Cellular Phone Robot And iPhone - Joymaker Wannabes

In his excellent 1965 novel The Age of the Pussyfoot, Frederik Pohl writes about our world several centuries in the future, seen through the eyes of a modern day man brought back to life.

Every person in this future world has a joymaker, an amazing handheld device that mediated all social interactions:

The principle of it was clear enough. It was a remote input-output station for a shared-time computer program, with certain attachments that functioned as pocket flask, first-aid kit, cosmetics bag, and so on. It looked something like a mace or a jester's scepter.

The remote-access computer transponder called the "joymaker" is your most valuable single possession in your new life. If you can imagine a combination of telephone, credit card, alarm clock, pocket bar, reference library, and full-time secretary, you will have sketched some of the functions provided by your joymaker. (Read more about Frederik Pohl's joymaker)

Today, we would call it a cross between a cellphone, a PDA and a web browser. (It also has some additional features I'll get into below.) I'd hate to call science fiction writers prophetic (okay, I do it all the time), but I think Pohl called this one pretty darn close.


(Apple iPhone)

Consider the iPhone, Apple's working prototype "cellphone." If you've seen Steve Job's masterful presentation of the device, it is also as good a web browser as you can fit in your hand. It functions as a stylish cell phone, letting you screen your calls and obtain a random access listing of your phone messages (Apple calls it "Visual Voice Mail").

It also functions as a personal digital assistant, keeping your contact lists and other information. Finally, it is an entertainment device, playing music and even small-screen movies. In the video, we are told that the Cingular network is an essential part of providing the iPhone's functions. (That's why you won't see it offered on other networks anytime soon, marketing agreements aside.)

In the same way, the joymaker was completely dependent upon the functionality of the network that supported it. The joymaker also performed as an educational and entertainment device; special joymakers were available for children (I wonder whether Apple really thinks that I'll buy a $500 device for my kids...).

The iPhone is also the first cellphone or mobile device to offer rich HTML email; this allows the sender to include a lush photo or two with an email message. This is very cool, but it pales next to the tactile net virtual kiss voice mail available on a joymaker.

Another (lesser-known) candidate for joymaker is the Cellular Phone Robot (CPR) designed by engineers from the Soochunhyang University in Korea. The ultimate vision for this phone is that of "ubiquitous companion robot." For this iteration of the device, they have focused on giving the CPR "emotions" expressed in tactile, olfactory and visual behaviors.


(Cellular Phone Robot)

That's right, olfactory. The Cellular Phone Robot has 12 micro-nozzles to emit odors that are intended to identify the caller, along with different vibration patterns as well as music. All smell combos are determined in the strictest engineering way - biometrics.

You've never seen a cellphone like this one. It actually has little wheels on it; it can find its way to a recharger (on a table top) and can find the owner of the phone to take a call. (Check out the video shown below; oddly, the presentation starts about thirty seconds in, so just skip.)

I know what you're thinking. The real world always goes beyond the wildest dreams of even the most prescient science fiction writers. I mean, a phone that sprays stuff to identify callers; who could have imagined that?

Frederik Pohl, that's who. The joymaker had a nozzle that could spray the user in a variety of contexts. The most important use was to calm the user down; if the joymaker detected that the user was getting too excited or frustrated, it could spray a mild sedative.

It also went beyond the crude scents offered by the CPR to identify a caller. The joymaker could even give you a virtual kiss from a caller:

What he got was indeed a kiss. It was disconcerting. No kissing lips were visible. There was a hint of perfumed breath, then a pressure on the lips - warm and soft, moist and sweet... (Read more about the joymaker virtual kiss)

Compare this feature list for the joymaker with what the iPhone and the Cellular Phone Robot have to offer:

Call List - very early use

Cellphone Credit Card - mobile phone wallet

Cellphone Tranquilizing Spray

Interests Profile - an intelligent agent

Online Employability Profile Testing - get the right job first

Online Job Search - via cellphone

Virtual Kiss (Tactile Net) - affection by wire

We're getting closer, Mr. Pohl.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/17/2007)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Communication ")

Rid Thyself Of Ads On The Newsbox
'Can't we scramble that commercial?' - Robert Heinlein, 1941.

Google's Remixed 'Your News Update' ala Heinlein, Clarke, Pohl
'Perhaps we had better use the soundtrack and let it hunt.' Robert Heinlein, 1941.

5G Will Be Crucial Backup For Self-Driving Cars
'... some bored drone pusher in a remote driving centre has got your life in his hands.' - Charles Stross, 2007

Olfactory User Interfaces - Judith Amores Dissertation
Awakened with a whiff of lemon.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Beat Covid-19 With AIR By MicroClimate - At Last I Get My PAPR
More than just a bubble.

Mi TV LUX Transparent Edition OLED TV
The Look of Things To Come.

Metalenses Now Reconfigurable With Liquid Crystal
'Hufhuf oil held in static tension...'

'Alexa For Residential' A Landlord's Dream (Tenant's Nightmare?)
'...unseen mechanical entities... that are in our very midst. One of them following each of us.'

Gather Ye Moonrocks While Ye May
'The law of filing on newly discovered asteroids was definite.'

InMotion V11 Electric Unicycle Gets Air (Video)
'A tumblebug does not give a man dignity...'

Rid Thyself Of Ads On The Newsbox
'Can't we scramble that commercial?'

A.I. Jesus Proclaims Machine Gospel
'... he crossed the waiting room to the Padre booth; inside he put a dime into the slot and dialed at random.'

Google's Remixed 'Your News Update' ala Heinlein, Clarke, Pohl
'Perhaps we had better use the soundtrack and let it hunt.'

iSphere Plastique Fantastique Face Mask Alternative
'Among these were some clad in the insulated space-suits, with their transparent glassite helmets.'

Inkjet-Printed Wearable Solar Cells
Ultra-thin wearable organic photovoltaic material.

NDB Nuclear Waste Battery Lasts A Lifetime
'Trillions of units of power could be compressed thus into an inch-square cube of what looked like blue-white ice.'

Neuralink Will Land A Chip In Your Brain
'What are you talking about? Do you mean a neural lace?'

EPR Is Quick, Temporary Biostasis
'The cold-pack was being sucked out greedily by plastic suction tendrils...'

It's Time For Robots With Soft, Sensitive Skin
Sure, solid metal skin robots looked great once - like in science fiction movies of the 1920's.

An Ocean On Ceres
'We sailed gently forward, hull down to the asteroid's surface... A little sea was now beneath us.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.