Posted by: pen2bit | February 22, 2009

30 years of innovations!



A personal Thought;

IT’s Share in recent top 30 Tech Innovation in last 30 years

(By PBS)

An excerpt from PBS.ORG’s Article:

In celebration of our 30th year on television, Nightly Business Report partnered with Knowledge@Wharton to identify “The Top 30 Innovations of the Last 30 Years.” NBR viewers suggested the advances they admired during the 1979 to 2009 time frame. Professors at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania selected and ranked the top thirty. The winners were announced on February 16, 2009.

What do you think?

Take your time, when you scroll down and read this post, try to guess some of those 30 tech innovations! Try to guess the fraction of IT related tech innovations! Any thought?

It is amazing to see how involved our lives are with these technologies.just imagine to live 30 years ago and want to live same as now!

As a personal experience, I remember, about 20 years ago, there were “pen pal“ things in hands of youngsters of that time(be honest I was a kid), where no email, no chatting nor “online social networks” were available!

Scroll down …….Did you guess any technology?Can estimate a percentage of IT related “tech innovations”?







I think 19 out 30 innovations were IT related ones! Almost 63% of them!

Now check if you can find your guess in the list below. (Scroll down for a brief history)

30- Anti-Retroviral Treatment for AIDS

29-SRAM/Flash Memory



26-Bar Codes and Scanners


24-Genetically Modified Plants 23-RFID and applications 22-Digital Photography/Videography
21-GUI 20-Social networking via internet 19-Large Scale Wind Turbines
18-Photovoltaic Solar Energy 17-Microfinance 16-Media File Compression

17-Online shopping/ecommerce/auctions


13-Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs)

12-Light Emitting Diode products (LEDs) 11-Open Source Software and Services 10-Non-Invasive Laser/Robotic Surgery
9-Office Software 8-Fiber Optics 7-Microprocessors
6-Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) 5-DNA Testing and Sequencing/Human Genome Mapping 4-E-Mail
3-Mobile phones 2-PC/laptop computers 1-Internet/broadband/WWW

If you did not find your suggested Tech, let us know about it in the comments!


Below brief history is from PBS (PBS.ORG)

Anti-Retroviral Treatment for AIDS
AIDS became an epidemic in the 1980’s. In 1984, the retrovirus that caused the disease was isolated, and doctors turned to zidovudine — a 20 year old, rejected anti-cancer drug — for help. Renamed AZT, this drug attacked the virus and saved lives. In 1987, AZT became the first antiretroviral drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In the 1990’s, more antiretrovirals were developed.

# 29
S-RAM/Flash Memory
Static random access memory (SRAM) was invented in 1970, around the same time dynamic random access memory (DRAM) was invented. SRAM is simpler and faster than DRAM, which makes it better suited to handle cache memory functions in computers. Flash memory was invented in 1980, and the first USB Flash Drive went to market in 1996. The drive quickly revolutionized the storage and transfer of computer data.

# 28
The inspiration for the invention of the modern coronary or heart stent came from the failings of angioplasty. In some cases, an artery would close up again after the angioplasty balloon was removed. Doctors wanted a way to keep those arteries open permanently. The first stent was inserted in a human coronary artery in 1986, and the first stents were approved for use in the U.S. in 1994.

# 27
Early versions of the automatic teller machine (ATM) appeared in the 1960’s, but they dispensed only predetermined amounts of money and were not networked to computers. Use of ATMs expanded in the 1970’s, after the magnetic stripe card was introduced and the machines were networked to computers. These days ATMs have become a part of daily life, and they allow many people to do their banking with little human contact.

# 26
Bar Codes and Scanners
The first bar code (with reader) was invented in the 1950’s, but bar code wasn’t used commerically until the 1960’s. Its use expanded in the 1970’s once a bar code standard (UPC) was developed and the first supermarket — Marsh’s in Troy, Ohio — installed a UPC scanner. Bar codes are now a standard in the retail industry and also have important manufacturing and military applications.

# 25
The early history of biofuels is tied to the history of Rudolf Diesel, whose first engines ran on biofuels like peanut oil. In 1908, Henry Ford built a Model T that ran on ethanol. Of course, both Diesel and Ford soon found petroleum to be a more efficient fuel source. In the 1970’s, energy crises and the adoption of the U.S. Clean Air Act boosted interest in biofuels. Today’s biofuel market continues to grow in response to energy and environment issues.

# 24
Genetically Modified Plants
The development of genetically modified plants was a natural evolution of the work of Gregor Mendel in the 1800’s and the discovery of DNA structure in 1953. In 1994, the first genetically modified plant — a crop of California tomatoes — went to market. Today, commercial growers modify crops to make them resistant to diseases and to make them better able to tolerate pesticides.

RFID and applications
Long before Nike+ used radio frequency device to tell you how fast you’re running, the technology was being used in World War II radar systems. In the ’80s it was put to use in automated toll payment systems, enabling speedsters everywhere the ability to fly through the tolls.

# 22
Digital Photography/Videography
The earliest forays into digital imaging were rooted in video. The first solid-state video camera was protyped in 1970, and the Mavica still camera Sony built in 1981 actually worked more like a video camera. In the late 1980’s, the development of the mega pixel sensor and improved storage mediums made digital photography and videography commercially viable. And, it only took time for the digital market to outstrip the film market.

The first graphical user interface was invented by Douglas Englebart in 1968, and in the late ’70s and early ’80s GUI design advanced, largely thanks to Apple. Because of these pioneers, we can take it for granted that we interact with our computer using a mouse and have easy-to-understand icons and other graphical controls instead of having to remember a bunch of computer commands.

Social networking via internet
Internet-based social networks really are very new. (1997) is the earliest social network site, according to PBS, but it wasn’t until MySpace, which launched in 2003, that social networks began to appeal to the masses. Now, of course, there’s Facebook, which gives you endless opportunities to have worlds collide, and Twitter, which empowers you to become your own paparazzi by dropping life tidbits, wisdom, and your comings and goings to your anxious followers.

# 19
Large Scale Wind Turbines
Wind power has an ancient history, with the first windmills appearing in 200 B.C. The modern wind energy movement started as a response to the oil embargo and energy crises of the 1970’s. Today, many nations have wind power plants — or wind farms — in operation. The U.S. leads the world in total wind power generation, while Denmark leads the world in the percentage of wind power as part of total energy output.

# 18
Photovoltaic Solar Energy
Scientists first discovered the photovoltaic effect in the 1800’s, and a handful of industrial revolution-era factories used solar power to produce steam. The modern solar energy movement started as a response to the oil embargo and energy crises of the 1970’s. Today, there are a number of commercial solar power plants, and some individuals are using solar panels to heat pools, water, and even return energy to the electric grid.

# 17
The concept behind microfinance — bringing financial services to poor or low-income individuals — has existed for centuries, but it became a movement in the 1980’s. That’s when economist Muhammad Yunus founded his Grameen Bank and started making very small loans to the poor in Bangladesh. The goal of such loans is to give people the means to lift themselves out of poverty. Yunus and Grameen were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.

# 16
Media File Compression
Media file compression is a natural extension of the data compression computer scientists developed to store text files in the 1970’s. In the 1980’s, committees of experts created the popular compression standards we know as JPEG and MPEG. Without compression, we would not be able to transmit images, audio, and video via the Internet.

Online shopping/ecommerce/auctions
Where would we be without Amazon, eBay and other online stores? Stuck in traffic on the way to the mall, that’s where. Thanks to the Internet being opened up to commercial use, the ability for companies to capitalize on electronic transactions took off. As did our hunger for a more peaceful shopping experience.

# 14
The U.S. Department of Defense brought the Global Positioning System (GPS) — a network of more than 24 satellites that can be used to pinpoint locations on earth — online in 1993. Though conceived for miliatry applications, the GPS quickly became a civilian navigation aid and spawned its own idustry. Today, there are GPS devices in cars, mobile phones, watches, and other products.

# 13
Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs)
Liquid crystals were first discovered in the late 1800’s, but scientists didn’t figure out how to use electricity to create intricate patterns with the crystals until the 1960’s. The first liquid crystal displays (LCDs) began to appear in the 1970’s. Today, LCDs are found in clocks, computers, televisions, automobiles, and many other products.

# 12
Light Emitting Diode products (LEDs)
Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are tiny, cool-running light sources. Scientists have been experimenting with them since the early 1900’s, but the technology wasn’t practical until the 1960’s. The calculator was one of the first products to incorporate LEDs, and many products — particularly appliances and automobiles — followed suit in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

# 11
Open Source Software and Services
Frustrated by copyrights companies added to software in the 1970’s Richard Stallman — a former MIT programmer — launched the GNU Project in 1984. His goal was to create an operating system with no restrictions on accessing source code. Along the way, he published the first free software license. This GNU General Public License has since been used to release Linux,, Mozilla Firefox, WikiPedia, and other open source software and services.

# 10
Non-Invasive Laser/Robotic Surgery
The 1980’s bred major developments in surgery. The first minimally invasive — or laproscopic — surgery was performed in 1987. Robots were first used to perform biopsies in 1985. And, in the early 1980’s, scientists discovered that lasers could be used to cut organic tissue. All of these developments helped make surgery more precise, which in turn, made surgery safer and reduced the recovery time for patients.

# 9
Office Software
Office software, including word processing and spreadsheet programs, has shaped the way we do business, improving efficiency and giving analytical power to more members of the workforce. This software evolved during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Visicalc — the first spreadsheet program — was distributed in 1979. WordStar, which also debuted in 1979, became the most popular word processing program of the early 1980’s.

# 8
Fiber Optics
The science behind fiber optics has been studied since the 1800’s, but it wasn’t until the 1970’s that the quality of optical fibers improved enough to allow their use in communication applications. Fiber optics quickly became the preferred medium for telecommunication and networking because the cables can span long distances with few repeaters and can carry signals at rates over 100 gigabytes per second, though speeds that fast aren’t widely used.

# 7
A microprocessor is a single integrated circuit that holds a central processing unit (CPU). The first microprocessors were developed in the 1970’s for calculators. By the end of the 1970’s, the microprocessor had led to the development of the microcomputer or personal computer. Ever since, the size of microprocessors has been shrinking while their processing capacity has been growing, and the world has been changing as a result.

# 6
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
In the 1970’s, scientists figured out how to use nuclear magnetic resonance to produce images, and they began using those images to detect diseases in tissue samples. In 1977, a prototype of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine conducted the first full body scan. However, it wasn’t until the late 1990’s that MRI technology became truly portable and, as a result, widely available in hospitals and doctor’s

# 5
DNA Testing and Sequencing/Human Genome Mapping
The structure of DNA was first discovered by Watson and Crick in 1953, but it wasn’t until the late 1970’s that scientists began to sequence some DNA molecules. Then, in 1990, the U.S. government organized the effort to map the human genome. This effort to identify all the 20,000 to 25,000 genes in human DNA was completed 13 years later, in 2003. The achievement has led to great advancements in the research of and treatment of genetic diseases.

# 4
Historians believe e-mail (electronic mail) evolved from messages sent by programmers using a time-sharing computing system at Massachusetts Insitute of Technology in the 1960’s. But, e-mail didn’t really become accessible to the public until the late 1980’s, and its use became more widespread in the 1990’s. Today, e-mail is a staple of business and personal communication.

Mobile phones
Take a look at your tiny little cell phone and be thankful. The first mobile phones, which Motorola unleashed on the market in 1983, were confined to the car (until a few years later when they became more mobile) and were the size of a briefcase.

PC/laptop computers
1981 was a big year for computers: IBM launched the 5150 model (which it called a “personal computer”) and the Osborne 1 became the first portable computer. Weighing in at 24 pounds, it challenges our current notion of laptop.

Coming in at #1 is the Internet. Our slavery to Google, our addiction to Twitter, our ability to keep up-to-date on any given news topic, our ability to send and receive far too many e-mails…The Internet enabled so many other phenomenon that it’s startling to realize the Internet as we know it only arrived in the ’90s. But it didn’t take long to change our lives forever.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: