Let's Connect! Exploring Communication Technology
Let’s Connect! Exploring Communication Technology tells the incredible story of how people connect with innovative communication devices. As technology has evolved – from carved writings, paper letters and radio broadcasting to instantaneous messaging from anywhere on Earth – it has altered the ways in which we interact. This dynamic exhibition explores the efforts of human beings to move an ever-growing quantity of information faster and farther than ever before. The exhibition is presented in five sections.
Finding Our Voice
This section highlights early human efforts to standardize communication in ancient times and explores the first attempts to send information faster than humans could travel. Topics include coded signal flags and torch systems, how the invention of the printing press led to the first mass distribution of information and the spread of scientific knowledge, and how the first newspapers allowed for the dissemination of news and business advertising both within and between communities.
Transportation systems introduced in the early 19th century allowed people and information to move faster and farther. Samuel Morse’s telegraph system of dots and dashes used electricity to create the first instantaneous long-distance communication system. Shortly after Morse sent his electrical impulses, Alexander Graham Bell became the first person to successfully transmit the human voice between two wired phones in 1876.
A Wireless World
As dots and dashes turned to voice and large corporations gained control of this technology, college students and rogue engineers helped shape the medium. The young staff of the New York State Capital Region radio station WGY foresaw the use of radio for entertainment, creating the first radio drama, innovating the use of sound effects, and experimenting with a variety of programming. The creation of national radio networks brought similar programming to a wide audience and strengthened the national culture. The development of television (“radio with pictures”) gave broadcasting a visual element and superseded traditional radio entertainment programming.
Radio at Work
Radio waves are used for applications beyond broadcasting and the original maker culture lives on in amateur radio. Today, the federal government allocates sections of the electromagnetic spectrum to amateur radio operators, corporations, and various government agencies.
The Computer Age
Computers have transformed the way people communicate. Satellites make it possible to communicate with astronauts and relay information around the world. The miniaturization of electronics led to the creation of mobile smartphones, a single device that holds the power of the telephone, radio, television, and the Internet and allows us to communicate with people around the world instantly.
- Tapping the Telegraph
- Radio Drama
- Morse Code Decoder
- Call Me!
- Sound Booth
- Streaming from Satellites
- Bits, Bytes, and Bandwidth
KEY LEARNING GOALS
- Information Technologies and Instrumentation
- Waves: Light and Sound
- Defining Engineering Problems
- Systems and System Models
5,000 sq. ft.
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