90's(newton) and today.

Re:Other Progenetors....the Go Computer (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948322)

But the point is that the concept was similar.

Re:Other Progenetors....the Go Computer (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#35949196)

In concept, locomotives and automobiles are similar - they are self-propelled vehicles. In practice, nobody wants a mega-car with a steam engine, so you had to wait until internal combustion came around to get one.

Re:Other Progenetors....the Go Computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35949496)

In practice, nobody wants a mega-car with a steam engine

HEY! Speak for yourself!

Re:Other Progenetors....the Go Computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35950534)

Fail on your analogy. One is restricted to pre-determined routes, the other is autonomous and can even go where routes were never envisioned.

Re:Other Progenetors....the Go Computer (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#35951224)

Cugnot.

Re:Other Progenetors....the Go Computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35951290)

That's missing the point. The point is that the identifying trait - the ability to have handwriting recognised by a tablet device - hasn't changed. Everything else is bells and whistles and, while it might be the reason such devices are now more popular, it would still be more accurate to say this is the predecessor to early 90's tablets. But, of course, that would lack the iPad buzzword that's a necessity to get a trite tablet related article into the news aggregators.

Re:Other Progenetors....the Go Computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35948430)

Right the iPad just adds today's existing tech to decades/centuries old ideas. Nothing new and nothing really that innovative. They put it together well and most people who have one really enjoy them but I don't think there's much that should be patentable.

Re:Other Progenetors....the Go Computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35948504)

I see you're not too familiar with the Go. We're not talking about the Compaq luggable here. Here's what the Go had:
  • 1. Wireless networking
  • 2. Yes indeed, Go was too early to market, and sure enough, there was no broad adoption of wireless
  • 3. Ran for hours
  • 4. Good screen quality for the era, about 7 x 9 (screen) in a tablet form factor of about 8.8 x 11
  • 5. About 3-4 lbs

3-4 lbs? (1)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948638)

That's massive for the tablet form factor. Various eReader fans claim that the iPad, at less than a pounds and a half, is far too heavy to be used comfortably.

Aside from which, it's mostly (but not entirely) pointless without (2).

Re:Other Progenetors....the Go Computer (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#35949352)

Sure, but nevertheless, that means the modern pad is simply a result of a slow but steady evolution of the basic technology to catch up with 30 year old (or more) concepts. Not some modern revolutionary thing worthy of a zillion new patents.

Re:Other Progenetors....the Go Computer (1)

six11 (579) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948910)

Jean Ward has a compilation of historical references of pen computing [erols.com] . If you're interested in a overview of the past ~100 years of pen computing, check it out.

Prior art! (1)

Crummosh (1529839) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948130)

All Apple's iPad patents are invalid!

Re:Prior art! (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948550)

All your patents are belong to us. - Steve Jobs

This has nothing to do with iPad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35948144)

http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-io-Personal-Digital-Pen/dp/B00006JP23

Amazing.

"iPad progenitor"? (1)

snsh (968808) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948206)

It's annoying when people make statements about how they "predicted" something 10 years ago, or someone "invented" something 100 years ago, trying to diminish the accomplishments of what people are doing today.

Re:"iPad progenitor"? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35948752)

Heh. I had the opposite reaction: it's annoying when the modern ego gets so huge that big chunks of history have to be recast as before-their-time flops that all lead up to [our new product, the best thing ever, GO BUY IT].

Re:"iPad progenitor"? (1)

quenda (644621) | more than 3 years ago | (#35949094)

or they could just be trying to increase clicks and ad-revenue by inserting iSomething into every tech article, no matter how remotely (ir)relevant.

Re:"iPad progenitor"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35951282)

It's iRelevant! :)

Really? (5, Insightful)

guspasho (941623) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948230)

Am I the only one annoyed that it's obvious from the summary that this device is nothing even remotely like an iPad? How is this even news?

Re:Really? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948766)

You aren't. We need a word for this kind of article. I mean, the device in the article is cool on its own, but this is total crap. It should be good enough to just do an article on it; aaaaaaaagh.

Re:Really? (1)

FrootLoops (1817694) | more than 3 years ago | (#35949160)

We need a word for this kind of article.

How about... "padded". It's both a pun and descriptive inasmuch as a useless comparison was added to the article, probably to get more views.

Re:Really? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 3 years ago | (#35949422)

I like it, but it leaves out the angle that the article would probably have never been written if it weren't for the opportunity to pad it. Maybe paddified? Padtastic? Bogopadded? (Bogus + padded)

Re:Really? (1)

FrootLoops (1817694) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950166)

Yeah, I agree. I can't come up with any variant I really like, though.

Re:Really? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948832)

Soon stories on gene splicing or astrophysics will have iPad tie-ins. iPads might not sell, but they draw eyes!

Re:Really? (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948932)

Its also flat. Tomorrow: Device similar to e-book reader invented in the 17th century.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35949042)

This reminds me of the ads in computer magazines thrown together by Mad. Ave types who are obviously bored with their client's product. For example: "This starfish (pictured) has no central intelligence. But your company doesn't have to be that way! Use NewAndImproved Business Intelligence 2.0..."

The iPad doesn't work with a stylus (1)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948236)

AFAIK it only works with fingers.

Works fine with a stylus (1)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948622)

Just has to be capacitive.

Re:Works fine with a stylus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35949224)

...so long as you don't mind less precision than a dull crayon, and no pressure sensitivity. Also, with an aftermarket "stylus", there will be no integration with the interface.

Like many others, I await a good tablet with a real stylus. This would probably be best served by an Android platform, which would allow developers to augment or replace the input system.

Re:Works fine with a stylus (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950448)

Like many others, I await a good tablet with a real stylus. This would probably be best served by an Android platform, which would allow developers to augment or replace the input system.

Android?

Pah. Maemo.

Re:Works fine with a stylus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35949250)

Have you ever watched anyone try and write with a stylus on an Ipad
Bloody great laugh

The best that can be achieved is something that looks like a child playing with a large marking pen.

Re:The iPad doesn't work with a stylus (1)

Graff (532189) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948898)

AFAIK it only works with fingers.

oblig lmgtfy:
clicky [lmgtfy.com]

iPad, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35948238)

Did you get the memo? Anything that uses electricity, is handheld and may or may not allow handwriting onto it is at least tangentially related to an iPad, therefore a valid target for a headline!

Seems more like the Newton's Progenitor (5, Insightful)

spagthorpe (111133) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948294)

The iPad doesn't do anything with handwriting.

Re:Seems more like the Newton's Progenitor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35948984)

The iPad doesn't do anything.

There. Fixed that for ya. ^^

Eat up Martha (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948386)

I remember when the Newton first came out and there was a huge line at some trade show (probably Comdex). Word quickly filtered back that the handwriting recognition sucked balls and made it pretty pointless. People started wandering off. I didn't bother waiting and never saw a Newton in the wild. Oddly enough, I saw tons of Palms and I remember you had to learn some quirky shorthand to "write" on it and everyone seemed to embrace that concept despite the earlier refusal to learn how to write on a Newton.

Re:Eat up Martha (1)

grouchomarxist (127479) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950278)

This is because the Newton was marketed as having handwriting recognition while the Palm was marketed as having a system to write with using a stylus. The Newton was also supposed to learn your handwriting, so over time the errors were supposed to become less frequent, but in my experience that didn't work either. (The second generation Newton was supposed to be better, but I never got around to using it.)

Just a century too late (1)

HeavyDevelopment (1117531) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948436)

to become a patent troll. He could of set up shop in East Texas.

iii (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35948526)

rd

I Thought... (3, Funny)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948568)

I thought that the iPad's progenitor was the Etch A Sketch.

Uh, bit of a reach there... (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948632)

C'mon now, trying to find a parallel between a modern computing device like an iPad and a patent involving the telegraph is a bit like trying to give the caveman who invented the wheel partial credit for the design of a Toyota Corolla. Bit too far of a reach if you ask me.

Besides, damn near everything we "invent" these days was birthed out of another idea or seven. Of course the hard proof of this is when you take your "original" invention to the manufacturer only to find out some patent troll already has a dozen patents on "your" design...

Re:Uh, bit of a reach there... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35949366)

Yep, pretty much sums up Slashdot these days.

News for Nerds, Stuff that matters. - very rare these days

Unfortunately its hard to find a website that doesn't fawn all over Apple or Facebook these days

That's a bad example... (2)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950504)

Wasn't it the Incas and the Maya who never developed the wheel? It is not an obvious invention, especially as it is useless on its own - you need roads or rails to use it efficiently. "cavemen" didn't invent the wheel - the Stonehenge builders are believed to have used round stones or logs to move the large stones, and they had quite an advanced Bronze Age society. There is a case that the inventor of the actual wheel - with a hub and axle - (and there must actually have been a first one) should have partial credit for modern civilisation. But it was Roman roads that made the wheel so useful. Here in the UK, up until the advent of railways, once you were off what was mainly the Roman road network wheels were of limited use, and water was a far more effective means of transport. The "Great Trek" and the Westward invasion of the US was done at under 2mph.

Fax machines (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#35948946)

Anyone remember those things? You know, the ones that scanners and email replaced? This thing was the progenitor of *those*, not the iPad.

Re:Fax machines (1)

georgesdev (1987622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950980)

Stay on the scene, like a fax machine

Yes, a telautograph (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35949296)

Telautographs were used well into the 1970s. You write or draw at one end, and the pen at the other end follows. That's all they do. Railroads used to use them for train orders, which had to be signed. They have zero relationship with the iPad. (The Newton, which had pen input, maybe.)

Early telautographs suffered from the usual problem of pre-vacuum tube electrical devices - they needed signal amplification. That was really hard to do before tubes, let alone transistors. There's a long history of early amplifying devices, all of them awful. Grey's patent shows one mechanical approach. Later (tube) versions used analog audio tones, so they could transmit over phone lines.

I've been looking for one. I sometimes restore antique Teletype equipment, [blip.tv] especially pre-1930 machines.

Re:Yes, a telautograph (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35950898)

They have zero relationship with the iPad. (The Newton, which had pen input, maybe.)

Correct. The iPad does not do handwriting recognition, so at least in that aspect the 1888 device is more advanced than the iPad.

Comparing a light bulb to a Jumbotron (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35949882)

Actualy, the closest thing to an iPad would be the little chalkboards they used in school back then.

Why haven't we used this? (1)

DaneM (810927) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950036)

Although this is only like an iPad in the most ostensible sense, I still find it amazing for its time, given what it can do. Really, we still don't have a fax device (i.e. one that you write on and it prints to paper on the other side) that can do anything like this. Sure, we have email, scanners, etc., but this sort of device could be really useful for when you have to fill out a lot of hand-written forms and such remotely. Despite the advent of PDFs and other formats with fillable fields, some forms in use by the US government and various businesses still require actual handwriting. This would also be great for editing a hand-drawn design cooperatively with somebody on the other end. Even though you can do that on a computer, through various input devices, I still find pencil-and-paper far more intuitive. This could also be very cool for messing with D&D and other RPG character sheets if you're teleconferencing an RPG session and aren't using a virtual tabletop. (Some games still aren't supported, or are supported badly. Also, some people just like pencil-and-paper over digital formats for its easy customization and erase-ability.)

Does anybody know why this hasn't been made into a modern equivalent? Was it ever put into production in the 19th and 20th centuries? More than the device itself, I find it amazing that most people have never heard of such a thing, other than its distantly-related tablet PCs and similar. This would have been of great service during the various war efforts before the digital age, and still may be of some use in situations where it's impractical to power a computer or similar (such as in a 3rd-world country where electrical communication lines could be established but power is unreliable--just insert 4 AA batteries!). Given some good encryption, this could have been/could still be used as a sort of Enigma device where practical.

Stylus? Meh... (1)

mr_lizard13 (882373) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950340)

If you see a stylus, they blew it.

Just the FAX, maam. (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950438)

Ipad whoring.

The Roman iPad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35950508)

Tablets have been around for thousands of years

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wax_tablet

expired (1)

georgesdev (1987622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35950966)

that's why patents expire!

The reason for this article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35951136)

The role reason for posting this article is to astroturf the meme "iPad".

What nonsense.

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