In this chapter:
New communication devices are being invented and improved all the time
Communication satellites transmit information around the Earth
SMS is a fast way to send a written message on a mobile phone
Videoconferencing is a useful way to communicate with people
Music can be downloaded from the internet onto an MP3 player
Technology changes so quickly that new communication devices are being invented and improved all the time. Computers and mobile phones are smaller and are able to do more things. Can you imagine what Marconi would think of mobile phones today? Communication makes our modern world a small place because it allows us to talk easily with people all over the globe. In Chapter 3, you can discover how the internet and email have had a major impact on the way we communicate. This chapter looks at some of the other modern devices that we use to send and receive information and stay in touch with each other. See image 1
There are more than 100 communication satellites that are orbiting (travelling around) the Earth. They are called geostationary satellites, which means that they travel at the same speed as the Earth. The satellites receive signals from transmitter dishes and send the signals to other stations on Earth. This is how information is sent between countries around the world. See image 2
Some portable telephones are linked to satellites so that the person using the phone can make a call from anywhere in the world. Satellite phones are an important link for people who are living or working in remote areas where mobile phones do not work. See animation
Clever mobile phones
Computer chips mean that mobile phones can be used to make and receive phone calls, send text messages, take photos and movies, tell the time, and listen to the radio. See image 3
SMS stands for Short Messaging Service. This is a feature of mobile phones that lets you type messages by using the letters on your keypad. Once you have finishing writing your message, you can send it to other mobile phones. It is useful for people who want to send short messages and do not want to make a telephone call.
Video phones and video conferencing
In the 1990s, videophones were created by attaching a video screen and camera to a telephone. This allowed people to have a conversation and see a picture of the other person on the screen. Videophones were used by some companies but were not a common feature on many phones.
These days, high-speed internet connections send information more quickly. This makes it easier to hold a videoconference. This happens when people talk to each other over the phone and see each other on a screen. This is a very useful communication tool for people who live in outback areas because it lets them see and talk to people who might be thousands of kilometres away. See image 4
The way that we listen to music has changed a lot since the times of vinyl records and cassettes. You can buy music on a compact disc or you can find it on the internet. Music can be downloaded from the internet onto most home computers. Special music files, called MP3 files, can then be transferred onto an MP3 player or a compact disc. You then listen to your favourite songs. See image 5