|Make it a great day|
A common platform integrating the telephone, television, stereo equipment and personal computer, to SERVE humankind's information needs.
TED J. ALBRECHT
(Minnesota Futurist chapter member)
7097 Montrose Road
Woodbury, MN 55125
June 25, 1996
Next step 6
This paper is offered in the spirit of beginning a dialogue on pursuing this further. It is not meant as a formal proposal.
To enable all humankind to fully participate in the exploding ramifications of the Information Freeway (Internet). The INFO-GENIE will provide an integrated phone, TV, stereo equipment and PC, hardware and software platform which is affordable, flexible, portable and will not become obsolete in six months.
The INFO-GENIE can be best described as an electronic note book, that measures 11 x 9 inches when closed and 11 x 18 inches when opened.
Fig. 1 shows it closed (folded). _________
Fig. 2 shows it opened (unfolded).
I . I
I . I
Fig. 3 shows it in the word _________
processor mode (separating
the two halves and rotating
When the INFO-GENIE is open (fig. 2) it is one large touch responsive video display unit. When in the word processing mode (fig. 3), the rotated portion is a touch responsive keyboard and the other portion is a page. Or, each half could be a separate unit for ease in mobile use.
Around the edges of the unit are ten PC (PCMCIA) Card slots, six type 2 and four type 3. The unit itself is just a video display devise. All of its functionality is determined by what combination of PC Cards are plugged into it. This permits an unlimited number of functions the INFO-GENIE can accommodate. Power is supplied by battery or AC/DC adapter.
Smaller INFO-GENIE versions would provide mobile flexibility. The same PC Card approach would apply.
The INFO-GENIE acts as a window to visually and physically (touch screen) interact with the application(s) that it is facilitating. The physical interaction can be expanded via PC Card with a mouse and/or keyboard and/or joystick and/or mic. and/or CD player and/or tape deck and/or tuner and/or etc. attached.
Solid state flash memory and magnetic disk storage PC Cards are already available. PC Card modems with telephone jacks and cellular phones attached are also available. So fax, E-mail, Internet surfing, LAN connection and data up/down loading can be done. PC Card processors will permit the INFO-GENIE to handle MAC or IBM compatible applications.
One PC Card will be the Card Manager so that the INFO-GENIE would be completely plug and play, no 'install' complexities involved.
What you do is plug in PC Cards for: PC Card Manager; Processor Card; Operating System Card; Application Card and the external devices needed by the application. When you slide the on/off switch on, the INFO-GENIE boots right to the first screen for the application. You can have multiple applications on a PC Card or plug in multiple application PC Cards. If that is the case, then when turn the INFO-GENIE on, an application Icon screen will be presented.
With todays PCs software developers sell diskettes or CD-ROMs with their application on it, which then has to be installed onto your PC hard drive before you can use it. With the INFO-GENIE, software developers will sell chip(s) or PC Card(s) containing their applications. When you get chips, you put them into a blank PC Card which holds up to nine chips. So the INFO-GENIE is truly plug and play, since it actually operates with the inserted PC Card(s), it does not re-install applications onto a hard drive. Generally, hard drive PC Cards are used just for data, when needed. When the INFO-GENIE is interacting with a server based application, the server may download some of the application to the INFO-GENIE PC hard drive Card to ensure proper response times.
Attached is additional PC Card information.
Entertainment, education, business, home (security, shopping, finance, health care) and government are the primary areas to be interacting with.
The advantages of the INFO-GENIE serve all parties, outlined as follows:
No information 'have nots'
Plug and play ease of use
One large screen for better viewing
Two separate screens/processors
Can handle MAC and IBM compatible applications
Long term investment for INFO-GENIE
less incremental investment for applications
Instant 'on' for most applications
PC Card manger standards
Unlimited device availability
Applications on a chip
Multiple applications (chips) in a PC Card
Data on a chip
PC Card distribution
Long term targeted platform
Standards PC Card pin configuration(s)
PC Card manager standards
Long term targeted platform
Concentrate on device innovation
Mock up: The University of Wisconsin Business Prototype Department is developing a unit that can be used for the initial sponsor solicitation activities.
Prototype: Two Twin Cities (MN) companies have estimated that an operational unit can be developed for around $25,000. The PC Card manager specifications are done and implemented via the PC bus.
Sponsors: Considering the potential benefit to all humankind, it would seem reasonable that the World Futurist Society would champion the development of the INFO-GENIE. Not to finance. Rather, to be the focal point to promote and motivate all concerned. This includes the PCMCIA standards organization, operating systems standards groups, application developers and hardware manufacturers to cooperate in this innovative approach to meeting the need for an easier transition to the Information Age for all humankind.
The World Futurists would solicit, from the above mentioned groups, funds to develop the mock up, prototype and conduct marketing studies, by World Futurist members, to test world consumer and government acceptance of the approach.