You can’t reinvent the wheel, but its significance in our lives simply overshadows the fact that it too was once an invention. The name of the inventor however is lost in the winds of time. The past two decades have seen an exponential growth in technology and the world has changed drastically and courtesy some inventors and their out-of-the-box and unconventional thinking, our way of living has been completely revamped and revolutionized. Below you will come across 10 such inventions, and hopefully like me, you too will appreciate their contribution in making our lives so much more beautiful.
1. World Wide Web (The Internet)
Initially just a project to make in-house communication at CERN Laboratories, Geneva, more efficient, British engineer and computer scientist Sir Tim Berners Lee wrote a proposal in March 1989 for what would eventually become the World Wide Web… or the internet. Little did he know that he would singlehandedly change the world as we knew it back then. It also provided the weapon through which the geeks conquered the world, made riches, connected the world, and turned it into a Global Village.
2. USB Flash Drive
There was a time so long ago when life revolved around a thin plastic diskette which had numerous frustrating issues and a 2mb memory. That was the floppy. Then came the revolution -Trek Technology and IBM began selling the first USB flash drives commercially in 2000 and the world was never the same again. A gradual increase in size has seen the USB move from a basic 16mb to monstrous 256gb in recent times. This of course presents endless opportunities and numerous solutions to the ever increasing needs.
3. Lithium Battery
Size is no guarantee of power- the lithium batteries are the perfect example of that. Everything wireless, ranging from cell phones and laptops to wrist watches and digital camera, are being powered by this small handy invention. It may be interesting to point out here that around 1936, archaeologists uncovered in a village near Baghdad a set of terracotta jars which each contained a rolled-up sheet of copper which housed an iron rod. Some scientists speculate these to be ancient galvanic cells, roughly 2,000 years old. It is believed a common food acid, such as lemon juice or vinegar, served as an electrolyte. Shockingly, modern replicas have successfully produced currents!
There is an over 90% chance that you will be staring right at it while reading this. Yes, theWindows. The story began in Plaza Hotel, New York City on the 10th of November 1983 when the two Microsoft founders Paul Allen and Bill Gates officially launched Windows – their company’s first graphical user interface operating system. The story never ended, as Windows became the soul of most of the computers to hit the market. Yes there is competition and criticism, but ever so often Windows comes up with a newer, more solid version to silence its critics. The new Windows 7 is a prime example.
5. MP3 Format
It’s hard to believe that the mp3 format came into existence only in 1991! An acronym for MPEG Audio Layer III, it is a standard for audio compression that makes any music files smaller with little or no loss of sound quality, hardly troubling the hard disk, while provides the best quality sound available. But it isn’t widely known that during modification tests, the project almost died! The encoding did not work properly and just two days before submission of the first version of the MP3 codec, a major compiler error was discovered. Just imagine for a second if the developers, Dieter Seitzer and Karlheinz Brandenburg, had given up then…
Some decade and a half ago, humans had to sit in front the huge white monitors, waiting for the web pages to open – meanwhile the grass grew a fair few inches outside in their gardens. But broadband changed that completely. The affects of this sudden increase in speed was on a much larger scale then could be imagined. Time saving is just one aspect- huge amounts of data transmission, video and audio streaming, remaining connected 24/7, internet gaming, music, movies… the list just won’t end! To end on a shocking note, the world’s fastest broadband connection gives a staggering 40 gigabytes per second – that’s downloading a full high-definition DVD in just two seconds.
7. Camera Phones
Cell Phones were always important, but the supplementary feature of a camera added a whole new dimension to their already wide variety of use. It opened up a limitless opportunity of fun, frolic, and entertainment and made the life all the more enjoyable. The first commercial camera phone complete with infrastructure was the J-SH04, made by Sharp Corporation and was launched in the market in early 2001. Since then there has been no looking back- an endless array of moments have been preserved, and a number of pranks have been played courtesy this device and a few creative minds.
8. Global Positioning System
Behold the GPS, a provider of reliable positioning, navigation, and timing services to people all over the world. Widely in use today, GPS receivers can be incorporated into your cars, boats, computers, mobile phones watches and more. Pros include safety from car theft, longest of drives without fear of getting lost, identification of traffic free and sound routes, and speed control of your car. Oh and the scientific applications are endless too.
It’s the answer to everything… literally! Its performance is the envy of executives and engineers around the world, for techno-evangelists it is a marvel of Web brilliance, for students an endless source of research papers and data… the list is simply infinite. Stating that Google’s impact our life has massive is an understatement. What is even more astounding is the fact that it has been around for just over one decade. It success can be imagined from the fact that it is now billion dollar company, and that there won’t be an internet user from around the planet who won’t know their name.
Its significance can be assessed from the fact that over 2.4billion SMS are delivered across the planet each day and it is now the most widely used data application around the world. The initial idea was just to transfer small amount of data over the airwaves. But the whole idea was set to be doomed had it not been for the ingenious integration with cell phone. Cost affective, astute, and time saving, SMS’s are not an integral part of our daily routine.