This Video Chat Concept From 1918 Is Much Cooler Than Zoom

Dhir Acharya - May 27, 2020


This Video Chat Concept From 1918 Is Much Cooler Than Zoom

As of now, there are many apps and platforms for video chats, such as FaceTime, Skype, Facebook Portal, and Zoom. But the idea surfaced from a century ago.

As of now, there are many apps and platforms for video chat, such as FaceTime, Skype, Facebook Portal, and Zoom. But they are nothing like a very cool concept from a hundred years ago.

In 1918, a time that was decades away from the first TV show, a time when radio broadcasting was popular, a tech magazine already published an idea about video chat.  The theoretical device was named the “Television and Teleport,” which came from magazine publisher and sci-fi author Hugo Gernsback.

The concept of the Telephot
The concept of the Telephot

Gernsback owned Electrical Experimenter magazine, in which he filled his futuristic, strange ideas. But this one from May 1918 is something else.

According to the publication, the future instrument, called Telephot, was an apparatus attached to the present telephone system. The aim is that when a person spoke to a long-distance friend, they could see the image of that friend just like looking at themselves in the mirror. In explanation, the apparatus must follow the other person’s every movement, no matter if they were 5 or 500 kilometers away.

The article also explained the needed lighting for this system to work. You can see the illustration of the device below. It appears that the face of the speaker is thrown from a place marked R, the image is then reflected back on the lens L. Then, the microphone picks up the sound in H, mounted in the frame F.

The article illustrates how the Telephot would work
The article illustrates how the Telephot would work

Besides, the article illustrated how the mechanical TV underlying this idea would work, as in the following picture.

There were several aspects of Gernsback’s design that depended on factors that he could not foresee. He acknowledged that in the article but said those things would be invented someday, and he was right.

Now, Zoom has 200 million daily users globally, from just 10 million before the outbreak of COVID-19. Gernsback always wrote down his idea with confidence that the thing he presented would come to real life eventually. And the funny thing is he turned out partially correct in most cases, such as robot tanks, carphones, telemedicine, and home shopping. How interesting!

>>> Drug Dealer Sentenced To Death Via Zoom Call

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