It has always been believed that man would always play the role of minor gods, creating to admire his handwork and be adored for his invention. The major reason for this constant enthusiasm to invent could be accredited to our big brains. We can’t just help it but invent something. Most of these inventions are done to ease our inefficiency problems, some are done for profit, and a handful actually made an impact that somehow shaped our century and existence as we know it.
As usual, it would be our genuine pleasure to educate all readers, hungry for knowledge, on some of the inventions we see today, their origin, and the way they influence our mode of livelihood today. The technologies we see today kind of had rudimentary beginnings, though they have evolved to the point where they are almost within perfection. So, put on your reading glasses and take note of inventions which wove the thread and made the fabric of our modern-day civilization.
1. The Airplanes
some of us may be well familiar with the Greek legend of the Greek inventor, Daedalus, and his overtly ambitious son Icarus who ‘flew’ too close to the sun and had a fatal fall. I won’t go into details on this myth but would love you to notice the word, flew, in quotes. This just shows, the man had always wanted to hit the air as well. Well, we finally conquered the wind with the hot air balloon, but the man finally controlled the heavens with the invention of the airplane. The breakthrough of this magnificent dream was made possible by the Wright brothers, Wilbur (1867-1912), and Orville (1871- 1948) Wright, who invented and made the first successful airplane flight in the year 1903.
Before it’s realization, the belief of man, the one-day taking flight was deemed a far fetched tale, until the Wright brothers, using the works from George Cayley (a scientist who believed in the heavier-than-air flight possibility and invented something similar in 1799). So you can see, the struggle to fly goes way back. Right now, the invention of the airplane has gone a long way, from a not-so-fast single-seater to speeding giant air machines, meant to comfortably accommodate over four hundred individuals. Wikipedia accounts that commercial aviation transport fares more than four billion passengers annually and two hundred billion tonne-kilometer of cargo worldwide. Touche right? The airplane made man believe in the possibility of flight and right now, we have rockets, shuttles, and devices that have even enabled man to hit space.
2. The Mobile Phone
This is undoubtedly an invention that has crept it’s way to the heart and soul of almost every human on planet Earth. Even though no one can really pinpoint who invented the mobile phone, it is important to note that many scientists, companies, and artists, predicted and worked towards actualizing this device. The invention of the mobile phone didn’t just rise from nothing. It was birthed from the concept and modus operandi of its ancestor, the telephone, which it’s an invention on March 7, 1876, was patented to Alexander Graham Bell. Just like the telephone, the mobile phone is a communication device and connects to standard telephone networks, but it is wireless in design and is upgraded frequently to suit the latest technological advancement, unlike the telephone which is more or less obsolete now.
The mobile phone has gone far beyond what it was previously. From the bulky handheld device designed by Motorola’s, Martin Cooper on April 3, 1973, which could only make a call for 30 seconds (Wikipedia, accounted for this), to the mobile Colossus, iPhones, Samsung, Huawei, etc. Ever since, phones have evolved in generations (G’s), to get stronger network coverage, send SMS, view and play media, access the internet, pay and withdraw money from the bank. In fact, a mobile phone can do almost anything digital. It’s like carrying a laptop in your back pocket and you don’t even need cables. Well from the wonders of this invention, I would say you are even looking into your mobile phone, reading
3. The Internet
In our present generation, the internet wouldn’t seem as much. In fact, most of us don’t really appreciate it, we just see it as a norm. Well, there was once a time, if you needed information, you go to the library. And if you wanted to spread information, you write a book, post posters, or pray you can get a column in the newspaper. Talk of sweat much to do little right? But now, almost everything can be done and found on the internet, you just need a PC, or mobile phone with data access.
Like the mobile phone, the invention of the internet can’t be attributed to just one person alone. Researchers, companies, and even the government actively contributed to the perfection of this invention over the years. In 1969, the USA department of defense funded the development of ARPANET, which was bent on using packet switching technology developed by Paul Brana and Donald Davies to interconnect different networks to a network of network.
This formed the basis of the internet. But the internet didn’t come to be, not until the 1980’s when the National Science Foundation (NSF) succeeded in linking various supercomputers in different universities in the USA and created a link to access them for research and information purposes, it was called the NSFNET project. International connection to NSFNET, the invention of the domain name, and some other events led to the final developments of the internet. Not to mention, the inevitable contribution of the World Wide Web (www), invented by a British scientist, Tim Berners Lee between 1989-1990. Commercial internet providers also emerged en- mass late 1980’s and by mid-1990s to date. The internet hasn’t just been a behemoth invention but culture too. For a more comprehensive knowledge of the invention of the internet, I would implore you to read, ‘history of the internet’ on Wikipedia.
4. The Electromagnet
Ever wondered what the principle behind your MRI scanner, transformers, electric motors is? Ever wondered why a doorbell rings? The answer is quite simple, ELECTROMAGNETS! Almost all present-day inventions have some sort of electromagnet in them which plays an important role, especially anything which deals with motion, electricity, and magnetics. In short, an electromagnet is a magnet produced by electricity. It involves wounding a wire in turns around metal and passing an electric current through it. The invention of the electromagnet was done by a British scientist, William Sturgeon in the year 1824, four years after Danish scientist, Hans Christian discovered that electric current creates magnetic fields.
The electromagnet invented by William Sturgeon was a metal horseshoe, weighed about seven ounces, and could lift up to nine pounds. But surely, lifting metals alone didn’t turn out to be the only application of electromagnets. According to Wikipedia, the first major use of electromagnets was in telegraph sounders, after 1850. The invention of electromagnets led to more futuristic applications such as loudspeakers and headphones, particle accelerators, mobile phones, magnetic locks, science equipment like galvanometers and mass spectrometers, electromagnetic shielding, and the frictionless super-fast maglev trains or magnetic trains. We could go on and on because there is an electromagnetic application in almost all electrical gadgets. This revolutionary invention made most of the cool stuff we have today a possibility.
5. The Cameras
most people if asked what part of the body they would rather not lose, a lot would say the ‘eyes’. What makes the camera really important is it’s the ability to serve as an external eye, one which can go places and keep records for you to view later. The camera we see today isn’t as Rudimentary as it was centuries ago. It would take an individual about several minutes to a few hours to get their pictures taken, and the forerunner cameras were bulky contraptions. Cameras evolved from the camera obscura (more or less the giant pinhole camera) which existed millennia ago and didn’t require a photographic process, to the Daguerreotype invented by Louis Daguerre in 1837.
The Daguerreotype is the first camera to actually work with a photographic process. And then Henry Fox Talbot in 1840 introduced the negative and positive print photographic process which formed the basis for modern-day photography. But all these were hardly portable and took a while for the picture to form. Right now cameras have evolved and more advanced forms have been invented. Cameras have even gotten so small they can be infused in gadgets. They are used for securities (CCTV cameras, spy-cams), fun (selfies), researches in space and exterior planetary bodies, aids in investigations, collecting information, and so on. These days, cameras are infused in many technological inventions for various purposes and play important roles in our society today.