While there have been numerous inventions over the last 100 years that have made our lives better in some way, some more than others have significantly changed the way we do things in our everyday lives, and had the ability to change industries and markets.
We present 15 of them (in no particular order). Click on the Commodore 64 below to start the slideshow, and let us know, in the comments section below, if you agree with us, or if we missed something big.
It can be argued that the birth of personal computing began with the Commodore 64, introduced in January 1982 by Commodore International. Some even claim the computer remains the highest selling computer of all time, although itís difficult to prove. Claim notwithstanding, the Commodore 64 certainly made the PC accessible to a wide audience and ushered in the now-thriving market for home computing systems. The Commodore 64 also provided a platform for a new generation of computer programmers that would change the world with their inventions years later. (Source: Wikipedia Commons)
It is important that you listed the limitation of the last 100 years. If not, the most impactful inventions overall were from the dawn of man, such as fire and the wheel. Every invention builds upon the inventions, science, and engineering from the past. Because of that, early, fundamental things are more impactful.
However, even for the last 100 years, the list is quite narrow, primariy within the field of electronics which is actually a small percentage of man's endeavors. I would argue that the most impactful things are within the fields of chemistry, biology, medical, agricultural, and structural engineering. These things have greatly lengthened our lives, fed us, sheltered us, and made us physically comfortable. Removing pain and serving fundamental needs takes precedence according to Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
Elizabeth, it is certainly true tha5t the things listed had an impact, but as somebody else states, the transistor was far more fundamental, and did result in enabling many of the other changes.
And several of those changes were in the form of DAMAGE. It is important to realize that only about half of all changes are improvements.
All of those neat little application programs will reduce the battery charge life on your phone, as a real example. And while the proliferation of video games certainly created an industry that supports a lot of people, those games certainly waste a huge number of hours on completely nonproductive activity. Those are two examples. The smartphone enabling those short text messages and such has reduced person to person contact, which the internet has also done, although it has also enabled keeping up with distant friends in an easier and cheaper manner.
The portable music carrirs have lead to a whole lot of people on the street being much less aware of their surroundings. Have you ever had to very quickly avoid a jogger with earphones on who never heard your car? It is a quite uncomfortable experience, and when it happens once a week or more it becomes really irritating.
And it is certainly not a "given" that society is better off with everybody having a computer and instant communication over all the world. Of course there are a few benefits, but there is also a large level of de-personalization, and one huge amount of totally incorrect information floating around. And consider that porn is now available instantly everywhere, including all kinds of unsolicited stuff on facebook.
Those are some examples of the changes that are really not ikprovements in the quality of life.
Dec 22, 1947. Bell Labs invents the transistor! Without the fundamental building block of the transistor, both what it does and how it can be fabricated, most of the other inventions listed were not feasable.
That's interesting, 78RPM, I didn't know about this process. Obviously I couldn't put everything on the list and I tried to stick to devices and software rather than chemical processes. But you are right in that this sounds like a key invention of the 20th century that greatly affected life as we know it.
I know, Debera, the digital camera made it much easier to take photos and capture our lives. One thing is that people don't seem to print photos as much as they used to--but in a way it's more efficient and economical, in that they only print the good ones rather than getting back all of these prints (also a waste of paper/materials), some of which aren't very good or memorable.
Thanks, Chuck, I agree (which is why I put Netscape on the list!). I think people forget about Netscape. Until we had the browser, the Internet was used in the world of military and research. Netscape's software was the real key for giving the world the Internet. it's a shame what happened to the software and the company, but no one can deny the impact it had on the world, or take that away from the folks who invented it.
Yes, Nancy, I know what you mean, and that is one of the reasons I included it on the list. I think the game console changed our lives in a big way and not necessarily for the better, as you mention. While I believe some games kids play actually can teach them things, I do also think a lot of time is wasted. I suppose, though, that maybe there are some skills being learned in game playing that people might use in their every-day lives, but I can't say off the top of my head what they might be.
Thanks, Ann. Yes, I am sure that claim is bunk as well, it's funny that people would even try to make it. But I guess it just shows what impact the Commodore 64 had at the time it was released, which I guess is the point.
@Ipods no doubt were very interesting and very famous invention of its times . I still can remember that in 2004 every student in the university used to carry ipod to listen music. It always fascinated me because it made the lives of music lovers very easy and portable . It was just a matter of a wireless gadget that composed of songs .
It won't be too much longer and hardware design, as we used to know it, will be remembered alongside the slide rule and the Karnaugh map. You will need to move beyond those familiar bits and bytes into the new world of software centric design.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.