We live in the digital age; a time where new gadgets and technology get released nearly every day. Smartphones, 3D TVs and tablets, are the gadgets of the moment, but would they even be here if it weren’t for their predecessors? We take a look at the top 10 clever gadgets that have changed the world into what we know today.
We’re going to start with one of the greatest inventions of the last 200 years; the lightbulb. Sir Thomas Edison is the person thought to have invented the first lightbulb, but this is a myth. In fact, the original invention can be credited to several different people. Sir Humphry Davy, Warren de La Rue and Frederick de Moleyns all tried their hand at this invention first. Joseph Wilson Swan and Sir Thomas Edison were the two inventors who created the most reliable source of light, based on previous inventions. Without the light bulb we wouldn’t have a huge amount of the technology we do today.
Another invention which was created by a whole host of different people, the radio has become the key to several other useful gadgets and technologies. Without the wireless signalling methods used in a radio, we wouldn’t have half of the wireless technologies we have today; including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and cell phones!
It took decades of hard work by lots of different engineers in order to get the television perfected. The discovery of selenium photoconductivity was the first breakthrough in 1873, with moving images being finally fully demonstrated by 1926. Without these breakthroughs, we wouldn’t have anything that required moving images, including computer screens!
4. Personal Computer
This invention has been one that has completely changed our lives forever, although not everyone will think for the better. 1977 saw the first personal computers being sold, even though computers had been around for a long time before then; normally used in science labs, military bases and high-tech institutes. The PC has come a long way in under 40 years, so we can only imagine what this gadget will look like in another 40 years.
5. ATM Machines
An automated teller machine may be something we use on a regular basis, but do we ever really appreciate how useful this gadget is? No more queuing in banks to withdraw a few dollars! The ATM also led the way to magnetic strip cards, which are what we now use to pay in shops and online.
We’re not just talking about the sat-nav systems you use in your car; GPS is an invention that is used for a whole variety of purposes. Global Positioning Systems have helped the emergency services, the military and NASA. In fact, this clever gadget doesn’t get enough recognition for all of its hard work.
7. Center-Fire Cartridge
Weapons technology has come a long way over the last 100 years, thanks to countries constantly trying to outdo each other. One of the biggest developments is the center-fire cartridge which is now used for firearms around the world. It used to be that weapons and ammunition were expensive, but now it is possible to buy equipment, such as bulk 380 ACP ammo, without remortgaging the house. However you feel about weapons; this invention has been used as protection and security for decades.
8. Microwave Oven
Apparently, the microwave oven was invented almost by accident, by Percy Spencer. His story is an interesting one, and we’d recommend giving it a read if you have a spare 5 minutes (perhaps whilst you’re waiting for your next microwave meal). The original microwave ovens were 6ft tall and cost $5000 up until 1967.
Cell phone, mobile phone, portable phone, whatever you want to call it; this list was not going to be complete without this awe-inspiring gadget! Thanks to that aforementioned radio link, the first mobile phone was demonstrated in 1973. Since then, phones have got smaller, more intelligent and are the backbone of today’s society.
If there’s one gadget that has helped with nearly every single one of the technologies we use today, then it’s the battery. Batteries were the main source of electricity before power grids and generators and so without these, we wouldn’t have a lot of the things we use today. The oldest batteries actually date back to 250 BC, making them one of the oldest, and most developed, gadgets.
There we have it, 10 of the most world-changing gadgets ever. Next time you go to use your latest bit of kit, make sure you say thanks to all the inventors who helped make it possible.