Innovations experienced since childhood

"What are the innovations you have experienced with since childhood?"
This is one of the questions posed by Dennis, an engineer at 3M, to us.

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Here are some responses from the students. Click on the links to find out more.
  1. Television
  2. Playstation
  3. Mobile Phone
  4. Cars

1. Television

The History Channel: How TV Was Invented

Many years ago, we used to have big television (what we could call cathode-ray tube or CRT) which might have given problems like colour display. Over the years, TVs have been redesigned with cutting-edge technology. Latest TVs include LCD and plasma screens which have much greater resolution and brightness, making television closer to reality.
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2. Play Station


The invention of the PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 3 revolutionized game-play as we know it, integrating not just better quality graphics but greater capabilities into the system. These capabilities include web access and music player functions.

3. Mobile Phone

One innovation in which we have seen rapid technological advancement over the years is the mobile phone. Before the mobile phone was invented, pagers were popular communication tools.
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On April 3, 1973, the first working prototype of the handheld mobile phone, the Motorola Dyna-Tac, was demonstrated. This huge mobile phone weighed about 2.5 pounds (roughly 1.1kg), had no display, had only 35 minutes of talk time and could only talk, listen and dial. When it was introduced into the consumer market in 1983 by Motorola, one phone cost around $3,500. However, one does not take long to realise that, if a mobile phone was going to be like a brick and even heavier than our house’s phone unit, there would be much of a point in having a mobile phone.
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The world today is a very different place. Smartphones are all too common in our world today and our phones are getting more sophisticated, taking photos rivaling those taken by cameras, giving us ready access to the Internet, as well as providing us with many functions that have made our lives more convenient. This is all due to continual innovation by scientists and engineers over the years.

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When Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone in 2007, the idea of mobile phones took a great leap forward. Steve envisioned that the mobile phone would eventually become a device that would meld a music player, internet browsing and a phone. That was what culminated into the iPhone we see today. It managed to turn an electronic gadget into a lifestyle product. The user-friendly iOS is simple to operate and the simplicity of having one button makes the iPhone more attractive. It is really amazing to find out how the phone has changed over the years. From its development as a need for easy communication, the phone has become an inseparable part of our daily lives.

4. Cars

Henry Ford, founder of Ford, once said:

“If I had asked my customers, what they want. They would have said that they wanted a faster horse.”

How true this statement is. Most consumers do not really know what they want. Take the PDA or Palm Top as an example. It used to be seen as a great and fashionable device. However, it was eventually rendered obsolete because its functions were soon available in mobile phones. One would realise that it is extremely difficult to maintain the longevity of innovation in a product.

Let’s get back to Ford.

Ford was a revolutionary in terms of how he pioneered the assembly line for manufacturing a car. He made it easy and cheap to get a car assembled quickly. What’s more, Ford’s innovation did not end there.

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A Ford Model A
His car designs revealed his mind and insight towards car manufacturing. Most of Ford’s models were easy to repair. Jay Elliot, an ex-marketing executive of Apple Inc. was a great fan of Ford’s cars because Ford produced clear and simple instruction manuals that would teach one how to replace any part of the car. All this would not have been possible if effort has not been put in to design a car of such simplicity.