We see technology developing around us every day, with new developments in the fields of information, space travel, medicine, and robotics. But just how far have we come? As we begin the second month of 2018, it seems only appropriate to take a look back.
1998 saw the development of many revolutionary technologies leading up to those we have today-- Google had just begun revolutionizing the global distribution of information, space travel had begun to take on a new face with the beginning stages of the International Space station, and the first bionic arm had just been developed. Today we see a massive expansion of Google to cover aspects of technology far beyond what was imagined at the company’s conception, the International Space Station has fifteen pressurized modules and is livable, with only a few more pieces to be assembled in the coming months, and just about a month ago, the first bionic hand capable of restoring a sense of touch was unveiled to the public.
While Google was not the first search engine service, it was revolutionary in that its results were far better than those of its competitors, and it was far more technologically advanced than other portal sites, such as Yahoo and AOL. Search results were determined simply by keywords in searches, and only text results were available. Since the development of the company, it has branched out into creating social media platforms such as Google+, devices such as chromebooks and the recently-developed Google Home and Pixel, and its own web browser and operating system, Google Chrome and Chrome OS, respectively. In 2016, Google launched the Google Station initiative to provide public wifi worldwide. The initiative, which began by installing wifi in 400 train stations in India, has now expanded to provide wifi to public locations in Indonesia. Google has, in the last twenty years, transformed from a two-person idea to a vastly large corporation with global influence in technology development as well as distribution of information.
The International Space Station, the first component of which was launched into orbit in 1998, has served as an invaluable research station in seeking to discover more about the universe. The station has been occupied since 2000, and has allowed people to learn much more about cosmic rays, dark matter, and the human body. The ISS also allows for a close station for space shuttles being tested to fly to. Most recently, the ISS has served as a docking station for the testing of reused spacecrafts, which has proved successful in the few trials that have so far been conducted, and has served as a primary research station for issues regarding travel to Mars. In the twenty years since its development, the ISS has gained more modules and technology, and assisted in the advancement of science in a revolutionary way.
The development of the first bionic arm, the Edinburgh Modular Arm System, marked a new level of development in the field of bionics through the development of a bionic arm including the world’s first electrically powered shoulder joint. This allowed a previously impossible level of mobility with prosthetics, allowing people the ability to regain independence and the ability to do everyday things. However, even more revolutionary, the newly developed bionic hand able to restore a sense of touch, which is still in the prototype stage, marks a development in prosthetics with the ability for people to regain the feeling of objects in everyday life. Though this revolutionary technology is not yet available for public consumption, it demonstrates a massive growth in the field of bionics from twenty years ago. The last two decades in the field of bionics has led to massive growth in technologies available to increase people’s quality of life.
Technology has developed rapidly in the past twenty years, moving from newly developed ideas to fully executed and built upon concepts. Technology has advanced incredibly in the last twenty years, transforming the lives of people all around the world. While the examples of Google, the ISS, and bionics, are of course only a few of the millions of technological developments made in the past twenty years, they demonstrate the value of innovation, and the power of people in advancing technology and improving human life.
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