Some SF Thoughts on Videotelephony?

In summary, the conversation discusses the practicalities of video communication technology, specifically in relation to smartphones and futuristic devices such as Google glasses and wrist-watches. The speakers raise concerns about the placement and focus of screens, as well as the limitations of onboard cameras. They also mention the possibility of using drones or mind-to-mind communication for video calls. However, it is concluded that the plain old audio-only phone will likely remain a reliable form of communication in the future.
  • #1
Dr Wu
174
39
Having read a fair bit of SF down the years, and now pondering the likely future direction(s) of the smartphone, I do wonder about the practicalities of the oft-cited videophone. Yes, the advantages are clear in domestic settings; that's to say using fixed screens on to which relay video images, as with Zoom, for example. Outside in Bricks and Mortar Land, however, I have my doubts.

Take a futuristic example. Picture a world where hand-held phones have given way to something that recalls Google glasses. Two wearers of such glasses could in theory be able to observe each other's visages during a video call (VC?) via miniature onboard cams and viewing screens. Some issues spring to mind, however. Any screen would necessarily need to be placed close to the eye, and that surely poses focusing problems. Meanwhile, as well as having focusing issues of its own, any onboard camera as a result of its location would also have a severely oblique view of its wearer's face, with all the resulting presentational problems. Full implants would be just as bad, if not worse.

A partial solution would entail going fully remote - i.e. using tiny drones. That's fine for the camera, and perhaps okay too for the audio mike. Not so when it comes to the viewing screen, though it's not necessarily a complete no-no. Such a setup might work in certain circumstances - holiday video calls, for instance. The emergency services already use such technology, of course. But reverting to a normal public setting, it would be highly impracticable during a crowded commute, say (all those swarming drones).

A better alternative, it seems, would be to use a videophone that straps to the wrist - in other words a glorified wrist-watch with an expandable screen etc. At least it's possible to keep one hand free while not having to hold something in the other. Did Star Trek have such a form of communication?

Other than a custom video-watch, which is a distinct possibility, within the realms of known science at least it appears that the plain old audio-only phone (in whatever guise) is going to be around a lot longer than many people suspect. . . unless someone knows better?

To sum up: the human voice as a sole conveyor of information will be plenty good enough for the most part, even if our future selves were to have FTL technology complete with wraparound gravity control, right?

Just giving my ten cents' worth.
 
Last edited:
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
Dr Wu said:
Any screen would necessarily need to be placed close to the eye, and that surely poses focusing problems.
I'm no expert of those gadgets but as I vaguely recall it is a possibility to use the surface of the glass as a mirror, with having the projected image focus adjusted by the focus of the eye.
You can see the image in the same place where you look.
Dr Wu said:
any onboard camera as a result of its location would also have a severely oblique view of its wearer's face
But it's possible to have the projection of an avatar, with adjustments based on the expression of the wearer.
Of course the other side of the line might as well re-skin the incoming transmission o0)

Dr Wu said:
it appears that the plain old audio-only phone (in whatever guise) is going to be around a lot longer than many people suspect. . .
Absolutely.
 
  • #3
Dr Wu said:
Having read a fair bit of SF down the years, and now pondering the likely future direction(s) of the smartphone,
Depending on how far ahead you're looking, embedded, mind-to-mind communication is the most likely sci-fi solution (assumption: tech keeps advancing and the story isn't about a dystopian collapse).

It provides augmented reality, virtual reality, and emotional reality without needing exterior hardware, and has become so presumptive in stories that unless the author needs it to be obvious, it's just background tech like FTL and AG.
 

Related to Some SF Thoughts on Videotelephony?

1. What is videotelephony?

Videotelephony is a technology that allows for real-time video and audio communication between two or more people who are in different locations. It is also known as video conferencing or video calling.

2. How does videotelephony work?

Videotelephony works by using a combination of hardware and software to transmit video and audio signals between two or more devices. This can include computers, smartphones, or specialized video conferencing equipment. The devices must be connected to the internet or a dedicated network in order for the video and audio signals to be transmitted.

3. What are the benefits of videotelephony?

Videotelephony offers numerous benefits, including the ability to communicate face-to-face with people who are in different locations, increased productivity and efficiency for remote teams, and cost savings on travel expenses. It can also be used for remote education, telemedicine, and other applications.

4. What are some potential drawbacks of videotelephony?

Some potential drawbacks of videotelephony include technical difficulties such as poor internet connection or equipment malfunctions, which can disrupt the communication. There may also be privacy and security concerns, as well as challenges with nonverbal communication and building rapport compared to in-person interactions.

5. What advancements are being made in videotelephony technology?

Videotelephony technology is constantly evolving and improving. Some advancements include higher quality video and audio, better connectivity, and the integration of features such as screen sharing and virtual backgrounds. There is also ongoing research and development in areas such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence to enhance the videotelephony experience.

Similar threads

  • Science Fiction and Fantasy Media
Replies
4
Views
2K
Replies
14
Views
247
  • Optics
Replies
3
Views
1K
  • Computing and Technology
Replies
3
Views
605
  • Computing and Technology
Replies
12
Views
2K
Replies
9
Views
287
  • Sci-Fi Writing and World Building
Replies
9
Views
1K
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy Media
2
Replies
44
Views
6K
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
7
Replies
226
Views
11K
  • Sci-Fi Writing and World Building
2
Replies
66
Views
5K
Back
Top