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The iPad's Progenitor — 123 Years Ago 123

scurtis writes "All technology evolves from cruder predecessors, and tablets are no different. People have been playing with some of the technologies underlying tablet PCs for over a century: In July 1888, for example, inventor Elisha Gray received a US patent for an electrical stylus device that captured handwriting. According to his original application, this 'telautograph' leveraged telegraph technology to send a handwritten message between a sending and receiving station."
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The iPad's Progenitor — 123 Years Ago

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  • by pongo000 ( 97357 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @07:29PM (#35948062) the mid-80's, we used a similar device to send weather observations from the air traffic control tower I worked at (FYV) to the flight service station across the field. It would literally duplicate every stroke you made on the other end. IIRC, we called it the "electrowriter."

    A few years later, they replaced it with a rebadged TI-99A that was "state of the art" for the FAA (and probably cost them thousands of dollars) where we could magically type in our ATIS report, and have them appear at the other end on a little amber monitor with attached thermal printer. High times those were!

  • by jessehager ( 713802 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @08:06PM (#35948396)
    Well, Telautograph (the company that made these) was bought out by OMNIFax (which later became part of Danka). I used to fix these machines. And they were in use at least to the mid 1990's. Hospitals used them to send prescriptions from the ER to the pharmacy. This allowed a doctor to write out a prescription and have it simultaneously written out in the pharmacy in their own handwriting. The machines were pure analog and were a pain to adjust and maintain. A pair of rheostats encoded the pen position and a switch sensed when it was pressed to the paper. The signal was encoded and sent to the receiver where a pair of servo solenoids replicated the movement of the pen.

"This is lemma 1.1. We start a new chapter so the numbers all go back to one." -- Prof. Seager, C&O 351