Technology changed our way of life since at least 250 years, with the invention of the spin machine spinning jenny by James Hargreaves that started the English industrial revolution. Sometimes, however, even small tech gadgets have left trace in our way to live: Time magazine tried to rank the 50 tech gadgets most influential of all times.
Most influential tech gadgets ever
The ranking is obviously arbitrary but it is interesting to see how nearby phonograph have found room Oculus Rift 3D viewer, the Sony Walkman and the first real cellphone, the Motorola Dynatac 8000X. I tought to critically review the Time’s ranking and to propose you those tech gadgets which in my opinion really proved to be “disruptive“, but if you want to see the complete list you can follow this link (or let us know with a comment those which are the most important tech gadgets for you).
VR and AR viewers
The latest tech gadget have been, rightly, inserted in the low parts of the ranking. But maybe Google Glass, put by Time mentioned as the 50th more influential tech gadget ever, deserved a better rank, as the Oculus Rift, at the 39th place. After all both have revolutionized our way to see the reality.
So far drones are to a large extent just toys (if we exclude military ones), but in the future you/they could reveal very versatile tech gadgest, with applications from the monitoring to the rescue, from the parcel delivery to the aerial imaging. To the Time’s stuff the thing must not impress a lot since they put Phantom drones of Chinese producer DJI at the 46th place of their ranking. Time will tell if they have been right or wrong.
Tech gadgets applied to the sport and health sector seem to have some possibilities in more than to change us if not the life at least the small daily habits. So the Fitbit rank at 42th place of Time’s ranking and, most important, show that wearable devices of which it has been speaking for years can have a practical use and be widely adopted: just in 2015 have already been sold over 20 million units, who thought that “wearables” that they would never have been stylish has had to think again.
Inkjet printers like the HP Deskjet, at 35th place in Time’s ranking, could seem you obsolete and certainly when they were launched (this model in 1988) were expensive (995 dollars), but they have given the possibility to whom owned a personal computer to autonomously stamp his own documents, without resorting to professional typographies. One of the so many examples of “disruptive” revolution of which continually feel to speak without thinking to as they change our life (and that of our suppliers of products and services).
Talkin about computers Time’s editors selection has been wide: the Osborne 1, first “portable computer” ever, launched in 1981 and unfortunately a commercial failuter because of the premature announce of new and more powerfull release (a mistake that management schools have labelled “Osborne effect”) has been put at the 43rd place, the Apple iBook, first wireless portable pc launched in 1999, ranks 38th, the Commodore 64, icon of the Eighties (launched in 1982), is at 26th place, the Ibm Thinkpad 700C, a success of the following decade (launched in 1990) ranks 21st, the Ibm 5150 pc desktop (of 1981) is fifth, the cooler and more revolutionary Apple Macintosh (1983) ranks third. To mention eventhe Rasperry Pi: it is just 45th, but for a computer that is in on just a little motherboard and coasts 35 dollars and that for this reason itìs quickly spreading in all the schools of the world it is not too bed, isn’t it?
A step under computers for importance, in the Time’s ranking of the most influential tech gadgest ever are the videogame consoles. To remain impatial, the Nintendo Wii ranks 32nd, hjstoric (1994) Sony Playstation is at 31st place, the Nintendo Game Boy (1989), sold in over 200 million units all over the world, is 16th, the Atari 2600 which in 1977 with its 8 bits graphics for first turned on the imagination of million of players is 13rd. Curiously is lacking any mention of Microsoft Xbox, a mistake or a choice?
More important than computers and videogame consoles, most pervasive of television (by the way Sony Triniton, of 1968, ranks second), cellphones seem to be judged by Time the tech gadgets that have mostly changed our life, at least in the last century. The Apple iPhone, launched in 2007, ranks first, the Motorola Droid (2009) is 20th, the BlackBerry 6210 is 24th, the Nokia 3210 (which, from 1999, was sold in over 160 million units doing the fortune of the Finnish producer) is 34th, the Motorola Dynatac 8000x, another icon of the Eighties (do you remember when Gordon Gekko in Wall Street use it?), is 37th.
Other tech gadgets not to forget
Other tech gadgets in the Time taking vary from the VCRs to the gramophones, from the tablets to the pagers, from the instant photographic camera as the classic Polaroid of 1977 (27th) to the cassette tape recorder Sony Walkman (fourth), up to tech gadgets which have had a very curious diffusion not tied up to the initially foreseen use as the Hitachi Magic Wand (tenth), developed as masseur but become famous, after a 2002 Sex and the City episode, as female vibrator…
Overall a curious and amusing classification, which makes to us understand how technology can in few years or decades modify apparently secondary yet very pervaded aspects of our life. I think that even the current geek technologies, from virtual and augmented reality to drones and 3D printers will be able to do.
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