- Intrauterine Device (IUD)
Intrauterine Devices (IUD’s) are long-lasting passive birth control for women. Once inserted they work anywhere from ten years to life. IUD’s are the most common birth-control method in the world. Background IUD’s were first developed in 1909 by Richard Richter of Waldenburg, Germany. Ernst Gräfenberg also supported the devices. He is the doctor the “G-Spot” … Continue reading "Intrauterine Device (IUD)"
Satellites brought the world closer together, enabling instant communication, relaying information, and fulfilling countless military and civilian uses. Sergei Korolev designed the first satellite, the Sputnik 1. It struck fear and hope around the globe as it orbited earth sending radio pings that anybody could hear. Korolev spent years during the Great Purge in Stalin … Continue reading "Satellites"
- Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED)
Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) emit light with virtually no electricity. Lamps, televisions, mobile phone, and computer monitors are common applications. Additionally, OLEDs are bright, high-contrast, and extremely thin. OLED screens are faster, brighter, and use far less energy than LED-based displays. As the technology develops, they will eventually cost less than LED displays. OLED’s are … Continue reading "Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED)"
- Light Emitting Diode (LED)
“New York City and you’re flying in an airplane and you see all these lights. And you think lights, lights, lights, lights, lights.” Nick Holonyak Nick Holonyak Jr.’s mom was an orphan. His dad was a coal miner. After a stint in the mine’s, Nick decided school sounded like a fine idea. Holonyak was the … Continue reading "Light Emitting Diode (LED)"
- Long Playing (LP) Records & Talking Movies
Long-playing records play for a long time, enabling records with more than one song. Background As Edison’s phonograph evolved, the recordings eventually migrated to small disks played at 78 rotations per minute (rpm). Each disk held about three minutes of music per side. Filmmakers wanted to add sound to their movies. Before then, movies ran … Continue reading "Long Playing (LP) Records & Talking Movies"
- Binary Theory
In 1935 theoretical mathematician Alan Turing proposed a machine that would use a series of on and off switches that could represent or compute anything. Turing joined the war effort to build mechanical computers that decrypted Enigma messages. Eventually, he helped with electronic computers. His theories underpin all modern computers. Subsequently, Turing envisaged reasonably sentient … Continue reading "Binary Theory"
Polypropylene: Has a high melting point making it useful for food containers suitable for cooking. Does not react with water, detergents, or other corrosives. Resists cracks, making it useful for building supplies. Natta and Ziegler (a long-time plastics researcher) worked together to innovate polypropylene, the second most commonly used plastic as of 2018. Afterwards, Natta … Continue reading "Polypropylene"
The Jukebox is an automated coin-operated music player which plays individual songs. The differentiating factor of the Jukebox from a simple coin-operated record player is the ability of an automated machine to replace live music in a restaurant or bar. Background Louis Glass and William Arnold modified Edison’s record players to operate by coins. These … Continue reading "Jukebox"
- Kodak Brownie
“You press the button, we do the rest” announced Kodak introducing the camera their first mass market camera. In May 1888, George Eastman invented and sold a camera packed with film for 100 photographs. Customers snapped their hundred photos then mailed the camera back to Kodak. Kodak mailed back the prints and the camera reloaded … Continue reading "Kodak Brownie"
- The Role of Education in Automation Tech
Part I, “Automation Armageddon: a Legitimate Worry?” reviewed the history of automation, focused on projections of gloom-and-doom. Part II, “Automation: Robots in Real Life” reviewed how robots are ubiquitous and create jobs. My first real job was creating a print estimating and production control system for five print plants scattered around the US. Each had … Continue reading "The Role of Education in Automation Tech"
- Turing Complete Electronic Computer, ENIAC
Background Commissioned in 1943, partially functional in July 1944, but not entirely finished until Feb. 1, 1946, ENIAC is the first all-electronic general-purpose Turning complete computer. Engineers built ENIAC to calculate ordinance tables. Eventually, von Neumann used the computer to perform calculations for nuclear weapons and break ENIGMA encrypted messages. Built at the University of … Continue reading "Turing Complete Electronic Computer, ENIAC"
- Communication Satellite
“This satellite must be high enough to carry messages from both sides of the world, which is, of course, an essential requirement for peace…” President Kennedy, July 23, 1962 Communication satellites bring the world closer together, with instant communication. They are especially important for communication, beaming information from one central place to many more. For … Continue reading "Communication Satellite"
- Integrated Circuits (Microchips)
In early electronic computers, each circuit involved a vacuum tube. They were large, relatively slow, and consumed a lot of power. Shockley, Brattain, and Bardeen created the semiconductor. Their circuits eliminated the need for vacuum tubes. Kilby and Noyce discovered that semiconducting material held burned-in semiconductor circuits. Their printed circuits worked like the much larger … Continue reading "Integrated Circuits (Microchips)"
- Football (Soccer)
Football is one of the few innovations entirely lacking in utility that is impactful enough to warrant inclusion. It’s just fun. The game of football (soccer in the US and Australia) is a variation of an ancient game. Essentially, two teams work to get a ball into the goal of the other team. Background It’s … Continue reading "Football (Soccer)"
- Hybrid Corn
Genetic modification by people have produced virtually all plants and animals in the western world. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, and brussels sprouts are all derived from a wild mustard plant in Europe. None of these vegetables exist but-for early genetic engineering. Similarly, all dogs, cows, pigs, sheep, and chickens are modern man-made creations. Scientists … Continue reading "Hybrid Corn"