For every successful, innovative product or gadget there are at least another 10 that didn’t take off. Sometimes inventions come along and solve five problems at once, while others attempt to deal with problems nobody knew they had. There have been many technology hits and misses over the last 50 years. Take a look through to see some of the best, and worst.
When the first domestic microwaves were released in Britain in 1959, they were heavy and very expensive. At the start of the decade, few people owned them and they were viewed as a luxury item. As the popularity of freezers and ready meals grew towards the end of the 1960s, the microwave became more of an everyday sight in home kitchens. Today over 80% of UK households own a microwave. This technology has become almost essential in the modern kitchen.
The first food processor was exhibited in Paris in the early 70s; ‘Le Magi-Mix’ was an instant success. The idea was picked up and refined by a number of companies, and soon there were a variety of versions available to 1970s consumers. These modern designs included the 16-speed blender available in three of the most fashionable colours of the time: white, parsley green or curry yellow. This time saving device is still used in a huge majority of kitchens today. New models and designs promising to be the best food processor available are released every year.
Ofcom reports that in 2016 over 90% of adults in the UK own a mobile phone, and over 70% of those are smartphones. Back in 1983 when Motorola released the first ever commercial mobile phone, it offered 30 minutes of talk-time, six hours on standby and had enough memory to store up to 30 phone numbers. It was quite pricey though at £2639. 30 years later and the mobile phone is now a multi-tasking device most of us have within arm’s reach all day, every day.
From cat pictures and selfies to online shopping and banking, the internet is now an integral part of modern life. The dot-com boom in the 90s saw businesses capitalising on this new technology by building their own websites. The internet revolutionised many peoples’ lives, providing one of, if not the greatest advance in communication in human history. Today, around 3.5 billion people have access to the internet .
The Kindle wasn’t the first technology of its kind, but it is undoubtedly the most successful. With a vast library of over 1.5 million titles available, the Kindle has, for some, revolutionised reading, making books more readily accessible. The Kindle has freed up shelf space in our homes and lightened the load in our suitcases. Reading on your morning commute is now easier than ever.
Technology is edging its way into all parts of our lives. Some of this tech is superfluous, but the majority of it will help make our lives easier. Our homes will start working for us, sending us notifications and alerts when something isn’t quite right. There is technology available that’s already pretty smart. LeakBot is a clever little device that you simply clip onto your water supply pipe to detect hidden leaks before they become an issue. The device alerts you of a leak via a message on your smartphone. Kitchen appliances you can control with your smartphone are already on the market. In the not so distant future, this technology will only improve, and you’ll be able to control everything in your home from your mobile device.