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The world was a completely different place back in the 80s. The Decade of Greed was also the time of playing arcade video games, making compilation tapes, and dabbling with the first home computers.

If you were into tech at that time, you were considered a nerd which almost guaranteed being teased, especially if you looked the part.

Yet despite the bullying—barbarically glorified on the big screen by characters like Ogre from the movie Revenge of the Nerds — the 80s was where a surprising number of technologies got their start.


Sorry, Ogre, but the nerds won.

If you’re old enough to remember the 1980s, you may recall some of these tech innovations and what they’re now replaced with:

[Bonus Content: Learn all about The History (and Future) of IBM Innovation with our interactive timeline.] 

1. You could have a ball watching TV with the spaceman-like Videosphere 3240 TV. 


 Now there's Smart TV.


2. You could turn on a light by clapping your hands.


Now there's an app for that with the WeMo Switch from Belkin.


3. The Little Professor wanted answers to his questions.


Now you can ask questions and get answers from Google, Siri or Cortana.


4. To see the world, you used ViewMaster.


Now you just Google Earth.


5. There was no software for your pets.


Today there are a plethora of digital games for your dog or cat.


6. You had to wait by the radio with a tape recorder to record your favorite song.


Now you can listen to it all day, everyday thanks to the Internet.


7. Eletronic mail was considered stuff of sorcery.


Today, it's considered spam.


8. You had a Swatch. 


Now you can don a wearable and make purchases all possible through big data and predictive analytics.


Today, people everywhere use technology that got its start decades ago. So remember the next time you decide to Skype, Tweet or use Google Hangout—the innovators—nerds who were so relentlessly teased by jocks like Ogre in the 80s were way ahead of their time.

Were you into techy things before geek became chic?

Let’s reminisce about your favorite 80s tech gadgets in our comment section below.

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Written by IBM BP Network