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Inventions that Shaped Our Lives

These Remarkable Inventors Shaped the Way we Live -
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Nils Bohlin: Inventor of the Three Point Seat Belt, 1959  

Inventions

img source: wired.com

The three point seat belt, is likely one of the most important inventions of late modernity. The simple yet brilliant device, is estimated to have saved over one million lives since it was introduced. Prior to this invention, many cars had two point lap belts, but these weren't as effective, particularly when the number of cars on the road had started to increase. Car manufacturers Volvo, were determined to make a difference, turning to Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin to create a better way of keeping people secure in a collision.   

 

Douglas Engelbart: Inventor of Computer Mouse, 1963 

Inventions

img source: jameco.com courtesy of Stanford Research Institute

Douglas Engelbart created the first prototypes of the now-familiar device, which only had one mouse button in '63. When he displayed his first creation to the public in 1968, the mouse then had three buttons. Since, the mouse has undergone a number of changes, with big companies like Xerox, Apple, Microsoft and Logitech, pouring millions into refining the form and function of the mouse, changing its number of buttons, its interfaces by which they connect to the computer as well as establishing new methods of tracking movements.  

 

John Shepherd Barron: Inventor of the ATM, 1965 

Inventions

img source: wirefresh.com

John Shepherd-Barron came up with the concept of a self-service cash dispenser in 1965 while lying in a bath after getting to his bank too late to withdraw money. He worked for the printing firm De La Rue Instruments at the time and had been inspired by chocolate vending machines. Upon putting the idea to the head of Barclay's Bank, the first ATM was installed at a branch in Enfield London, in 1967. Reg Varney, one of the stars of the then-popular television show On the Buses, became the first person to withdraw cash. Back then, the ATM was operated by inserting a special cheque that was matched against a PIN number. 

 

Stephanie Kwolek: Inventor of Kevlar, 1971 

Inventions

img source: nytimes.com

Kwolek was one of the first women research chemists, having gained national recognition in 1960 for her work with long molecule chains at low temperatures. In 1971, Kwolek's further analysis culminated in an important discovery of liquid crystalline polymer solution. Its exceptional strength and stiffness led to the invention of Kevlar, a synthetic material that is five times as strong as steel. It is resistant to wear, corrosion and flames, and is the main ingredient in the production of bulletproof vests. Kevlar is also used in dozens of other products, including skies, safety helmets, hiking and camping gear.  


Martin Cooper: Inventor of the Cell Phone, 1973 

Inventions

img source: cellphones.procon.org

This American engineer is often dubbed the father of the mobile phone. 42 years ago, while working at Motorola, he created the first portable handset and was the first person to make a call on a portable cell phone while standing on a street near the Manhattan Hilton. He picked up the 2-pound Motorola handset, named the Dyna-Tac, and called rival, Joel Engel, the head of research at AT&T's research arm, Bell Laboratories. The two companies had been competing to create a portable communications device since the sixties.  

Tim Berners-Lee: Inventor of the World Wide Web, 1989 

Inventions

img source: home.web.cern.ch

Originally, the web was conceived and developed to meet the demand for automatic-information sharing between scientists in universities and institutes around the world. The world's first website was hosted on Berners-Lee's NeXT computer (the original web server). The site described the basic features of the web: how to access other people's documents and how to set up your own server. It went live in December 1990. You may browse the world's first website here.  


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