Being designers & engineers, these types of questions get thrown around the office all of the time, yet this one seemed to provoke a lot of thought and debate. We managed to narrow it down to a modest three:
1. The Internet- Richard
If you were born anytime after the mid 80’s, the internet is something that has always been there and become a staple to everyday life. If there is a debate between friends and colleagues, the answer always falls in the hands of a ‘Google’. Our communications are heavily influenced on the internet as it allows us to make face to face calls with people all over the world from friends and family to board members at work.
It all started with an international network which required you plug your computer directly into a landline. It has now become a phenomenon that we rely on to do our day to day work, save important files, communicate with each other, diagnose our illnesses and even do all of our shopping. Since the internet has become accessible to the majority of people around the world, it has allowed be to share ideas and create at a much faster rate as the answers to our questions are at our fingertips. It’s obvious that the internet has played a big part in our development as a race, for better or for worse. It now begs the questions, how did we cope without it?!
2. The Transistor- Jed
I know what you’re thinking, “the transistor?!” but please bear with us. This little electronic component has paved the way for all of the smart technology that we use today. In 1947, American physicists John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley invented the first point-contact resistor. The essential usefulness of a transistor comes from its ability to use a small signal applied between one pair of its terminals to control a much larger signal at another pair of terminals. The transistor became a catalyst for the rapid development and miniaturisation of products like radios, calculators and small computers. The invention was that groundbreaking it won Bardeen, Brittain & Shockley the Nobel prize for Physics in 1956.
3. The Aeroplane- Craig
Although it is quite an obvious one, if the ‘Wright Brothers’ didn’t have the vision and the determination to create the first functional aeroplane, we would not be able to travel internationally as easy as we can today. It is a testament to ourselves as a race that we have capabilities to design and manufacture multiple machines that can transport hundreds of people around the world at once.
All of the aviation breakthroughs that occurred in the 20th century were a huge contribution to man’s greatest accomplishment of landing a man on the moon. To think that at the start of the 20th century the first manned flight occurred and 60 years later we managed to fly out of our atmosphere and land on the moon.