Tuesday, 6 November 2007

101 gadgets, from The Independent

101 gadgets that changed the world
Compiled by Simon Usborne, Independent Published: 03 November 2007

This list appeared in last Saturday's Independent. I've grouped them into those that I argue deal with Information in one form or another, and those that don't. You might disagree with my categorisation... I might add some further discussion at some point. At the moment, I'm claiming 55 of them as information gadgets, leaving 46 that are not - so more than 50% of technology is about information. Actually I'd expected to be able to claim more of them. (The numbers alongside them are just the number from the original list, which was alphabetical so they don't mean anything - they are just labels.)

Information gadgets:

1. Abacus, AD190
4. Atari 2600, 1977
6. Barcode, 1973
9. Biro, 1938
10. Blackberry, 1999
14. Camcorder, 1983
15. Camera, 1826
17. CD, 1965
18. Clockwork radio, 1991
19. Compass, 1190
21. Credit card, 1950
22. Digital camera, 1975
23. Digital TV recorder, 1999
24. Digital watch, 1972
25. Drum, 12,000BC
28. Eraser, 1770
29. Fax machine, 1843
30. Fibre optic cable, 1966
33. Floppy disk, 1971
37. GPS, 1978
41. iPod, 2001
43. Laptop, 1982
46. Lead pencil, 1564
48. Locks, 2000BC
50. Mechanical clock, 1092
51. Microchip, 1958
52. Microscope, 1590
54. Mobile phone, 1947
55. Mouse, 1964
56. Nintendo Gameboy, 1989
57. Noise-cancelling headphones, 1988
58. Paper clip, c.1892
59. Paper, AD105
60. PC, 1977
63. Pocket calculator, 1971
64. Polaroid camera, 1947
66. Post-it note, 1973
67. Printing press, 1454
68. Qwerty keyboard, 1868
69. Radio, 1895
70. Robot, 1921
76. SMS, 1992
77. Spectacles, 1451
78. Stethoscope, 1819
81. Telephone, 1876
82. Telescope, 1608
83. Television, 1925
84. The internet, 1969
87. Thermometer, 1592
90. Transistor radio, 1953
91. Transistor, 1947
92. TV remote control, 1950
96. VHS recorder, 1976
98. Walkman, 1979
99. Weighing scales, 5000BC

The rest:

2. Archimedes Screw, c.700BC
3. Aspirin, 1899
5. Barbed wire, 1873
7. Battery, 1800
8. Bicycle, 1861
11. Bow and arrow, 30,000BC
12. Bra, 1913
13. Button, 1235
16. Cardiac pacemaker, 1958 (Maybe I could claim this one.)
20. Condom, 1640
26. Dynamite, 1867
27. Electric shaver, 1928
31. Fire, 590,000BC
32. Fish hook, 30,000BC
34. Flushing toilet, 1597
35. Fridge, 1834
36. Gore-Tex, 1972
38. Guillotine, 1792
39. Gun, 14th century
40. Internal combustion engine, 1859
42. Kettle, 1891
44. Laser, 1960
45. Lawnmower, 1830
47. Light bulb, 1848
49. Machine gun, 1884
53. Microwave oven, 1946
61. Plough, AD100
62. Pneumatic tyre, 1845
65. Pop-up toaster, 1926
71. Rubber band, 1845
72. Saddle, AD200
73. Safety razor, 1895
74. Sellotape, 1937
75. Sewing machine, 1830
79. Swiss Army Knife, 1897
80. Syringe, 1844
85. The match, 1826
86. The Pill, 1951
88. Tools, 2,600,000BC
89. Toothbrush, 1498
93. Umbrella, 2400BC
94. Vacuum cleaner, 1901
95. Velcro, 1948
97. Vibrator, 1902
100. Wheel, 3500BC
101. Zip, 1913

2 comments:

David Chapman said...

It would be interesting to display these according to date. It looks like the information ones will predominantly the more recent.

Anonymous said...

Even for the 'information' ones (although with the term loosely interpreted), about one sixth are pre 1900. Which seems about what you'd expect. But we can probably all think of older 'information' (notions if not necessarily gadgets)not mentioned - semaphore, the astrolabe, cartographic tools, perspective, ...

Chris B