Technology is a collection of techniques, skills, methods and processes used in the production of good or services or in the accomplishment of an objective.
Technology has not only changed the way we live but has also simplified our lives to an extent that we are almost completely dependent on it for everything we do. Technology is making the world a better, safer, easier place to live in.
Here are 15 technologies that are changing the world (in no particular order):
- Touch screen
Touch screens have made electronics so much easier. From smartphones and tablets to Televisions and Computer screens, even keyboards used by musicians have touch screens today.
In 1969 E.A. Johnson invented the touch screen and it was used for UK’s Air Traffic control. It was only in 1975 that a resistive touch screen came to being and in 2007, Apple introduced its first touchscreen smartphone. Touch screens have eliminated the use of paper at meetings, even pens are no longer found at homes and offices.
- Electric Vehicle
Fossil Fuels are limited. And the world is switching to renewable sources of energy like electricity. Why leave vehicles behind? While 75% of the world’s CO emission come from automobiles, it becomes mandatory to consider a new source of energy. Robert Anderson invented the electric vehicle in the 1830s. After years and years of modifications, electric cars soon entered the motorsport world. The introduction of Formula E encouraged the use of battery powered cars. A hybrid car is a car that uses both, battery power and fuel as a source of power.
In 1973, the US military launched GPS to help them during wars. the first experimental GPS satellite was launched in 1978. But GPS became freely available to the public in 1983. In 2004 Qualcomm annouced successful implementation of GPS on mobile phones after which it slowly started getting integrated into applications like we see today. Google maps and Uber are a couple of examples.
- Speech-Generating Device
Nearly 6,000 people are diagnosed with ALS every year according to ALS association in the United States. The Speech-Generating Device or SGD allows them to express themselves without really talking. The invention of SGD began in the 1960s and Stephen Hawking is one of the first notable people to use this device. The device is now developed to work on children with speech disabilities and autism. No wonder it makes it to this list of world changing technologies.
- 3D printing
Day to day, we come across a number of printed articles or use printed paper for work or school purposes. The printing industry has grown all over the world and is finding new uses day in and day out.
Chuck Hull in the year 1983 came up with a 3D printing idea that he executed and made possible for the world. 3D printing has improved a lot of fields of study like medicine, art and science. It’s contribution to the medical field is a major one as it is being used to make prosthetic limbs for the physically handicapped.
- Motion Sensors
Samuel Bagno invented the 1st alarm system using motion sensors back in the 1950s. After that, further developments led to the use of motion sensors in cars and major security systems. Without these motion sensors, a lot would be at risk in terms of security. We would have still been using cans stringed together to detect motion.
Since the invention of the internet, the world has become more accessible, communication has become easier, the world is a smaller place and ideas are exchanged faster. The internet has made every task you can think of easier and more efficient. It informs at a faster rate than other mediums of information. It is now easier to share with the world where you are, what you’re doing and how you’re doing it? The World Wide Web is definitely one of the technologies that will keep changing the world.
- Optical Fiber
Optical Fiber was a light pipe made from thousands of glass fiber. This cable was used to transfer data from one device to another. As years have gone by, this cable has grown smaller in size and can transfer larger files and higher amounts of them too. This technology is also used in Endoscopy. Had the size of it not been reduced, endoscopy would have been a very difficult procedure.
- Wireless Fidelity (WiFi)
A team of 5 astronomers in Australia began experiments to invent WiFi 30 years ago. Since then they have earned $420 million from the patent itself. Today WiFi is used all over the world to access the internet, to transfer data and to share ideas and expressions. It has brought the world closer and is opening up newer portals everyday. It is one of the technologies that has brought the world a long way.
- Holographic Telepresence
Holographic technology has all our attention when it appears in movies or shows on TV. Six years ago, Nasser Peyghambarian invented the holographic telepresence in University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences. Since then, it has developed and is soon to be China’s method of viewing the World cup soccer matches. It is an expensive technology which is why it hasn’t been given the attention it duly deserves. But when we do realise it’s potential, no amount will be enough to explore its capabilities.
- Water Filter
The process of filtering water dates back to 500 BC. Long before any of the technologies on this list were invented. The 1st filter was created by the Hippocrates. The 1st large scale water filtering plant was created in 1804 by John Gibb in Scotland. The invention of the Lifestraw was a breakthrough for places that had no source of clean water. It could be used to drink 1000 litres of water. It helped victims of natural disasters such as the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the 2011 Thailand flood.
- Solar Panel
Solar energy and Geothermal energy are both renewable sources of energy. Russel Ohl created the silicon solar cell back in 1941 but no one understood his research. Later on Gerald Pearson, Calvin Fuller, and Daryl Chopin took on his creation and invented the first solar panel. This panel however could not produce as much energy as the already existing fossil fuels. Today, after years of research and development, solar panels are able to produce up to 50% of energy.
- DNA fingerprinting
In 1984, Alec Jeffreys invented the DNA fingerprinting technology. After this, Combined DNA Index System or CODIS came into being. CODIS allowed for convicting criminals as per their fingerprints found at the crime scene. Before this they were convicted on the basis of eye witnesses and evidence. After this invention, wrongly committed criminals were released and the real ones were taken in.
In 1962, Robert Goddard, an American inventor, invented the first liquid-fueled rocket. If it weren’t for this invention, a lot of the other things on this list wouldn’t exist. For example, it’s because of satellites in space that the internet is available all over the world and it’s because of rockets that satellites have reached outer space. WiFi and GPS would also not have been possible had it not been for the rocket. Other smaller applications are fireworks and the ejection seat.
- Artificial Intelligence
The first Artificial Intelligence program was created by Newell and Simon in 1955. Back then, it was called The Logic Theorist. Today Artificial Intelligence has advanced the way computers work by applying reasoning as search, symbol list processing, and heuristics (a technique of trimming search branches to find solution). In 1997, an AI computer named Deep Blue proved to have a higher IQ than a human by beating a world champion at a chess match.
All the above have contributed in a big way towards changing the world and will continue changing the world in measures that are unthinkable. However there are so many more technologies that have been life changing. And we’re sure it’s already at the tip of your tongue.