ACM - Computers in Entertainment


By Mohammad Sakeeb

Communication is exchanging information between living organisms. All the living organism communicates to each other via some sorts of ways. It usually occurs through visual, auditory, or biochemical means. Exchanging information is necessary for the ones to survive and thrive into life. Human communication is unique for its extensive use of language. It plays critical role in every aspects of human lives. It unites the whole species together, and help them to evolve into better beings.

As human beings, we need to send and receive information with other living beings. We need to share our thoughts with each other to evolve. In our everyday life we need to maintain relationship with so many people. It was never easier before to maintain relationship with someone who used to live far away from us. Until recently it became easier for us to keep in touch with anyone we want to. The invention of new technology is bringing everyone back in our life that we do not need to worry about losing connection with them ever again. Now days there are so many ways we can stay connect to those people that it doesn’t matter how far the person lives from us, keeping in touch is not an issue anymore. Communication will always be the most essential elements in our life. So in my research paper I am going to talk about how the communication has evolved in periods of time, and where it might take us in the future.

Before technology came into existence, letters or some sorts of signs was the only way of communication to far distances. Before telegraphy, a letter post used to take very long time to reach to the recipient. Letter posted from London used to take 12 days to reach New York, 13 days to Egypt, 19 days to Turkey, 33 days to India, 45 days to Singapore, 57 days to China, 72 days to Australia. So as we can see, that sending messages to far distance was never easier before telegraphy. People had so much trouble communicating far distances before telegraphy. In the early age only way to send quick messages to far distances, were some sort of visual signals. They used lot of methods of this visual signals to communicate during that time, such as smoke signals, semaphore lines, beacons, and heliograph.

The smoke signal was one of the oldest methods of long-distance communication. It was a form of visual communication. People used to use smoke signals to transfer news, danger signals or gather people to a common place. The invention of telegraphy made communication easier faster and reliable. Telegraphy is the long distance transmission of textual or symbolic messages without the physical exchange of an object bearing the messages. So both sender and receiver are require to know the methods used for encoding the messages. These methods were designed according to the limits of the signaling medium they used. One of the earliest telegraphy system was semaphore lines. It was a system of transmitting information by means of visual signals, using towers with pivoting shutters. It is also known as blades or paddles. It used to send messages to a distant tower through line-of-sight signals. Information was encoded by the position of the shutters. It was then read by another tower from far distance, when the shutter was in a fixed position. The first successful semaphore network was invented by Claude Chappe and operated in France from 1792 through 1846. Like semaphore lines there is other methods of semaphore that is still being in practice today. It is call flag semaphore. It convey information at a distance by means of visual signals with hand held flags, rods, disks occasionally bare or gloved hands. Information is encoded by the position of the flags. It is read when the flag is in a fixed position. They still use flag semaphore method in sea and the airport to guide ships and aircrafts. Another form of communication was beacon. It is an intentionally conspicuous device designed to attract attention to a specific location. Beacons can also be combined with semaphores or other indicators to provide important information, such as the status of an airport, by the color and rotational pattern of its airport beacon, when used in such fashion, beacons can be considered a form of optical telegraphy. Like beacon, heliograph use the same concept of transferring messages to far distance. It is a wireless solar telegraph that signals by flashes of sunlight reflected by a mirror. The flashes were produced by momentarily interrupting the beam with a shutter. The heliograph was a simple but effective instrument for instantaneous optical communication over long distances during the late 19th and early 20th century.

An early electromagnetic telegraph design was created by Russian diplomat Pavel Schilling in 1832. He set it up in his apartment in St. Petersburg and demonstrated the long-distance transmission of signals by positioning two telegraphs of his invention in two different rooms of his apartment. Schilling was the first to put into practice the idea of a binary system of signal transmissions. The first commercial electrical telegraph was co-developed by Sir William Fothergill Cooke and Charles Wheatstone. In May 1837 they patented the Cooke and Wheatstone system, which used a number of needles on a board that could be moved to point to letters of the alphabet. The patent recommended a five-needle system, but any number of needles could be used depending on the number of characters it was required to code. Like Cooke and Wheatstone system an electrical telegraph was independently developed and patented in the United States in 1837 by Samuel Morse. His assistant, Alfred Vail, developed the Morse code signaling alphabet with Morse. The first telegram in the United States was sent by Morse on 11 January 1838, across two miles of wire at Speedwell Ironworks near Morristown, New Jersey. In 1843 Scottish inventor Alexander Bain invented a device that could be considered the first facsimile machine. He called his invention a “recording telegraph”. Bain’s telegraph was able to transmit images by electrical wires. Later on tele-printers were invented in order to send and receive messages without the need for operators trained in the use of Morse code. A system of two tele-printers, with one operator trained to use a typewriter, replaced two trained Morse code operators. The Tele-printer system improved message speed and delivery time, making it possible for messages to be flashed across a country with little manual intervention. Soon after the first successful telegraph systems were operational, the possibility of transmitting messages across the sea by way of submarine communications cables was first mooted.

The late 1880s through the 1890s, was the discovery and development of wireless telegraphy. It was called Hertzian wave wireless telegraphy, radiotelegraphy, later simply “radio”. Between 1886 and 1888 Heinrich Rudolf Hertz published the results of his experiments where he was able to transmit electromagnetic waves (radio waves) through the air, proving James Clerk Maxwell’s 1873 theory of electromagnetic radiation. On 13 May 1897, Marconi, assisted by George Kemp, a Cardiff Post Office engineer, transmitted the first wireless signals over water to Lavernock from Flat Holm. The message sent was “ARE YOU READY”. Later they took their research farther, and used kites to raise their antenna to send signals further. By 1935, message routing was the last great barrier to full automation. Large telegraphy providers began to develop systems that used telephone-like rotary dialing to connect teletypewriters. These machines were called “Telex” (TELegraph EXchange). Telex machines first performed rotary-telephone-style pulse dialing for circuit switching, and then sent data by Baudot code. Later on Western Union started to build a Telex network in the United States. Around 1965, DARPA commissioned a study provided inspiration for the development of the ARPANET packet switching research network, which later grew to become the public Internet. The internet is the global system of interconnected computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite to link billions of devices worldwide. In the Internet age, telegraphic means developed greatly in sophistication, with natural language interfaces that hide the underlying code. It allowed us to communicate through electronic mail (e-mail) and instant messaging.

We came a long way from where we started. Invention of language, internet, cell phones and all the gadgets that is out there are consistently helping us to communicate in instance. It is our great achievement in our history. But we humans are curious species, nothing is enough for us. We like to achieve everything that we can imagine of. Now we are looking for much better ways to communicate with each other. Scientist and developers are working days and nights to invent new ways of communication. Research for holographic Displays, telepathy and so many new forms of communication are already in progress. We can already see the headset brainwave controller, and few prototypes of holographic Displays are in the market that has been constantly developing for future communication. It will be only matter of time till these new inventions come into existence.

Communication advancement, brought all the great minds together. We can share our thoughts to each other in matter of seconds. Communication helped us united as single species. There are no more barriers to reach out for the farthest distance of the world. It brought the world right into our palm of our hands.


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