The Everyday Technology we Never Realized Changed our Lives
Technology is a category with almost no limitation. From your shoe lace to your smart phone, from your toothbrush to your high-tech security system - (wink, wink) - technology has proven to serve endless functions. However, there are some products of technology we use daily, but will often be taken for granted. Here are a few small tech gadgets with big duties:
Credit Card Chips-
Okay, this one we definitely curse its existence rather than applaud it. We all dread that five extra seconds we have to spare inserting our card chips and waiting for that obnoxious beep to alarm so we know the machine read our card. Remember the days when we could swipe those plastic bad-boys and run? Well, don't get too nostalgic because back in the "no chip" days, credit card fraud was prevalent. Counterfeit transactions and fraudulent activity has decreased by approximately 18% since the chips were implemented. So what do you prefer: an easy swipe or no credit card fraud?
Light switches were rendered useless after the invention of the infamous "Clap-on, clap-off" light. Just kidding, who actually uses The Clapper... and why? The light switch was invented in 1884 by John Henry Holmes or J.H. Holmes for short (no relation to H.H. Holmes). Before the light switch made it to the homes of the public or even most businesses there were pendant lights with a turnkey. Doesn't that just sound ancient?
No, I'm not talking about the lasers that shoot out of the eyes of Superman (or Scott Summers' eyes if you're a Marvel fan). The laser scanners I'm talking about are the barcode readers. You know, the thing the cashier does at a grocery store so you can buy stuff? Yeah, you may think that the barcode scanner isn't anything worth talking about, I mean they don't necessarily melt anything, but it really left its mark on history. In June of 1974, the first scanner made by the National Cash Register Co was installed at Marsh's Supermarket in Troy, Ohio. The first product to ever be scanned at a check-out counter was a ten pack of Wrigley's Juicy Fruit gum. It made such a huge impact on modern life that the pack of gum is on display at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History.
Ah, yes. The fashion statement that doubles as protective eye wear. Sunglasses have allegedly been in development dating back to prehistoric times. It wasn't until the 1920's that sunglasses became a widespread phenomena typically among movie stars. By 1937, the eye wear trend had hit the streets and the public became obsessed with the fancy shades. Protection is a key word when describing the function of sunglasses. They shield the delicate eyes from ultraviolet radiation. UV rays can cause severe damage to the eyes like cataracts, blindness, and even some forms of eye cancer. So next time you neglect your sunglasses because they don't go with your outfit, you might want to change your outfit.
Okay, there's no debate on this one. Coffee is amazing and being able to make it yourself in the convenience of your own home is absolutely brilliant. France figured the everyday need for coffee in the late 18th century. Eventually an eccentric American scientist living in France named Count Rumford came up with the French Drip Pot and it was all uphill from there. Collectively, Americans consume 146 billion cups of coffee per year. The U.S. is the leading consumer of coffee in the world. On a more fiscal note, The United States imports more than $4 billion dollars’ worth of coffee each year. Maybe we should cut down on our coffee a little bit. You know, just enough to help the economy? Yeah, right.
Before I dive in to this, let me take a selfie. POSE...AIM...SNAP...ew, filter. Apparently there's this huge Sharp or Samsung debate--who produced the first camera phone-- but the real question is, if this was circa 2000, why did I waist so much time manually uploading my pictures to MySpace with a digital camera? There was a race in the early 2000's to create the best phone camera. They used high quality technology and spent more time on the camera than other aspects of the phone. The rise of the smart phone disrupted this race by presenting a phone with a small camera in a slimmer, more attractive device. The race was over and manufacturers focused on the other phone accessories. Thanks iPhone, now we have to use filters.
The porcelain throne existed for millenniums. Maybe not in porcelain, but our ancestors were definitely on the right track. They knew you needed a hole and a chute to drain the excretions. Isn't it odd to think that only the affluent classes were privileged enough to use toilets and the average citizen had to squat over a pot in a trench right next to a bunch of other people? At least that's a little more civilized than what the Danish did. They defecated in open fields and used it as fertilizer. All of this unsanitary hoopla ended with the development of the flush toilet. It was designed in 1596 by John Harington. Everybody take a moment to thank John.
These technological advances seem small compared to the Artificial Intelligence and drones being developed today, but last time I checked I use all seven of these items in a day more than I use a robot... at least for now. It's the small things.