Ever since Douglas Engelbart first popularized the computer mouse in his legendary 1968 Mother of All Demos, people have tried to replace it. It hasn’t gone well.
Gesture recognition, trackpads, voice commands (remember Dragon Naturally Speaking?), touchpads, styluses — all these have come and gone. The modern mouse is wireless, laser-equipped, and bristling with buttons. But its core design and functionality is basically identical to that of the original mouse Engelbart demoed 50 years ago.
It took a change of format to create something that even comes close to rivaling the mouse — the touchscreen on your smartphone. Touchscreens are…
Technology is malleable. Though made of metal, glass, and plastic, the gadgets we enjoy today can take on second lives years into the future, long after the unending march of product release cycles have rendered them junk in the eyes of most consumers. Old, broken things can be fixed, their innards rearranged, software hacked, whatever. Maybe today you can take some comfort in this thought: The state of things isn’t always as permanent as it appears.
Every gadget has a story. A new publication from Medium about consumer technology.