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History of invention: A science and technology timeline

Date
Invention or discovery
Articles on Explain that stuff

Prehistory

4–5 billion years ago

Sun starts to produce energy.

Solar cells
Energy

~3.5 million years ago

Humans make the first tools from stone, wood,
antlers, and bones.
Tools and machines

10,000 BCE

Earliest boats are constructed.
Ships and boats

8000– 9000 BCE

Beginnings of human settlements and agriculture.
Biofuels
Water

6000– 7000 BCE

Hand-made bricks first used for construction in the Middle East.
Brick (ceramics)

Ancient times

4000 BCE

Iron used for the first time in decorative ornaments.
Iron and steel

3500– 5000 BCE

Glass is made by people for the first time.
Glass

3500 BCE

Humans invent the wheel.
Tools and machines
Wheels and axles

3000 BCE

First written languages are developed by the Sumerian people of southern Mesopotamia (part of modern Iraq).

Digital pens
Typewriters

~2500 BCE
Ancient Egyptians produce papyrus, a crude early version of paper.
Paper

3000– 600BCE
Bronze Age: Widespread use of copper and its important alloy bronze.
Copper
Alloys
Metals

2000 BCE
Water-raising and irrigation devices like the shaduf (shadoof), invented
by the Ancient Egyptians, introduce the idea of lifting things using counterweights.
Elevators
Tools and machines
Water

c1700 BCE

Semites of the Mediterranean develop the
alphabet.
Digital pens

1000 BCE

Iron Age begins: iron is widely used for making tools and weapons in many parts of the world.
Iron and steel

600 BCE

Thales of Miletus discovers static electricity.

Electricity

Static electricity

500BCE– 900CE
Nazca people of Peru are believed to have experimented with balloon flight.

Hot-air balloons

400BCE– 300BCE

Chinese experiment with flying kites.

Airplanes

~250 BCE

Ancient Egyptians invent lighthouses, including the huge Lighthouse of Alexandria.

Fresnel lenses

~300– 200 BCE

Chinese invent early magnetic direction finders.

Compasses

~250 BCE

Archimedes invents the screw pump for moving water and other materials.

Tools and machines

c.150– 100 BCE

Gear-driven, precision clockwork machines (such as the Antikythera mechanism) are in existence.
Clockwork

c.50 BCE

Roman engineer Vitruvius perfects the modern, vertical water wheel.
Turbines

62 CE

Hero of Alexandria, a Greek scientist, pioneers steam power.

Steam engines
Steam turbines

105 CE

Ts’ai Lun makes the first paper in China.

Paper

27 BCE–395 CE

Romans develop the first, basic concrete called
pozzolana.
Steel and concrete

Middle Ages

~600 CE

Windmills are invented in the Middle East.
Wind turbines

700–900 CE

Chinese invent gunpowder and fireworks.
Bullets
Fireworks
Space rockets

800–1300 CE

Thanks to inventors such as the Banū Mūsā brothers
and al-Jazari, the Islamic “Golden Age” sees the development of a wide range
of technologies, including ingenious clocks and feedback mechanisms
that are the ancestors of modern automated factory machines.
Clockwork
Cams and cranks
Robots

1000 CE ??

Chinese develop eyeglasses by fixing lenses to
frames that fit onto people’s faces.
Lenses

1206

Arabic engineer al-Jazari invents a flushing hand-washing machine, one
of the ancestors of the modern toilet.
Toilets

1232 CE

Chinese repel Mongol invaders using early rockets.
Space rockets

1450

Johannes Gutenberg pioneers the modern printing
press, using rearrangeable metal letters called movable type.
Printing

1470s

The first parachute is sketched on paper by an unknown inventor.
Parachutes

16th century

1530s
Gerardus Mercator helps to revolutionize navigation with better mapmaking.
Satellite navigation

1590

A Dutch spectacle maker named Zacharias Janssen makes the first compound microscope.
Microscopes
Electron microscopes

1596

Sir John Harington describes one of the first modern flush toilets.
Toilets

17th century

~1600

Galileo Galilei designs a basic thermometer.
Thermometer

1600

William Gilbert publishes his great book

De Magnete

describing how Earth behaves like a giant magnet. It’s the beginning of the scientific study of magnetism.
Magnetism

1609

Galileo Galilei builds a practical telescope and
makes new astronomical discoveries.
Space telescopes

mid-17th century

Antoni van Leeuwenhoek and Robert Hooke
independently develop microscopes.
Microscopes
Electron
microscopes

1643
Galileo’s pupil Evangelista Torricelli builds the first mercury barometer for measuring air pressure.
Barometers

1650s
Christiaan Huygens develops the pendulum clock (using Galileo’s earlier discovery that a swinging pendulum can be used to keep time).
Pendulum clocks

1687

Isaac Newton formulates his three laws of motion.
Motion

1700s

Bartolomeo Cristofori invents the piano.
Pianos

18th century

1701

English farmer Jethro Tull begins the mechanization of agriculture by inventing the horse-drawn seed drill.
Tractors

1703

Gottfried Leibniz pioneers the binary number
system now used in virtually all computers.
How computers
work

History of computers

1712

Thomas Newcomen builds the first practical (but stationary)
steam engine.

Steam engines

1700s
Christiaan Huygens conceives the internal combustion engine, but never actually builds one.
Car engines

1737
William Champion develops a commercially viable process for extracting zinc on a large scale.

Metals

1757
John Campbell invents the sextant, an improved navigational device that enables sailors to measure latitude.
Satellite navigation

1730s– 1770s
John Harrison develops reliable chronometers (seafaring clocks) that allow sailors to measure longitude accurately for the first time.
Quartz clocks and watches
Satellite navigation

1756
Axel Cronstedt notices steam when he boils a rock—and discovers zeolites.
Zeolites

1769
Wolfgang von Kempelen develops a mechanical speaking machine: the world’s first speech synthesizer.
Speech synthesizers

1770s

Abraham Darby III builds a pioneering iron bridge at a place now called Ironbridge in England.
Bridges

~1780

Josiah Wedgwood (or Thomas Massey) invents the pyrometer.

Pyrometers

1783
French Brothers Joseph-Michel Montgolfier and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier make the first practical
hot-air balloon.

Hot-air balloons

1791
Reverend William Gregor, a British clergyman and amateur geologist, discovers a mysterious mineral that he calls menachite. Four years later, Martin Klaproth gives it its modern name, titanium.
Titanium

19th century

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1800

Italian Alessandro Volta makes the first battery
(known as a Voltaic pile).
Electricity
Batteries

1801

Joseph-Marie Jacquard invents the automated
cloth-weaving loom. The punched cards it uses to store patterns help to
inspire programmable computers.
History of computers

1803

Henry and Sealy Fourdrinier develop the papermaking machine.
Paper

1806

Humphry Davy develops electrolysis into an important chemical technique and uses it to identify a number of new elements.
Electrolyzers

1806

Sir William Congreve develops long-range military rockets, based on an earlier Indian technology known as the Mysore rocket.

Space rockets

1807

Humphry Davy develops the electric arc lamp.
Xenon lamps

1814

George Stephenson builds the first practical
steam locomotive.
Steam engines

1816

Robert Stirling invents the efficient Stirling engine.
Stirling engines

1820s– 1830s

Michael Faraday builds primitive electric generators and motors.
Electricity generators
Electric motors
Hub motors

1824

Nicolas Sadi Carnot sets out his hugely influential theory of engine efficiency.
Heat engines

1827

Joseph Nicéphore Niépce
makes the first modern photograph.
Photography
Digital cameras

1830s

William Sturgeon develops the first practical
electric motor.
Electric motors
Hub motors

1830s

Louis Daguerre invents a practical method of
taking pin-sharp photographs called Daguerreotypes.
Digital cameras
Photography

1830s

William Henry Fox Talbot develops a way of
making and printing photographs using reverse images called negatives.
Digital cameras
Photography

1830s– 1840s

Charles Wheatstone and William Cooke, in
England, and Samuel Morse, in the United States, develop the electric
telegraph (a forerunner of the telephone).
Telephones

1836

Englishman Francis Petit-Smith and Swedish-American John Ericsson independently develop propellers with blades for ships.

Propellers

1839

Charles Goodyear finally perfects a durable form
of rubber (vulcanized rubber) after many years of unsuccessful
experimenting.
Rubber

1840s

Scottish physicist James Prescott Joule outlines
the theory of the conservation of energy.
Energy
Great physics experiments

1840s

Scotsman Alexander Bain invents a primitive fax
machine based on chemical technology.
Fax machines

1849

James Francis invents a water turbine now used
in many of the world’s hydropower plants.
Turbines
Water

1850s

Henry Bessemer pioneers a new method of making steel in large quantities.
Iron and steel

1850s

Louis Pasteur develops pasteurization: a way of preserving food by heating it to kill off bacteria.
Pasteurization

1850s

Italian Giovanni Caselli develops a mechanical
fax machine called the pantelegraph.
Fax machines

1860s

Frenchman Étienne Lenoir and German Nikolaus
Otto pioneer the internal combustion engine.
Car engines
Cars, history of

1860s

James Clerk Maxwell figures out that radio waves
must exist and sets out basic laws of electromagnetism.
Radio

1860s

Fire extinguishers are invented.
Fire extinguisher

1861

Elisha Graves Otis invents the elevator with built-in safety brake.
Elevators

1867

Joseph Monier invents reinforced concrete.
Reinforced concrete

1868

Christopher Latham Sholes invents the modern
typewriter and QWERTY keyboard.
Typewriters

1871

Frank Wenham, a British aeronautical engineer, invents the wind tunnel.
Wind tunnels
Aerodynamics

1876

Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone,
though the true ownership of the invention remains controversial even
today.
Telephones

1870s

Thomas Edison develops the phonograph, the first
practical method of recording and playing back sound on metal foil.
CD players
MP3 players

1870s

Lester Pelton invents a useful new kind of water
turbine known as a Pelton wheel.
Turbines

1877

Thomas Edison invents his sound-recording machine or phonograph—a forerunner of the record player and CD player.
Record players
Sound

1877

Edward Very invents the flare gun (Very pistol) for sending distress flares at sea.
Flares

1880

Thomas Edison patents the modern incandescent
electric lamp.
Incandescent
lamps

1880

Pierre and Paul-Jacques Curie discover the piezoelectric effect.
Piezoelectricity

1880s

Thomas Edison opens the world’s first power
plants.
Power plants

1880s

Charles Chamberland invents the autoclave (steam sterilizing machine).
Autoclaves

1880s

Charles and Julia Hall and Paul Heroult
independently develop an affordable way of making aluminum.
Aluminum

1880s

Carrie Everson invents new ways of mining
silver, gold, and copper.
Copper

1881
Jacques d’Arsonval suggests heat energy could be extracted from the oceans.
OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion)

1883

George Eastman invents plastic photographic
film.
Digital cameras
Plastics

1884

Charles Parsons develops the steam turbine.
Steam turbines
Turbines

1885

Karl Benz builds a gasoline-engined car.
Car engines

1886

Josephine Cochran invents the dishwasher.
Dishwashers

1888

Friedrich Reinitzer discovers liquid crystals.
LCD screens and displays

1888

John Boyd Dunlop patents air-filled (pneumatic) tires.
Pneumatics

1888

Nikola Tesla patents the alternating current
(AC) electric induction motor and, in opposition to Thomas Edison, becomes a
staunch advocate of AC power.
Electricity
Electric motors
Induction motors
Power plants

1899

Everett F. Morse invents the optical pyrometer for measuring temperatures at a safe distance.
Pyrometers

1890s

French brothers Joseph and Louis Lumiere invent
movie projectors and open the first movie theater.
Projection TV

1890s

German engineer Rudolf Diesel develops his diesel engine—a more efficient internal combustion engine
without a sparking plug.
Diesel engines

1890s

Russian Konstantin Tsiolkovsky figures out the theory of space rockets.
Space rockets

1894

Physicist Sir Oliver Lodge sends the first ever message by radio wave in Oxford, England.
Radio

1895

German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen discovers X rays.
X rays

1895

American Ogden Bolton, Jr. invents the electric bicycle.
Electric bikes

1884

Charles G. Curtis develops the compound, impulse steam turbine.
Steam turbines

1898

Nikola Tesla invents remote, radio control.
Remote control

20th century

1901

Guglielmo Marconi sends radio-wave signals
across the Atlantic Ocean from England to Canada
Radio

1901

The first electric vacuum cleaner is developed.
Vacuum cleaners

1903

Brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright build the
first engine-powered airplane.
Airplanes
Jet engines

1905

Albert Einstein explains the photoelectric effect.

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Photoelectric cells

1905

Samuel J. Bens invents the chainsaw.

Chainsaws

1906

Willis Carrier pioneers the air conditioner.
Air conditioners

1906

Mikhail Tswett discovers chromatography.
Chromatography

1907

Leo Baekeland develops Bakelite, the first
popular synthetic plastic.
Plastics

1907

Alva Fisher invents the electric clothes washer.
Clothes washer

1906-8

Frederick Gardner Cottrell develops the electrostatic smoke precipitator (smokestack pollution scrubber).
Air pollution
Electrostatic smoke precipitators

1908

American industrialist and engineer Henry Ford launches the Ford Model T, the world’s first truly affordable car.
Car engines
Cars, history of

1909

German chemists Fritz Haber and Zygmunt Klemensiewicz develop the glass electrode, enabling very precise measurements of acidity.
pH meters

1910

Romanian-born Henri-Marie Coandă builds a simple jet plane, but it never actually flies.
Jet engines

1912

American chemist Gilbert Lewis describes the basic chemistry that leads to practical, lithium-ion rechargeable batteries (though they don’t appear in a practical, commercial form until the 1990s).
Lithium-ion batteries

1912
Hans Geiger develops the Geiger counter, a detector for radioactivity.
Geiger counters

1916
Robert Hutchings Goddard, an American physicist, publishes influential ideas on building space rockets.
Space rockets

1919
Francis Aston pioneers the mass spectrometer and uses it to discover many isotopes.
Mass spectrometers

1920s

John Logie Baird develops mechanical television.
Television
LCD TV

1920s

Philo T. Farnsworth invents modern electronic
television.
Television
LCD TV

1920s

Robert H. Goddard develops the principle of the
modern, liquid-fueled space rocket.
Bullets
Space rockets

1920s

German engineer Gustav Tauschek and American Paul Handel independently develop primitive optical character recognition (OCR)
scanning systems.

OCR

1920s

Albert W. Hull invents the magnetron, a device that can generate microwaves from electricity.
Magnetrons
Microwave ovens

1921

Karel Capek and his brother coin the word “robot” in a play
about artificial humans.
Robots

1921

John Larson develops the polygraph (“lie detector”) machine.
Forensic science

1928

Thomas Midgley, Jr. invents coolant chemicals
for air conditioners and refrigerators.
Air conditioners
Refrigerators

1928

The electric refrigerator is invented.
Refrigerators

1920s– 1930s
Frank Whittle of England and Hans Pabst von Ohain of Germany develop rival jet engines.
Jet engine

1930s

Peter Goldmark pioneers color television.
Television
LCD TV

1930s

Laszlo and Georg Biro pioneer the modern
ballpoint pen.
Digital pens

1930s

Maria Telkes creates the first solar-powered
house.
Passive solar
Solar cells

1930s

Wallace Carothers develops neoprene (synthetic
rubber used in wetsuits) and nylon, the first popular synthetic clothing
material.
Kevlar
Nomex
Nylon
Wetsuits

1930s

Robert Watson Watt oversees the development of
radar.
Radar

1930s

Arnold Beckman develops the electronic pH meter.
pH meters

1931

Harold E. Edgerton invents the xenon flash lamp for high-speed photography.
Xenon lamps

1932

Arne Olander discovers the shape memory effect in a gold-cadmium alloy.
Shape memory alloys

1936

W.B. Elwood invents the magnetic reed switch.
Reed switches

1938

Chester Carlson invents the principle of
photocopying (xerography).
Photocopiers

1938

Roy Plunkett accidentally invents a nonstick
plastic coating called Teflon®.
GORE-TEX®
Nonstick pans

1939

Igor Sikorsky builds the first truly practical
helicopter.
Helicopters

1940s

English physicists John Randall and Harry Boot develop a compact magnetron for use in airplane radar navigation systems.
Magnetrons
Radar

1942

Enrico Fermi builds the first nuclear chain
reactor at the University of Chicago.
Nuclear power

1945
US government scientist Vannevar Bush proposes a kind of desk-sized memory store called Memex, which has some
of the features later incorporated into electronic books and the World Wide Web (WWW).

Electronic books
World Wide Web

1945
Arthur C. Clarke conceives the idea of the communications satellite, a space-based signal
“mirror” that can bounce radio waves from one side of Earth to the other.
Satellites

1947

John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William
Shockley invent the transistor, which allows electronic equipment to
made much smaller and leads to the modern computer revolution.
Amplifiers
Electronics
History of computers
Transistors

1949
Bernard Silver and N. Joseph Woodland patent barcodes—striped patterns that are initially developed
for marking products in grocery stores.

Barcodes and barcode scanners

1950s

Charles Townes and Arthur Schawlow invent the
maser (microwave laser). Gordon Gould coins the word “laser” and builds
the first optical laser in 1958.
Lasers

1950s

Stanford Ovshinksy develops various technologies that make renewable
energy more practical, including practical solar cells and improved
rechargeable batteries.
Batteries
Electric bicycles
Electric cars
Solar cells

1950s

European bus companies experiment with using flywheels as regenerative brakes
Flywheels

1950s

Percy Spencer accidentally discovers how to cook
with microwaves, inadvertently inventing the microwave oven.
Microwave ovens

1952

American John W. Hetrick
and German Walter Linderer independently invent the automobile airbag.
Airbags

1954

Indian physicist Narinder Kapany pioneers fiber optics.
Fiber optics
Endoscopes

1955

US electrical engineer Eugene Polley invents the TV remote control.
Remote control

1956

First commercial nuclear power is produced at Calder Hall, Cumbria, England.
Nuclear power plants

1957

Soviet Union (Russia and her allies) launch the
Sputnik space satellite.
Satellites

1957

Lawrence Curtiss, Basil Hirschowitz, and Wilbur Peters build the first fiber-optic gastroscope.

Endoscopes

1958

Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce, working
independently, develop the integrated circuit.
History of computers
integrated circuits
Transistors

1959

IBM and General Motors develop Design Augmented by Computers-1 (DAC-1),
the first computer-aided design (CAD) system.

Computer graphics

1960s
Joseph-Armand Bombardier perfects his Ski-Doo® snowmobile.
Snowmobiles

1960
Theodore Maiman invents the ruby laser.
Lasers

1962
William Armistead and S. Donald Stookey of Corning Glass Works invent light-sensitive (photochromic) glass.
Photochromic lenses

1962
Nick Holonyak invents the LED (light-emitting diode) while working at General Electric.
Diodes and LEDs

1963
Ivan Sutherland develops Sketchpad, one of the first computer-aided design programs.
Computer graphics

1964

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IBM helps to pioneer e-commerce with an airline
ticket reservation system called SABRE.
E-commerce

1965

Frank Pantridge develops the portable defibrillator for treating cardiac arrest patients.
Defibrillators

1966

Stephanie Kwolek patents a super-strong plastic
called Kevlar.
Kevlar

1966

Robert H. Dennard of IBM invents dynamic random access memory (DRAM).
Computer memory

1967

Japanese company Noritake invents the vacuum fluorescent display (VFD).
Vacuum fluorescent displays

1968

Alfred Y. Cho and John R. Arthur, Jr invent a precise way of making single crystals called molecular beam epitaxy (MBE).
Molecular beam epitaxy

1969

World’s first solar power station opened in
France.
Solar cells
Energy

1969

Robert W. Gore develops an ingenious waterproof material called GORE-TEX® by stretching
slippery, nonstick PTFE (Teflon®).
GORE-TEX®

1969

Long before computers become portable, Alan Kay imagines building an electronic book, which he nicknames the Dynabook.
Electronic books

1969

Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith invent the CCD (charge-coupled device): the light-sensitive chip used in digital cameras, webcams, and other modern optical equipment.
CCDs
Digital cameras

1969

Astronauts walk on the Moon.
Space rockets

1960s

Douglas Engelbart develops the computer mouse.
Computer mouse

1960s

James Russell invents compact discs.
CD players

1971

Electronic ink is pioneered by Nick Sheridon at Xerox PARC.
Electronic ink and paper

1971

Ted Hoff builds the first single-chip computer
or microprocessor.
History of
computers

1973

Martin Cooper develops the first handheld
cellphone (mobile phone).
Cellphones

1973

Robert Metcalfe figures out a simple way of
linking computers together that he names Ethernet. Most computers
hooked up to the Internet now use it.
Computer
networks

Internet

1974
First grocery-store purchase of an item coded with a barcode.

Barcodes and barcode scanners

1975

Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman invent public-key cryptography.

Encryption

1975

Pico Electronics develops X-10 home automation system.

Smart homes

1976

Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs launch the Apple I:
one of the world’s first personal home computers
History of
computers

1970s– 1980s

James Dyson invents the bagless, cyclonic vacuum
cleaner.
Vacuum cleaners

1970s– 1980s

Scientists including Charles Bennett, Paul Benioff, Richard Feynman, and David Deutsch sketch out how quantum computers
might work.
Quantum computers

1980s

Japanese electrical pioneer Akio Morita develops
the Sony Walkman, the first truly portable player for recorded music.
CD players
MP3 players

1981

Stung by Apple’s success, IBM releases its own
affordable personal computer (PC).
History of
computers

1981

The Space Shuttle makes its maiden voyage.
Space Shuttle

1981

Patricia Bath develops laser eye surgery for
removing cataracts.
Lasers

1981

Fujio Masuoka files a patent for flash memory—a type of reusable computer
memory that can store information even when the power is off.

Flash memory

1981– 1982

Alexei Ekimov and Louis E. Brus (independently) discover quantum dots.
Quantum dots

1983

Compact discs (CDs) are launched as a new way to
store music by the Sony and Philips corporations.
CD players

1987

Larry Hornbeck, working at Texas Instruments, develops DLP® projection—now used in many projection TV systems.
DLP® projectors

1989

Tim Berners-Lee invents the World Wide Web.
Internet
World Wide Web

1990

German watchmaking company Junghans introduces the MEGA 1, believed to be the world’s first radio-controlled wristwatch.
Radio-controlled clocks
Quartz clocks and watches

1991

Linus Torvalds creates the first version of
Linux, a collaboratively written computer operating system.
Computers
Linux

1994

American-born mathematician John Daugman perfects the mathematics that make iris scanning systems possible.
Iris scans

1994

Japanese Masahiro Hara invents a two-dimensional barcode known as the QR Code®.
QR codes and 2D barcodes

1994

Israeli computer scientists Alon Cohen and Lior Haramaty invent VoIP for sending telephone calls over the Internet.
VoIP

1995

Broadcast.com becomes one of the world’s first
online radio stations.
Streaming media

1995

Pierre Omidyar launches the eBay auction website.
E-commerce

1996

WRAL-HD broadcasts the first high-definition television (HDTV) signal in the United States.
HDTV

1997

Electronics companies agree to make Wi-Fi a
worldwide standard for wireless Internet.
Wireless Internet

21st century

2001
Apple revolutionizes music listening by unveiling its iPod MP3 music player.
MP3 players

2001

Richard Palmer develops energy-absorbing D3O plastic.
Energy-absorbing materials

2001

The Wikipedia online encyclopedia is founded by Larry Sanger and Jimmy Wales.
Electronic books

2001

Bram Cohen develops BitTorrent file-sharing.
BitTorrent
Internet

2001
Scott White, Nancy Sottos, and colleagues develop self-healing materials.
Self-healing materials

2002

iRobot Corporation releases the first version of its Roomba® vacuum cleaning robot.
Roomba
Robots

2004

Electronic voting plays a major part in a
controversial US Presidential Election.
Touchscreens

2004

Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov discover graphene.

Graphene

2005

A pioneering low-cost laptop for developing
countries called OLPC is announced by MIT computing pioneer Nicholas
Negroponte.
Computers

2007

Amazon.com launches its Kindle electronic book (e-book) reader.
Electronic books

2007

Apple introduces a touchscreen cellphone called
the iPhone.
Cellphones
Touchscreens

2010

Apple releases its touchscreen tablet computer, the iPad.
Computers
Touchscreens

2010

3D TV starts to become more widely available.
3D Television
Television

2013

Elon Musk announces “hyperloop”—a giant, pneumatic tube transport system.
Pneumatics
Pneumatic transport tube

2015

Supercomputers (the world’s fastest computers) are now a mere 30 times less powerful than
human brains.
Supercomputers

2016
Three nanotechnologists win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for building miniature machines out of molecules.
Nanotechnology

2019
Google claims to have achieved “quantum supremacy”—with a quantum computer that
calculates faster than a conventional one.
Quantum computers

2020
DeepMind, Google/Alphabet’s artificial intelligence computer program, cracks the classic problem of
protein folding.
Neural networks

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