NPR Explores Technology of 1984

NPR has announced that throughout the year, they will feature a fascinating series highlighting NPR’s tech coverage from 30 years ago — unearthing long-forgotten gadgets from the year 1984. Warning: Memories of some of these items may require some dusting off.

After all, what is the chance that you recall the “microwriter?” As NPR’s latest post here details, Cy Endfield invented this “handheld alternative to the typewriter”/”pocket word processor” in 1984, with only five keys. Looking at the rather clunky glorified calculator now, it’s hard to envision anything like this becoming a common household item.

However, the NPR series isn’t just for amusement at ideas that didn’t quite work out, however. It’s useful to think about which inventions took off, and why. And which inventions paved the way for the technology we use today. What will the microwriter of 2044 be? That’ll be the real question.


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