Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Hear a recording Alexander Graham Bell made in 1885

The National Museum of American History has released a totally cool reconstruction of an 1885 recording of Alexander Graham Bell reading his handwritten notes.

This video shows the notes scrolling slowly as Bell reads. (Be patient -- the very first part is hard to understand).



The noninvasive optical technique used to scan and recover the recording was invented at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 2002 with assistance from the Library of Congress. They have used it to reconstruct even older recordings than this one.

I love this sort of thing because it illustrates how we are able to start with very crude proof-of-concept prototypes and refine them over time. There are tons of examples in and out of IT, for example, the Wright brother’s first plane, early automobiles and Doug Engelbart demonstrating WYSIWG word processing, windows, the mouse and many other things at The Demo in 1968.

Doug Engelbart, The Demo