Wednesday, May 11, 2011

How Sci-Fi Influences Real World Design

BusinessInsider offers an excellent visual history of the cell phone. I was particularly struck by the following description of the Motorola StarTAC, vintage 1996:

Still shrinking the line of TACs, Motorola unveiled the first clamshell mobile phone with StarTAC. It improved the folding feature by collapsing in half, which is why it's called "clamshell"—because it resembles a clam opening and closing shut... It's said to be inspired by the communicator from the original Star Trek series.

I never knew that, but there's certainly a resemblance.

It truly is amazing how science fiction -- from Arthur C. Clarke's idea of geosynchronous orbit to modern design principles -- has influenced the world in which we live.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I did know it -- because one of my seminary classmates still worked part time for Motorola during the summer while studying for the priesthood. One fall we asked him if he had invented anything interesting over the summer -- and he responded that he was part of a team that came up with the solution for folding a cellphone like a communicator from Star Trek. To this day, I grin when I flip open my clamshell style phone, thinking of my old friend.