Throughout the history of humanity, there have been several inventions that revolutionized the way we live on the planet.
The one thing that has helped in making human beings the dominant species on the planet is our ability to conceptualize, envision, and explore novel ways to improve our experience of life.
Most of the inventions were birthed due to necessity and have solved some immediate need.
However, there are many inventions that were born simply due to the ability of the human species to experiment with the various elements of the earth.
Any device, composition, method, or process which is new and unique is called an invention.
The person behind the invention is called an inventor because he or she was the first to think about it and execute it.
The invention process can be simple or highly complex depending on the end result. It usually involves the engineering and development of a product.
Inventions can be an improvement on an existing product or it can be a brand new product.
When an invention is able to accomplish a completely new function that has not been known before it is said to be a radical breakthrough.
Human evolution is marked by several inventions that changed the way we live. For example, the invention of the wheel changed the way we moved about on the planet.
Similarly, the invention of computers has changed the way we work and earn our living.
Inventions are integral to the story of humanity and have helped our understanding of the cosmos and its workings.
The human beings we see today are a result of thousands of years of evolution powered by several inventions.
Our ancestors developed some of the most revolutionary inventions because of which we were able to evolve rapidly and live differently than other creatures on our planet.
Acheulean Handaxe was invented 1,700,000 years ago and changed the way we hunted animals.
They were sharp weapons made up of pointed stones or bones tied to a wooden stick.
They allowed human beings to maintain a safe distance from the animals while attacking them with sharp edges.
Despite so many years of evolution, this tool has maintained its basic shape and design even today.
Lighting and controlling fire was perhaps the most important discovery that humans made in the history of humanity.
Controlling fire allowed human beings to keep themselves warm and also prevent animals from disturbing them.
The comfort and safety provided by this invention propelled human beings to learn other uses of fire such as cooking, making ceramic pots, etc.
Humans learned how to control fire about 300,000 years ago, some even say that this invention occurred 790,000 years ago in Israel.
Art is another invention that has brought about the greatest changes in the lifestyle of human beings.
Using natural pigment to make symbols on cave walls not only showed the ingenuity of the human mind but also sheds light on how we perceived the world.
We don’t know the exact reason behind the development of art but it has served the purpose of communication and creation ever since.
The use of strings to make items like fishing nets or even cloth has been recorded for 40,000 years.
Similarly, the use of leather to cover feet allowed our ancestors to walk on tough terrains. It increased our mobility and allowed us to go to faraway places.
There were several inventions our early ancestors made which not only allowed them to overcome challenges faced by other animals but also substantially increased the power humans wielded on their environment.
When humans observed the process of germination they invented what we now know as agriculture.
Human beings learned that they need not travel to other places in order to find food but could actually control the whole process of growing their own food.
They began collecting seeds and developing their agricultural methods in a rudimentary way. This change in lifestyle also meant that humans could settle in one place.
Before they were hunter-gatherers which meant that they walked from place to place to find food just like other animals.
But agriculture changed this completely when humans began learning how to build shelters and form a stable society.
Domestication of animals accompanied the invention of agriculture and eased the burden of human beings.
Wild dogs were domesticated by giving them scraps of food. Humans figured out that making friends with animals not only earned their loyalty but also reduced competition for resources.
Animals like sheep were used for their wool and meat, while mules and donkeys were used to carry heavy objects.
The invention of the wheel changed the way humans moved about on the planet. The modern car is only an improved version of the wheel.
When the humans observed how a log of wood rolled down on its own covering a long distance, they decided to put this discovery into practice by crafting wheels out of wood.
Later they invented a way to attach the wheel to draft animals further improving the transport of people and the goods they created.
The wheel was invented about 3500 years ago and since then various new improvements were made to it. For example, the use of rubber to prevent fiction and also the use of air-filled tubes to provide smoother movement.
Humans discovered how to attach solid objects such as wood to create tools and furniture. About 2000 years ago, humans invented nails by shaping metal into pointed needles.
All these inventions were interconnected to each other and played a significant role in developing the technology we take for granted.
If we would not have learned how to use fire, it would have been impossible for humankind to invent simple pieces of technology such as nails.
The modern technologies that humans invented have become famous all over the world and are the reason behind our success as a species.
The most recent inventions that have changed the way we live happened during the industrial revolution and unlike the early inventions, we do have a record of the brilliant people behind these inventions.
The discovery of electricity is probably the biggest invention modern humans have been able to make.
There are several debates about who discovered electricity but we do know who was able to put it into practice.
Michael Faraday created the electric motor during the year 1821 while studying electromagnetism and electrochemistry.
His biggest discoveries were in the field of electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism, and electrolysis.
The electric bulb was invented by Thomas Edison. He understood that light can be created if we heat a wire filament inside a glass globe.
He invented a way to supply current to the filament via wires that were located in the glass.
His invention is the reason why humans could work beyond daylight hours without burning significant amounts of oil.
Nikola Tesla recently gained recognition for the tremendous work he was able to accomplish in a very short time.
His most significant discovery allowed us to connect large areas of land with electricity through an alternating current electricity supply system.
Tesla Coil was created for high voltage, low current, and high frequency alternating current electricity.
Tesla’s understanding of the phenomena of electricity led him to develop ideas that were unthinkable during his time.
He imagined the use of wireless electricity and even demonstrated his work to the public when he lit Geissler tubes from a short distance.
Though his inventions were not able to bring him material success when he lived, he is remembered for his great contributions to the technologies we have today.
Arogyaswami Paulraj was another inventor who significantly contributed to wireless technology through MIMO, multiple input multiple output technologies that exploit various antennas at either end of the wireless link.
The invention of dynamite by a Swedish inventor called Alfred Nobel replaced the use of black powder.
His invention revolutionized the way we mine for resources and construct modern architecture.
Ransom Eli Olds invented the process of manufacturing called assembly line wherein several smaller pieces are first manufactured separately and then combined to create the final product.
It is also called a progressive assembly and is mostly used in the manufacture of automobiles, household items, and electronic goods.
It significantly reduced the time required to manufacture complex items and encouraged the efficient use of human labor.
John Joseph Montgomery experimented with flying machines through his heavier-than-air gliders.
His flying machines are considered the very first attempted controlled flights in America.
The Wright brothers are also notable inventors in the field of controlled flights. They designed the fixed-wing aircraft which were able to generate lift and fly due to the shape of the wings.
Alexander Graham Bell is probably the most well-known inventor due to his revolutionary work in the field of communication.
He invented the telephone which is a device that can convert sounds into electronic signals. The signals can be transmitted over large distances through cables.
The printing press is yet another device that changed the way we communicated with other human beings.
Johann Gutenberg was behind this genius idea which allowed us to print vast sums of information in a relatively short time.
The cotton gin was a device that could separate cotton fibers from the seeds. It was invented by Eli Whitney and its use stimulated the trade of cotton during the industrial revolution.
George Washington Carver experimented with peanuts, soybeans, pecans, and potatoes. He was an agricultural chemist and discovered over 300 uses for simple produce grown in the American South.
The mechanical television was invented by John Logie Baird during the 20th century and was the early version of the televisions we use now.
He was also responsible for the inventions of radar and fiber optics.
The popular sport of basketball was the invention of a physical education teacher called James Naismith during the year 1891.
Tim Berners Lee developed the idea for the world wide web through web browsers, servers, and hyper texting.
Today any person with access to a device that can connect to the internet benefits from Lee’s invention made in 1989.
Necessity is the Mother of Inventions
There are thousands of other inventions that have contributed to the lives of humans across millennia. Many of these inventions have even benefited animals and other living species.
The reason behind every invention is the need for it as made clear in the English saying Necessity is the Mother of all Inventions.
The main quality of an inventor is his or her ability to see what others are not able to see.
While most of us see a blue sky, some are able to see the patterns in the sky which leads them to investigate more.
Another important quality of an inventor is his or her desire to find a solution to a problem. They keep abreast with the difficulties faced by human beings and focus on resolving them.
Many of the inventors we have mentioned above were not recognized by their teachers nor their peers. They often had eccentric personalities and maintained unusual routines.
For example, Albert Einstein was not comfortable with the teaching methods in his school and preferred to teach himself complex subjects such as mathematics and algebra.
He dressed eccentrically and kept an unusual hairstyle and was often ridiculed for his views.
However, his uniqueness is what led him to change the way we approach the philosophy of science and brought about the groundbreaking theory of relativity.
Inventions are any new discoveries that change the way we view our world. They can occur in art, sciences, tools, machines, society, and even thoughts.
Any process, composition, device, or method that expands the limits of human knowledge, creativity, experience, or capability is called an invention and can be brought about by any human who dares to think out of the box.