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Cellphone pioneer: People holding technology back

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The inventor of the mobile phone has said that people are holding the future of wireless technology back by nature of their conservatism.

Martin Cooper, now 79, made the world’s first mobile phone call in 1973 from a street corner in New York. These days Cooper is still involved with technology as the CEO of ArrayComm – a wireless software company he founded in 1992.

In a recent interview with Reuters, Cooper explained how his initial vision, 30-odd years ago, for a fully wireless-integrated society had ultimately fallen short of his lofty expectations.

Cooper said that although people now accepted wireless technology and mobile communications they were not yet ready to take wireless technology to the next level and embed the technology into their bodies.

“It's not really the technology, it's the people. People are really conservative," explained Cooper. "We've finally got the idea that people want to be free to communicate while they're moving around but unfortunately we've just barely mastered that for voice," he added.

Nanotech bionics or grey goo?

Rather than just using mobile phones to make voice calls, Mr Cooper still envisages a future where, in 15 to 20 years time, people have wireless technology embedded into their bodies and can use it to do all sorts of things including diagnosing and curing illness.

"Just think of what a world it would be if we could measure the characteristics of your body when you get sick and transmit those directly to a doctor or a computer," he said. "You could get diagnosed and cured instantly and wirelessly."

In addition Cooper also believes that embedded wireless technology could do away with batteries altogether and source its power directly from the human body.

People power

“Here you've got this wonderful power supply called the human body that's generating energy all the time. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have these devices built into you and powered by your body?" he said.

Still, it’s not quite all grand-scale, blue-sky thinking on the part of Cooper. In reference to modern phones with their ever-increasing array of tools, add-ons and features, Cooper believes there is a case for saying things could be simplified, citing how many phones now weigh less than their operating manuals.