The game changing inventions of this decade

The human race has come along way in a relatively short space of time. It wasn’t all that long ago the internet was beyond comprehension, mobile phones were the size of our heads and cheques were still commonplace. Go back further, 50 years say and colour television was just about making it into the household and the handheld calculator was the new big thing.

Strip it back to the past 10 years and strides we’ve made have been pretty comprehensive, particularly when it comes to communication. Granted these modern day inventions pale in comparison to penicillin, internal combustion engines and electricity but not everything can change the world in a day, can it?

These are the inventions that changed the game, have altered the way we live, or are about to.

THE IPHONE

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It’s hard to believe the iPhone is nearly 8-years-old now. The iPod may have re-launched Apple but the iPhone redefined the mobile market. The product sparked the smartphone craze and nowadays I challenge you to find me a man who’s mobile isn’t a smartphone. Apple has now sold 700million iPhones worldwide.

SPOTIFY

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The 7-year-old streaming platform changed the way we listen to and own music. The CD collection is quickly becoming a thing of the past and Spotify facilitated its demise. Streaming revenues have surpassed that of CDs and helped cut down internet piracy in music, Spotify started this revolutionary movement.

IBM Watson

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The artificial intelligence unit was a significant step in the world of AI. In 2011 it competed on the game show Jeopardy and beat the two all-time champions to the $1m first prize. Watson was able to answer questions posed in natural language and wasn’t connected to the internet. Watson is now also being used to help treat lung cancer. The robots are coming.

YOUTUBE

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Just sneaking in, the decade old website has revolutionised the way we consume moving images. The ubiquitous video sharing website laid the foundations for services like iPlayer and Netflix and without it we’d have no way to wile away hours watching animal videos.

ELECTRIC CARS

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Specifically the Tesla Roadster, which was introduced in 2006, won widespread acclaim and featured as Time’s Best Invention award for transportation. Electric Cars are still trying to really establish themselves in the market, but Tesla Motors is now turning a profit and electricity fuelled cars are very much seen as a next step in automotives.

LARGE HADRON COLLIDER

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It took a good 14 years to complete the LHC but its importance cannot be underestimated, it’s only been in commission since 2008 but it continues to help scientists understand concepts us mortals could only hope to grasp. That includes the proving of the existences of the so-called ‘god particle’.

DRIVERLESS CARS

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Google debuted a fully functioning prototype of their autonomous car at the end of 2014 and a number of states in America have made them road legal already, whilst the UK is also hoping to help pioneer the technology. If the concept is proved safe in high traffic areas, expect the driverless car to be very much a key part of the feature. 

VIRTUAL REALITY

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Forever it seems, a long promised pipe dream, a utopian invention of the sci-fi genre, virtual reality has now been fully realised. Facebook purchased VR company Oculus Rift for $2bn in 2014 and the concept has been a leading trend in tech since. Sony, HTC and Microsoft have all developed their own versions and the usage from gaming, to super-imposing digital into the physical world, promises to change the way we see things. 

AFFORDABLE 3-D PRINTING

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3-D printing isn’t brand new, having been around in a very early form in 1980s, but the past couple of years have seen its advent to more mainstream and widespread use. The technology is continually coming down in price, from an early tag of $3,000 upwards to now dozens being available for under $500. From cars and guns to limbs and solar powered engines, the limits seem endless to what we can do with this technology.

Further Reading