Physicist Predicted Smartphones 100 Years Ago

Current handheld devices or "smartphones" may seem futuristic, but the fact is, visionaries have been imagining and predicting similar technology for more than 100 years, according to the tech editor of Popular Mechanics magazine, Seth Porges.

Image of Nikola Tesla (via

Porges spoke during a presentation entitled "108 Years of Futurism," in which he told "industry figures" in New York about the magazine's many tech-prediction hits and misses over the past century, among other things, according to

More specifically, Porges said that Serbian-born electrical engineer and physicist Nikola Tesla, one of the fathers of modern alternating current (AC) electrical power systems, posited in Popular Mechanics in 1909 that it would in the future be possible to send wireless messages back and forth across the globe. And he envisioned doing so via an easy-to-use handheld device that would be available to the masses.

Sound familiar?

Tesla expected this wireless-messaging wave to bring along with it an entirely new era of technology, Telegraph reports. And he also predicted the coming of "wireless power," which is in its infancy today but is already in use in products like Powermat's charge pads for devices including BlackBerry smartphones and the iPhone.

It's not uncommon to look back on the predictions of past visionaries, "futurists" and even science-fiction writers and find some truth in their forecasts. However, for every one accurate prediction, you'll usually find a handful of off-the-mark projections, as well. (Think: Personal helicopters, flying cars and airports atop skyscrapers--all of which Tesla also reportedly predicted.)



Image of Nikola Tesla (via

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