Here's the AKAT-1 from Poland, "the first transistor-based differential equation analyzer, from 1959."
AKAT-1 is an analog computer. Back in the 1960s, this approach offered speed and acceptable accuracy without the complexity of digital logic. The result was a device that could solve relatively complex differential equations in real time, as long as you weren't after precise values. Alas, time has passed it by and it now leads a life of leisure at the Museum of Technology (Muzeum Techniki) in Warsaw, Poland.
In this brief clip from the March 12, 1967 episode of the CBS show The 21st Century, Walter Cronkite shows us a home office from 2001. Aside from the clunkiness of the equipment, this 49 year old video is very prescient.
"With equipment like this in the home of the future we may not have to go to work – the work would come to us," Says Cronkite. "In the 21st century it may be that no home would be complete without a computerized communications console."
Watch the full episode here, which has some far-fetched and whimsical contraptions in it, and a cool Moog soundtrack:
The Tale of Tomorrow: Utopian Architecture in the Modernist Realm collects photos and commentary about the mid-century heyday of utopian architecture, from Paolo Soleri's Arcosanti to Bangladesh's National Assembly Building. Read the rest
This 1987 video from Apple imagines a future world in 1997 made richer and more wonderful by all the sweet Apple products Apple was going to build. Read the rest
Matt Alt in Tokyo, following up on a recent BB post about a 1979 American view of the future, shares this wonderful scan. He says:
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This is 1969's view of 1989! It's from Shonen Sunday Magazine, a weekly comic compilation. Beautiful, groovy art. Hey, at least they got the "Roomba" right (even if they were off by a few decades!)
Sure, it's fun to post old pages of mid-century science magazines and make fun of the predictions that never came true—flying cars! Weather control!
But it's equally, if not more, enjoyable to read predictions for things that actually happened. These are the things that remind us that the world we live in today is pretty goddamn amazing. Teacher Michael Poser sent me one such prediction that he and his students found in The Science Year Book of 1947, a sort-of proto-aggregator that compiled reprints of stories in science magazines. This quote came from a Scientific American article entitled "Microwaves on the way":
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In peacetime microwaves are slated for an even more spectacular career… Private phone calls by the hundreds of thousands sent simultaneously over the same wave band without wires, poles, or cables. Towns where each citizen has his own radio frequency, over which he can get voice, music, and television, and call any phone in the country by dialing. Complete abolition of static interference from electrical devices and from other stations. A hundred times as much “space on the air” as is now available in the commercial radio band. A high-definition and color-television network to cover the country. And, perhaps most important of all, a nationwide radar network to regulate all air traffic and furnish instantaneous visual weather reports to airfields throughout the land. By such a system, every aircraft over the United States or approaching it could be spotted, identified and shown simultaneously on screens all the way from Pensacola to Seattle.
Vintage Ads group participant write_light has posted a fantastic gallery of Charles Schridde Motorola "House of the Future" ads, along with some interesting background on the series:
The artist who painted these gems is Charles Schridde (who just passed in May of this year). These ads and other vintage television ads can be had (at Amazon for an astonishing low price of 30¢, not a typo) in the book Window to the Future: The Golden Age of Television... by Steve Kosareff. Further ad paintings by Schridde are HERE and HERE at Paleofuture.com
This brief, 1930s UK newsreel predicts the future of fashion, asking "famous fashion designers" to predict the garb of the year 2000. Pretty much everything worn in this video could be worn, somewhere, in the contemporary world (if only Burning Man), but it's hard to say that any of this really nailed Y2K's sartorial look-and-feel.