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December 11, 2012 • Gear Bits

Chicago Tribune Looks Back at Amazing Gadgets That Are Now Common

Can you remember your first call on a touch-tone phone, your first fax or VCR, when your family got cable, or when you first saw one of those tiny battery-powered TV sets? I can remember all of those things and more – and today the Chicago Tribune is looking back at 25 ‘futuristic’ gadgets that are now commonplace.

The lead image is of a picture phone, taken 40 years ago when it was part of a display of future technology at the Museum of Science and Industry.

Earl Dell Jr., 4, was excited about the experience of using one of the very first picture phones in December 1972. The phone was on display at the Museum of Science and Industry, touted as phone of the future.

Over the past few years, we have had our niece in Morocco for six months and both nephews in different parts of China at different times – and it was amazingly easy to hook up a Skype call with them and get to see and hear each other half way around the world.

Now we do it all the time – the kids use Facetime from their iPod or iPad to quickly check in with friends or classmates, and if they are working on homework they can easily share visuals as well as describing the situation with words.

Something that just a few years back seemed so futuristic and sci-fi (and everyone joked about being caught ‘under-dressed’), has now become simple and pervasive enough that grandparents often see far-off babies for the first time this way – and get to marvel at the child rather than the technology.

What futuristic inventions that are now common do you remember from your youth?

Head to the Chicago Tribune site and browse through the images!

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