Certain aspects of the technologies that we use here in the 21st century have been around for so long that we take them for granted. One great example is the way that the buttons on a push-button phone are positioned. In the early-'60s switch from rotary to push-button phones, there was nothing obvious about how the buttons should be arranged. So the social scientists at Bell Labs experimented with different layouts — some offering more accuracy, others more speed.

Advertisement