The first handheld mobile phone was demonstrated by John F. Mitchell and Martin Cooper of Motorola in 1973, using a handset weighing c. 2 kilograms (4.4 lbs). In 1983, the DynaTAC 8000x was the first commercially available handheld mobile phone.
The microwave oven was invented by accident by Percy Spencer – a man who was orphaned and never finished grammar school. While Spencer was working on building magnetrons for radar sets, he was standing in front of an active radar set when he noticed the candy bar he had in his pocket melted. He and some other colleagues then began trying to heat other food objects to see if a similar heating effect could be observed. The first one they heated intentionally was popcorn kernels, which became the world’s first microwaved popcorn. The first microwave oven was sold in 1946.
GPS (global positioning system)
Originally designed for military and intelligence applications at the height of the Cold War in the 1960s, with inspiration coming from the launch of the Soviet spacecraft Sputnik in 1957. At least three names have been clearly associated to the invention of GPS. They are Dr. Ivan Getting, Professor Bradford Parkinson, and Roger L. Easton. The GPS project was launched by the U.S. Department of Defense in 1973 for use by the United States military and became fully operational in 1995.
The history of the personal computer as a mass-market consumer electronic device began with the microcomputer revolution of the 1980s. The 1981 launch of the IBM Personal Computer coined both the term Personal Computer and PC. After the development of the microprocessor, individual personal computers were low enough in cost that they eventually became affordable consumer goods. Early personal computers – generally called microcomputers – were sold often in electronic kit form and in limited numbers, and were of interest mostly to hobbyists and technicians.
Pulse-code modulation was invented by British scientist Alec Reeves in 1937 and was used in telecommunications applications long before its first use in commercial broadcast and recording. Commercial digital recording was pioneered in Japan by NHK and Nippon Columbia, also known as Denon, in the 1960s. The first commercial digital recordings were released in 1971. Sony developed the first digital audio recording devices to be used by professional studios in 1978. Popular digital multitrack recorders produced by Sony and Mitsubishi in the early 1980s helped to bring about digital recording’s acceptance by the major record companies. The 1982 introduction of the CD popularized digital audio with consumers.
The computer mouse as we know it today was invented and developed by Douglas Engelbart, with the assistance of Bill English, during the 1960’s and was patented on November 17, 1970. Using the mouse, Douglas was able to demonstrate moving a mouse cursor on the Alto computer in The Mother of All Demos. However, because of its lack of success, the first widely used mouse is the mouse found on the Apple Lisa computer.
The initial idea of the Internet is credited to Leonard Kleinrock after he published his first paper entitled “Information Flow in Large Communication Nets” on May 31, 1961. The Internet as we know it today first started being developed in the late 1960’s in California in the United States, with the creation of ARPANET, or the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network.
Remote controls are an invention born in the 1800s. Early television remote controls (1956-1977) used ultrasonic tones. Present-day remote controls are commonly consumer infrared devices which send digitally-coded pulses of infrared radiation to control functions such as power, volume, tuning, temperature set point, fan speed, or other features.
The first digital camera, invented by Steve Sasson, was cobbled together from parts from other cameras. The whole device weighed over 8 pounds and was as large as a toaster. A prototype digital camera required 23 seconds to take a photograph and only produced images that were a tenth of a modern pixel. Then, the camera processed the image onto a cassette tape for an additional 23 seconds.