What is an everyday affair now was only a theoretical possibility half a century ago. Remember, there was a time when computers were the size of a large room. The more complex a computer was, the more the space it required to house its vacuum tube circuitry and the lower became the circuit’s reliability. These were the everyday unsolvable problems for the electronics industry. How we departed from the complex maze of the thick, heavy vacuum tubes and arrived at today’s nano-scale integration is the journey that hinges on a single, defining invention: the invention of Integrated Circuits; and guided by a single, ages old adage: necessity is the mother of invention.
Steve Jobs, the visionary founder of Apple, had sensed an inevitable immediate threat. Cellphones. The mobile technology was evolving rapidly, there was a vast unexplored market and a number of consumer electronic giants were researching in that space. Jobs knew it was only time before someone developed a software and made the phones double as entertainment devices. And if phones could have music – and not only music but games, internet access and camera – of what use would ipods be?
In 1978, Dr. Amar Bose – sound engineer, MIT professor and founder of Bose Corporation – was flying from USA to Switzerland when he was offered headphones by the airplane staff to listen to music on flight. But, in the constant drone of the airplane engines, and with no way to escape that drone, he could not enjoy the music. In fact, he could barely hear it. He fetched a paper napkin and began scribbling on it with his pen to see if it was possible to design headphones that could remove this noise. The company claims that the mathematical calculations that began in that flight, thousands of feet above the Atlantic Ocean, gave birth to a new era in the science of noise reduction and cancellation. Excited by his early calculations, as soon as Dr Bose returned from his trip to Europe he formed Noise Reduction Technology Group to work on this technology specifically. This, as they say, was history in the making.
Ever wondered what gave way to soaring imagination of architects? Would the modern day city’s skyline be the same if we did not have skyscrapers and high rise buildings? One of the inventions that have played an important role in modern day architecture is elevators. Imagine yourself climbing stairs to your apartment on 19th floor each time you want to go out. Yes, sounds like a good workout routine. Think again…and you would have a new found respect for elevators and its inventors. The need for elevators did not arise just yet to support modern architecture; it has been as old as our civilization. We have always looked for ways to lift things. Back in 3rd century, hoists operated by water wheels, humans and animals were used for the lifting purposes. This basic way of lifting continued till the dawn of the industrial revolution.
Are you one of those who are obsessed with getting clicked? Or one of those who like to capture every moment so that you can cherish it forever? No matter which clan you belong to – one thing that all of you would appreciate is the device that aids us to freeze time in pictures i.e. the camera. Camera is undoubtedly one of the most prized possessions for a lot of us and also one of the cherished creations. Our facebook and other social networking profiles would feel neglected without pictures of us, our families, friends, and all other things around us. Social networking feels lifeless and incomplete without pictures. Camera has endowed us with an ability to put a face to a name in the internet world. Just as Rome was not built in a day – modern day cameras have long history that goes back far in time. Cameras have witnessed many phases of evolution – camera obscura, daguerreotypes, dry plates, calotypes, film to SLRs and DSLRs.
Ever tried to count how many things around you have electric motor at its heart? The list is endless, starting from your clocks, cars, washing machines, DVD players, vacuum cleaners to hair dryers – most of the electric appliances around us have electric motor inside them. In case your heart is filled with gratitude for its inventor and you want to flip through the pages of the past to know how this miracle machine was invented, read on…Like many other creations, this one was also a result of many brilliant and inquisitive minds. The foundation of this invention was only laid after battery, magnetic fields from the electric currents and electromagnet made their way. Throughout the world, there were many inventors who passionately worked towards developing solutions in the electrical science field.
Have you ever thought who could be the father of the glorious machines that make most of the casino revenues these days? A casino owner, a researcher, a young lad interested in gambling? None of these. It was a car mechanic who changed the face of gambling entertainment. Charles Fey from San Francisco came up with the first ever slot machine in the year 1887. Until 20th century term ‘slot machines’ was used not just to address gambling devices but also the automatic vending machines. These machines were called by unusual named like one armed bandit and fruit machine. Before your imagination starts running wild with the names, let me tell you that it is because prior to Fey’s invention, there were some poker machines that allowed the users to win free drinks or cigars on hitting the winning combination. These were also known as trade simulators because they paid winners in merchandise.
Like all other inventions, Telephone unfolds a fascinating story that lead to its birth. It all started when an inspired Scotsman named Alexander Graham Bell invented telephone in 1876. Thomas Watson had fashioned the device – a crude thing prepared out of a funnel, wooden stand, acid, and cooper wires. All these simple parts lead to the simple earliest call, belie the complicated past. Bell filed the application only few hours before his competitor Elisha Gray filed the notice to patent a telephone. By using the ideas outlined in the notice of invention by Gray, Bell created an operating telephone 3 weeks later to this.
Though, one of the most useful, barcode is an underrated invention. Barcode comes from near past; they were implemented in the year 1970. Since then, they have made life of shoppers and stores fairly easy and hassle free. It all started when a small food vendor realized how tedious it was to keep a track of his inventory and their prices. In 1948, he decided to find an effective solution. And he got in touch with The Drexel Institute of Technology to work out a feasible answer to the problem that loomed from his head. Bernard Silver from the institute accepted the challenge and started investigating the problem. He began working to find out an automatic solution to keep record of the items sold. Soon Bernard along with some of his students realized that the answer lied in ultraviolet rays, scanner and ink.
Vending machines which are nothing less than genies in today’s world, have added to our convenience. With a range of products offered by these tempting titans, one does not have to worry about time of the day for shopping. Starting from smoke, candies to drinks, vending machines have transformed the shopping experience of the people around the world. But do you know where do these marvel machines root from? By visiting ancient Greece time, one can find the earliest vending machine that was set up in Egyptian temples for dispensing water in return of coins. This was a masterpiece by Hero of Alexandria, a Greek mathematician and engineer. Though the machine was born in 215 B.C, 1880s was the time when it made debut in the commercial world.
We surely have come a long way in technological developments. Who among us would have envisioned a machine that could figure out whether a person was lying or not? There was time when finding this secret was just in hands of mystical beings or God. Isn’t it startling how a machine can read a person’s mind? Inventor of Lie detector called it cardio-pneumo-psychograph. It was a magic box that had the power to peep in one’s mind and figure out who was pilfering jewelry and cash at college boardinghouse. But to future generations and newspaper reading people, this magic box was lie detector, a machine to help a way out of doubtful scientific credentials and dubious ethical aura.
Inventors have undoubtedly been heroes for all of us. By burning the midnight oil, they have gifted humankind with revolutionizing technology. Whether it is a mobile phone or a radio, they have never been miser in endowing the society with life transforming inventions. One such empowering invention has been of Computer. Not one but there are many geniuses behind the development and growth of this phenomenal technology. Wooden abacus laid basis for the computers long time back. By walking through annals of computer history, one can have a peek into rich legacy of 21st century’s technology. Back from 3000 B.C. abacus, which was a simple calculating tool introduced in China, is known to be the foundation of today’s computers.
Have you ever wondered what went behind creating the thousands of little amenities which are so taken for granted in today’s time but evolved through many painstaking efforts to be able to see the light of day? Even the smallest and seemingly insignificant things around us have a great tale of achievement to tell; and just a close look at these will surely inundate you with numerous such inspiring invention stories. So what is that thing which led the seeds of a small idea to be culminated into path-breaking inventions? The one thing common amongst the greatest inventors of all times was the conviction to put their ideas into action. They not only had the vision to dream of something inconceivable but also the will to translate their dreams into reality.
It is true that most inventions have happened due to sheer necessity and invention of ATM machine is one of them. Now the question that arises is what was the necessity, what called for the invention of a round the clock cash dispenser? Who invented it- a broke student or a shopaholic lady, a businessman or a banker, too tired of cashing the cheques? Also known as Cashpoint or Hole-in-the-Wall Machine (Britain), ABM or Automatic Banking Machine (USA), All-time Money (India), and Minibank (Norway) and so much more, the history of ATM is full of interesting facts, some we know, some we don’t. Let’s tear through the pages of history to know more.
Air-conditioning is the name of the scientific method that defies unruly sun, freezing winters and humid airs. Once a sci-fi author Rober Heinklein had said “Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get.” Truly, with air-conditioner we get what we expect. What we know as air conditioning is rather an innovative and as unique technology, but for ages, different techniques of dehumidifying and cooling air have always been around and practiced in different parts of the world. The seeds of this thoughtful invention called air-conditioner were sown ages back when handmade fans gave way to electric fans and coolers and finally the 21st century woke up to the AC that marked the onset of temperature ruled by man.
Mobile Phones have proved themselves to be one of the greatest gifts to the mankind. They have become an indispensible part of our lives. But going back in time, owning a mobile phone was confined to members of affluent class. All thanks to cost cutting techniques and innovations over a period of time; mobile phones are now affordable for everyone. Origin of this gadget is quite interesting. Starting from bulky mobiles phones which were as long and heavy as one’s forearms, to ultra thin and techno savvy handsets, mobiles phones have covered a long way so far. It all started with the basic telephony. Alexander Graham Bell was the first one to patent telephone in the year 1876. This technology was developed using the equipment designed for telegraph.
Isn’t it fascinating that we can now fly to any part of earth without hassles? Few decades back, who would have thought that we could fly in the air even without a pair of wings? The idea of soaring high like birds and kites has been the inspiration of the inventors of Aeroplane. Man’s romance with skies started back in 18th century when Hot Air Balloon was launched in France. This amazing invention was done by Montgolfier Brothers in 1783. François Laurent d’Arlandes and Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier were passengers of the first flight. But there was one problem with these hot air balloons that they could not be directed to the location one wanted to visit. Rather wind was one that decided destination and direction of balloon.
Walkman, the name itself arouses curiosity. And not only does it have an interesting name but is an interesting gadget too. Walkman got its name from brand Sony. It brought a revolution in the music listening habits by allowing people to carry their favorite music while they were on move. In July 1979, Sony Corporation launched Sony Walkman, silver and blue colored portable player with flashy buttons, leather case and headphones. It also offered an extra earphone jack to let two people listen music at the same time but was a little bulky. One day Sony’s co-founder, Masura Ibuka while travelling for business, asked his executive deputy president to design a model that could be used with headphones.
History of inventions does not have a more interesting chapter than that of submarines. Sailing under ocean’s waves was an allure for all the heroes that led to making of this masterpiece. In 1830s and 40s, various French inventors including Petit Villeroi, Payerne, DeMontgery hadprovided submersible concepts and some of them were actually built too. But only after French Navy became keen in the design offered by naval constructor Charles Brun and Captain Bourgeois, notable progress was made in these wonder machines. In 1859, Brun and Bourgeois started putting in their efforts on Le Plongeur, which was earliest submarine, independent of human power for propulsion.
There would not be any man on this planet whose life is untouched by gadgets in one way or the other. One of these gadgets that have added to the delight of music buffs is MP3 player. A lot of us would really love to thank the people behind this useful gadget. This invention has surely made most of our lives filled with music. Infact most of us feel incomplete without our MP3 players. MP3 technology started in German in the year 1987. German Company named Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft started the research program for coding music with the high quality and low bit rate sampling at its institute. The project was controlled by an expert in mathematics and electronics, Harlheinz Bradenburg.