Cellphone Inventor Predicts a Wetware Future

Illustration for article titled Cellphone Inventor Predicts a Wetware Future

Marty Cooper—maybe you've heard of him and his little invention, the cellphone—thinks modern smartphones are way too convoluted and that future phones will live behind your ear, under your skin. You think AT&T owns your ass now...


Just kidding. It wouldn't be your ass, it'd be your ear, but more on that later.

On a slightly more serious note, Cooper really did invent the mobile phone, way back in 1973 while working for Motorola.

It was a time when Zack Morris phone jokes weren't invented yet, but leaving a prototype phone in a bar would have still kicked your professional ass. You see, when Cooper was trucking around a cellphone in 1973, it weighed nearly two kilos and cost approximately $1 million for Motorola to produce. Battery life was a brisk 20 minutes. Order a pizza or do more QA testing?—choices!

Fast forward to today, and Cooper is put off by the size of a smartphone's instruction manual (often larger and heavier than the phone itself, he says), which he argues can require an engineer's expertise to figure out.

No bother though, as Cooper predicts that in the not-so-distant future tiny cellphone implants will deliver calls from Mom via the bony spots behind our ears—a vision that might fall into the "gadget singularity" category.

"The cellphone in the long range is going to be embedded under your skin behind your ear along with a very powerful computer who is in effect your slave."


The wetware part I can see happening. The slave part too, but in reverse. I have way too many zombified Foursquare-playing friends at the moment to believe the human species will somehow become masters of their communications devices in the near future. [BBC]



This will happen the same time video phones and flying cars go mainstream.


The barriers to video phones, flying cars, and sub-dermal technology have never been technological. They're emotional barriers. No one wants a phone permanently implanted under their skin, no one likes to give every stranger the ability see them the moment they answer the phone, and most people know that highways/skyways would be death traps with flying cars.