Summer Gives Time to Pause and Reflect

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  • Author: Tom Perkins, Senior Technical Editor
These people were nonchalantly communicating using a subset of microwave technology that, in itself, was at best only imagined just a few decades ago. Of course one could include consideration of cartoon detective Dick Tracy’s Two-Way Wrist Radio (early 1946). I’m not sure those small radios pretended to use microwave frequencies, and use of simplex (no repeaters) was probably all that was contemplated, but the idea did predate invention of the transistor at Bell Labs in 1947. This wrist-radio cartoon fantasy was alleged to have been inspired by Alfred J. Gross, inventor of a walkie-talkie in 1937. Mr. Gross is thought to have been born too early, as his patents expired prior to the widespread use of two-way portable devices. He also developed pagers—remember those? Incidentally, in 1964 Dick Tracy’s radio was replaced with a two-way wrist TV. One wonders if it was a digital, high-definition flat-screen display?