This Comical 1981 Prediction Of How Smart Watches Would Work Is Great

In 1981, Robert Tinney illustrated a cover for Byte magazine of someone wearing a smart watch.

The illustration is funny now in hindsight, but even when Tinney designed the cover it was meant to be a joke. Tinney’s design took a typical computer, floppy disk and all, and shrunk it down onto someone’s arm.

TIME’s Harry McCracken, who first posted this image, points out this is not much different than smart watch designs now. Instead of shrinking a desktop computer, companies are shrinking smartphones and slapping them on our wrists.

McCracken says, “I won’t be the least bit surprised if the first transcendently important wearable device of our era — the iPhone of its category — turns out to have only slightly more in common with a 2014 smartphone than it does with a 1981 computer.”

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