If there's one phrase I associate with the future, it's control panels. You know, the gleaming, custom built set of controls that provide a direct interface to the advanced machines that we use in our every day lives, here in the futuristic world of the 21st century.
But a funny thing happened along the way to that vision: we invented general-purpose computers, some small enough to fit in your hand, and made them cheap enough that most people could buy one or three. And those mundane consumer devices began to show up in the most extreme places -- and in some cases, to complement or even displace the equipment that was already there. Let's take a look at some more examples.