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"I'm a fairly visual thinker. In doing science, I think in terms of pictures of things happening, and then do the mathematics."
- Gregory Benford

Photomnemonic Tablet  
  A device that both records and displays images with the same element.  

I broke the seal on the dust jacket... The tablet was a featureless disk, like the blank used for grinding a telescope mirror, but darker - as if cast in obsidian. When I activated its remembrance function, its bottom-most layer turned the same color as the sun, for that was the origin of all the light now striking the tablet's surface. Because the tablet was out in the open with no lenses or mirrors to organize the light coming into it, it could not form an image of anything it saw...
From Anathem, by Neal Stephenson.
Published by Morrow in 2008
Additional resources -

The photomnemonic tablet also had controls that would let the user page through the images in a variety of ways.

This device reminds me in some ways of a slow glass scenedow from Bob Shaw's 1968 story.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Anathem
  More Ideas and Technology by Neal Stephenson
  Tech news articles related to Anathem
  Tech news articles related to works by Neal Stephenson

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