From the invention of the first, primitive wheel to the Space Shuttle, human history is punctuated by seminal inventions that grew rapidly from useful novelties to devices that were absolutely vital to everyday life. Here are just five of those items, and why we cannot fathom getting rid of them, and doing without.
How could any list collating the most pivotal technologies even consider overlooking the smartphone, which has now been a staple within our lives for nigh-on two decades?
While cell phones had been playing their own role throughout the 90s, it was only with the release of the very first iPhone in 2017 that their true potential began to be realised. Today, we are still finding new ways of integrating our lives within these devices, and very few of us can imagine life without them.
2. Surgical Retractors
Despite the fact that surgery has advanced far beyond its dangerous and guesswork-fuelled beginnings, there remain plenty of challenges that even the most experienced surgeons must address each and every day.
While plenty of tools and techniques have been devised in order to assist with allowing the surgeon to access and view certain hard-to-reach areas of the human body, none have come as far as the modern surgical retractor, which enables the surgeon full, single-handed control over their ability to see and access areas within an incision.
There are plenty of positives to this, from limiting the number of people required within an OR to lowering the costs of a procedure, and it’s clear to see why surgeons cannot do without this vital piece of equipment.
One of the larger items on this list, refrigerators were first introduced into homes during the 50s, replacing both the relatively primitive icebox, and daily trips out to buy perishable essentials. Since the mid-twentieth century, these objects have taken hold within billions of homes and businesses around the world, and life without them is virtually unimaginable.
4. X-Ray Machines
Before x-ray, or radiography, was available, doctors who needed to work out what was occurring within a patients’ body – for instance, if they were experiencing extreme pain in their leg – would have to resort to guesswork or, in extreme cases, exploratory surgery.
Of course, this wasn’t ideal, and patients’ chances of surviving a wide range of illnesses and injuries were significantly lower than they are today, with thanks to the medical x-ray machine.
5. Wi-Fi Routers
A little more than twelve months ago, very few of us would have voluntarily sacrificed our at-home Wi-Fi. Even then, we would have claimed that it was essential to our day-to-day lives, and that doing without it would be far too inconvenient to even comprehend.
Now, in a world that has had to rapidly acclimatise to spending great swathes of time at home – and, of course, relocating office work to our spare bedrooms – it is clear that our ability to connect with the rest of the world has taken on an entirely new significance in our lives.
As a collective, our needs and requirements are constantly changing, and inventors around the world are forever working to ensure that those needs are met. We can anticipate plenty more inventions in the coming years that will prove to be indispensable in the future.
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