Mankind’s need to communicate is a unique exploration, and technological advances are impacting the way we communicate, forming the basis for new exhibits at the Museum of Innovation Science. “Let’s connect! Exploring communication technology” opened on Friday.
Chris Hunter, Vice President of Collections and Exhibitions, said:
One of the largest exhibits the museum has produced, the exhibit is divided into five parts. The first segment is communication without wires. Did you know that a human voice can travel 375 yards and a cry in quiet open space he can travel a little over a mile?But our ancestors 1000 years ago were able to travel other I had to reach out to people.
“We have a small tablet seal from 2000 BC from Sumer and an Egyptian scarab with hieroglyphs,” Hunter said.
In the 1400s, the system of flags and torches eventually led to the printing press and then the first newspapers. The exhibit includes pages borrowed from Liber Biblia Moralis from his 1474 German Bible.
The second segment is wired communication. This was all about the telegraph and Samuel Morse’s system of dots and dashes, which used electricity to send messages over long distances. This inspired Alexander Graham Bell to use these electrical impulses to transmit the human voice over the telephone in 1876.
The third segment is about how radio captured the country, beginning with the metropolitan area’s own radio station WGY’s evolution into early drama and television.
The fourth segment is how the use of radio waves applied beyond radio amateurs to the federal government’s allocation of sections of the electromagnetic spectrum to various companies and agencies.
The last segment is all about computers, focused on satellite technology with reference to mobile phones.
While there is “a good portion of what Thomas Edison has to do with GE,” Hunter says, “a lot has to do with the human voice.” One of those examples was his use of air waves. Guglielmo Marconi invented the radio in his 1909, primarily to allow ships to communicate with other ships at sea.
“When the Titanic sank in 1912, their distress call went off, but there was no radio regulation and all ships were on the same frequency,” said Hunter. “People were jamming the airwaves with fake news that there was no distress or that the ship had been rescued.”
When help came, it was too late. Eventually the Federal Communications Commission was created, and now each ship has its own frequency, much like aircraft, wildlife organizations, radio amateurs, and public broadband.
According to Hunter, the outline of the exhibit was quickly put together, but it took about three years to organize the exhibit itself.
“The biggest challenge was figuring out what to focus on and not flooding people with too many cool facts and objects,” he said.
Among the 150 objects are: Originally conceived by Roy Anderson in the 1960s, his 1964 radio was a prototype of his antenna and used a golf umbrella. A model of the first mobile phone from 1983 and a model of Apple’s latest i-phone 4. A 1960s princess phone recalled by many of Hunter’s staff.
“There are some glass and metal booths in the Adirondack where cell phone reception is poor, but I got a wooden booth from the 1960s from a collector in Rochester,” he said. “The funny thing is that if it wasn’t for the internet, I wouldn’t have found it.”
While you may be nostalgic about many of these old objects for grandparents, kids can play with up to 20 interactive exhibits.
“Some people press buttons, some people use telegraphs to tap keys,” said Hunter.
Another example shows how voice bandwidth can change voice by filtering voice and compressing data when using a mobile phone.
“Voice doesn’t sound the same over the line because the device cuts out the high and low frequencies,” he said.
And even today, foldable phones and devices with screen holography are being developed, a testament to the human desire to find faster and better ways to transmit information. Mr Hunter said.
“Let’s connect! Exploring communication technology”
When: September 23-May 14, 2023.Wednesday-Sunday 11am-5pm
Location: Museum of Innovation and Science, 15 Nott Terrace Heights, Schenectady
Price: $12 for adults. $10, seniors. $8, child
For more information: www.misci.org; 518 382-7890
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Categories: Entertainment, Life and Art, Life and Art, Schenectady