Friday, 12 November 2010

Assignment 3: The Tablet

Deadline: Monday 29 November, 16:00

You can submit your report via TurnItIn. See email of 26th November for signup details. Once you have registered, you can sign in at the following url:

The deadline for your submission is 1600 UTC on Monday 29th November. Unless you have good reason for not meeting this deadline, and we have agreed an extension, late work will not be marked.

Electronic submission is preferred, but if for any reason you cannot submit your work using TurnItIn, you should submit two hard-copies of your report to the ITO on the 4th floor of the Appleton Tower before the deadline.

First, download and read a document published in 1988 entitled,
"TABLET: the personal computer of the year 2000".

The abstract says,
"The University of Illinois design extends the freedom of pen and notepad with a machine that draws on the projected power of 21st century technology. Without assuming any new, major technological breakthroughs, it seeks to balance the promises of today’s growing technologies with the changing role of computers in tomorrow’s education, research, security, and commerce.

"The design is simple, yet sleek. Roughly the size and weight of a notebook, the machine has no moving parts and resembles the dark, featureless monolith from a well known movie."
For this assignment you should write a report (1,700-2,500 words), entitled "Predicting the Future", using this paper as a case study. Your report should discuss the extent to which the future of technology can be predicted 10 to 20 years ahead.
  1. Briefly summarize the key features of the personal computers available in 1988.
  2. You should examine the technological trends on which the authors base their predictions (p.28). Select three (or more) key technology metrics and report on how well their development over the past 22 years has matched the predictions of the paper. 
  3. Use the internet to identify, and report on current predictions for changes in these metrics over the coming decade.
  4. How do devices available today match the predictions made 22 years ago? Which features of the "Tablet" are now available on mass-market personal devices, and when were they introduced to the market? What, if any, current technologies did the authors fail to predict?
  5. Use Google to find out what you can of what has become of the authors, and report briefly.
  6. For the final section of your report you should take a stab at making your own predictions, based on the technology forecasts you reported in part 3, for a device that might be in common use in 10-20 years time.
Your report should be between 1,700 and 2,500 words in length. The School's standard guidelines on plagiarism apply.

Further reading

As we may think, Vannevar Bush (July 1945)

1 comment:

  1. Found this new technology...very interesting/morbid