Few technologies of the past 25 years have had more of an impact on our lives than the cell phone. Twenty years ago, a friend offered to lend me hers because I was having car trouble. She was worried I would get stuck on the side of the highway on my way home from work with no way of calling for help. Such concern about being unable to communicate now seems quaint. Like many people, I’m rarely without my smartphone these days, and it does a whole lot more than call for roadside assistance.
Such progress makes me nostalgic for the gadgets of yesterday that once seemed so cutting edge: the Samsung Rogue SCH-U960 that first put the Internet in my pocket (sort of); the Handspring Visor that let me digitize all my contacts a decade earlier; and the Atari 800XL that introduced me to home computing in the early 1980s. I’m sure that firing up my old 8-bit Atari for a game of Karateka or Hardball! wouldn’t be as much fun as I remember it being when I was in middle school. Still, I think back to all of the hours spent in front of that computer with a certain fondness.
Scientific American would like to hear about any vintage gadgets you have lying around—a Sharp Wizard PDA, a Motorola StarTAC phone or even an Apple Newton, for example—and why you still have them. Share a couple of sentences in the box below describing how you used that particular device, and include a related photo. Please note that you must own the rights to any photos you submit.
The deadline for submissions is November 3, 2014. Next month we’ll share those images and stories in an article on our Web site.