National Museum of American History Acquires Wireless Picturephone Prototypes

October 23, 2007

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History joined with inventor Daniel A. Henderson to acquire two prototypes and related documentation for a pioneering wireless picturephone technology developed in 1993. Henderson recently was awarded six U. S. patents for innovation incorporated in the wireless system and device.

The invention, known as “Intellect,” was designed to receive pictures and video data from a message center for display on a portable device. It also anticipated spam filtering for wireless devices and the convergence of wireless communications and portable computing devices, which allowed users to see, hear and access information while moving in a mobile world.

“Digital convergence is among the most important phenomena of recent years,” said Brent D. Glass, director of the museum. “These new objects make significant additions to our holdings in this area. We appreciate Mr. Henderson’s continued support of the museum.”

This donation adds to a previous collection of wireless technology that Henderson donated to the museum’s Information Technology and Communications Division in 2003, including the Casio Z7000 “zoomer,” the immediate predecessor to the Palm Pilot, and the Atari Portfolio, the world’s first palmtop computer. Other museum holdings include early Internet telephones and tablet computers.

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The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. Documenting the American experience from Colonial times to the present, the museum looks at growth and change in the United States. The museum is closed for major renovations and will re-open in summer 2008. For information about the museum, please visit http://americanhistory.si.edu or call Smithsonian Information at (202) 633-1000, (202) 633-5285 (TTY).