FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Back to the Future with 22 Pop

When I first heard about the 22 Pop, an old-fashioned Olivetti typewriter with a built-in modem that can send typed messages as e-mails, I quickly figured it was an easy candidate for "world's nost useless invention." But then I gave it some more thought and realized how practical this could actually be. I also read the justification for it on its website. No, the typewriter won't be making a comeback, but this product addresses a population segment that lacks either the skills or the inclination to use more modern technology, yet wants to take advantage of the Internet. The 22 Pop's inventor cites her mother, who wanted to e-mail her friends and family yet was intimidated by computers, as the inspiration. She also suggests it could find a niche in developing countries that have not yet embraced the PC revolution. However, is the stripped-down technology in the 22 Pop really simplified enough for its user base?

The 22 Pop remains in the experimental stage... so don't expect to find it at your local department store anytime soon.