Claim: Photographs show a conceptual pen-sized personal computer system.
Status: Partly true.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, 2005]
Origins: It seems to many of us these days that the pace of technological change is so great that it outstrips our imaginations — just as soon as we can conceive of the next nifty electronic gadget we’d like to have, we find out that somebody has already built it.
Miniaturized devices such as cameras and telephones are examples of now-common technologies that just a few years ago most of us rarely encountered outside the fictional world of spy thrillers. Miniaturized personal computers are the next logical step, but many readers might be surprised to learn that a plan for PC components housed in devices the size and shape of ballpoint pens (as shown above) was showcased by a major electronics company over two years ago.
At the 2003 ITU Telecom World exhibition held in Geneva, the Tokyo-based NEC corporation displayed a conceptual prototype of what they dubbed a “Pen-style Personal Networking Gadget Package,” or
P-ISM is a gadget package including five functions: a pen-style cellular phone with a handwriting data input function, virtual keyboard, a very small projector, camera scanner, and personal ID key with cashless pass function.
The P-ISM system was based on “low-cost electronic perception technology” produced by the San Jose, California, firm of
We’ve dubbed this item “partly true” because, as far as we know, no functional prototype of
Last updated: 9 December 2005
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