Computers of the Future
Contributed by Carol Gafford
See those pens?
Look closely and try to guess what they could
They are mini-computers.
Here is a better look at our objects of mystery.
They are barely larger than a regular ball point pen.
have just looked into the future...
You've seen something that will replace your PC
What? You don't
believe it? Then check this
In the revolution of miniature computers,
are ahead with Bluetooth
technology. See the
forthcoming computers you will carry in
This pen instrument produces both the
monitor and the keyboard on flat
surfaces from where you can just carry
out the normal computer operations you do
now at a desk.
Editor's Note: I was so astounded
by these pictures, I forwarded them to two friends in
the Biz. One was Gary Richardson who owns TFW
Computers here in Houston. The other was Mike
Fagan, head of the Computer Research Department over at
Rice University. Here is what they had to say:
Gary Richardson: It's true.
I checked it out at
www.snopes.com, the Urban Legend Research Site. Here
is what they said:
It seems to
many of us these days that the pace of technological
change is so great that it outstrips our
imaginations — just as soon as we can conceive of
the next nifty electronic gadget we'd like to have,
we find out that somebody has already built it.
Miniaturized devices such as cameras and telephones
are examples of now-common technologies that just a
few years ago most of us rarely encountered outside
the fictional world of spy thrillers. Miniaturized
personal computers are the next logical step, but
many readers might be surprised to learn that a plan
for PC components housed in devices the size and
shape of ballpoint pens (as shown above) was
showcased by a major electronics company over two
At the 2003 ITU Telecom World exhibition held in
Geneva, the Tokyo-based NEC corporation displayed a
conceptual $30,000 prototype of what they dubbed a
"Pen-style Personal Networking Gadget Package," or
P-ISM. As NEC described the P-ISM:
P-ISM is a gadget package including five functions:
a pen-style cellular phone with a handwriting data
input function, virtual keyboard, a very small
projector, camera scanner, and personal ID key with
cashless pass function. P-ISMs are connected with
one another through short-range wireless technology.
The whole set is also connected to the Internet
through the cellular phone function. This personal
gadget in a minimalistic pen style enables the
ultimate ubiquitous computing.
The P-ISM system was based on "low-cost electronic
perception technology" produced by the San Jose,
California, firm of Canesta, Inc., developers of
technologies such as the "virtual keyboard"
(although the last two pictures shown above appear
to be virtual keyboard products sold by other
companies such as VKB rather than components of the
Last updated: 9 December 2005
Mini-Computer Article at Snopes
From: Mike Fagan
Sent: Friday, September 08, 2006 1:07 AM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: UNBELIEVABLE. WHAT NEXT!
Rick Archer wrote:
This seems fishy to me, Mike, especially the "keyboard"
idea of tapping a picture on a wood desk. Plus it is odd
I haven't heard about it from a more reliable source than some email being passed
around. What do you think?
Rick, Not fishy. Just
expensive (for now). I've seen all of this stuff, and
One of the things I was most impressed with did not
appear on the list. In
the (near?) future, you will be hearing the term "haptic
term means that the sense of touch is maintained.
What I saw (and felt) last year was a haptic
scalpel simulator. You could
hold the scalpel simulator, look at a screen, and do
virtual surgery. The cool part was that the haptic
interface got the 'feel' of the tissue resistance. It actually felt like cutting!
Perhaps in the not too distant future, there will be
haptic dance dolls that can simulate the resistance of a
dancer (so you could do lead/follow remotely)!
And now for a cartoon that
nicely sums up exactly how I feel about our brave new world of