9 Barely Recognizable Early Attempts At Modern Technology

As we've mentioned before, there's a lot of "modern" technology that's a lot older than you think.

It's easy to assume that all of our modern gadgets are newly conceived, thanks to decades of Bond films and Star Trek props, but the reality is that humans have been trying to solve the same problems for a long time. Problems like: "how do I strap TV screens directly to my eyeballs?" And "how can I make an unstoppable bipedal robot?"


Aerial photography In 1908, Dr. Julius Neubronner would equip pigeons with a tiny little camera on a timer, and let them loose around Dresden, FrankfuSource: New Yorker


Personal navigation systems The original MapQuest was a series of tiny scrolls that you'd snap into a chunky little wristwatch. That evolved into a daSource: DailyMail


Roller skates They actually date back to the 18th century, but I defy you to find more bonkers roller skates than these pedal-powered Swedish TakypodsSource: link text


Video conferencing Public videophone booths have actually existed since 1936, but Bell Labs predicted Facetime's crucial Meemaw demographic 50 years eSource: Mashable


The first computer mouse Douglas Engelbart's 1970 X-Y Position Indicator patent looks and sounds dopey as hell, but imagine how stunted society woulSource: Wired


Virtual reality Hugo Gernsback's teleyglasses were an actual working prototype of two tiny stereoscopic TVs strapped to your face. He dreamed them uSource: BoingBoing


Bipedal robots George Moore's 1893 steam man is the primordial soup from which Boston Dynamics deftly backflipped. He could walk at up to five milesSource: How Stuff Works


E-books The Fiske Reading Machine was the unholy lovechild of a monocole and a horse blinder. Entire books could be shrunk down to miniscule cheat sheSource: Engadget


The endless newsfeed The radio-delivered newspaper machine was 1938's Facebook newsfeed: an unending, cynical attempt to kill American journalism, witSource: Radio World