Technology that changed our lives: from touchscreens to flexible displays
October 27, 2015
We’ve trawled through the invention timeline and have compiled what we think are the key tech advances that have shaped our lives today.
Ever wondered what it would be like to live by candlelight? Or travel by horse and cart? Electricity and the internal combustion engine are two technological advances that have had a monumental effect on our lives, but has the technology of the past half decade had a similar impact?
We’ve trawled through the invention timeline and have compiled what we think are the key tech advances that have shaped our lives today. Here’s a snapshot, a complete list can be found on the infographic (below).
1967: Before the touchscreen, we used to tap our fingers on unsuitably sized keys. Or use a stylus. The touchscreen is now a staple feature on all mobile phones too, plus it’s making its way into consumer electronics.
1978: Long gone are the days of the carrier pigeon, and there’s no doubt been a slump in stamp sales since the introduction of email. Electronic mail has revolutionised communication. In fact we send over 2 million emails every second.
1990: The internet was around well before the 90s, but engineers from the Netherlands gave the world wireless internet connectivity. To many of us, having access to WiFi in a hotel is akin to having running water – life would seem a bit of a slog without it now.
2000: At the dawn of the new millennium, technologists in Singapore invented the humble USB stick. The Universal Serial Bus ousted the floppy disc and the CD as the portable, memory storage device of choice. We wonder how long it will take for companies like Microsoft and Apple to replace the universal ‘save’ icon from floppy disc to USB stick.
2015: The field of flexible electronics was born – probably much earlier than you imagine – at least a hundred years ago. But we’ve only seen flexible displays come to the market in the last few years. And now, our own engineering team at FlexEnable has developed the plastic LCD. While they’re yet to be found in mainstream products, plastic LCDs will soon eliminate the heartbreak of a cracked mobile phone screen, and even enable thinner, flexed screens to be integrated to almost any sized surface.
We’ve taken a short look back at some of the tech that has shaped our lives, but it would be great to hear what you think we’ll witness in the next 50 years – get in touch @flexenable or firstname.lastname@example.org.