Throwback Friday: this is what touchscreens were like in 1982

Look at how... beige everything is

Kids these days with their fancy haptic feedback and capacitive touchscreens have no idea what we had to suffer with back before the Webternet and Circular Disc-a-tronics came in.

Take this recently released video from an episode of Tomorrow's World that aired in 1982. In it, we're introduced to an apparently normal-looking screen. But wait, whats this? You can touch it with your finger?!

Unlike today's capacitive screens which use a grid of transparent conductors to distort an electrostatic field, ultimately pin-pointing the location of our fingers, the 1982 example uses something a little more primitive. A row of infrared emitters lining both the side and top of the screen create a grid of infrared beams. When your finger touches the screen, the grid is broken at a specific coordinate, and boom - the software knows where you're pressing and acts accordingly.

The show even goes as far as letting the touchscreen control the aim of an air gun, accurately murdering poor innocent balloons in the process.

Of course, we've had no balloon killings since the helium treaty of 1988 was signed, and a damn good thing that was too. We had to make do with a picture of a balloon on our birthday during the shortages. And we had to walk three miles uphill through snow to get it too.