Amazing Kids! Magazine

Look How Far We’ve Come!

By Cathy Yan, Global Village Editor


In the western world, our technology is advanced beyond measure, with new discoveries being made every day. Sometimes, the advancements can be so overwhelming, we forget our humble past. Just a few years ago, we didn’t have Apple, a major distribution and innovation company for new technological designs. A few decades ago, we didn’t even have computers (at least, not as we know them today)! These facts below will give you perspective on just how far we’ve come.

1822 – Charles Babbage began developing a ‘Difference Engine’, a machine capable of computing numbers and making copies of the results. It was basically a calculator. Fifteen years later, he proposed an ‘Analytical Engine’, the first machine somewhat resembling a modern computer. Unfortunately, Charles ran out of funding before any of his projects were completed. To honour him, the London Science Museum built his Difference Engine in 1991, portrayed below. Not surprisingly, it looks nothing like the modern day calculator nor the computer.

1938 – The first ballpoint pen was invented by Laszlo Biro. Although during that time his invention was a novelty, it has now become a basic necessity for students all over the globe. Laszlo first unveiled his invention in 1931 at the Budapest International Fair, seven years before he patented it. Before his invention, people used fountain pens, which required a long time to dry and smudged very easily. His pen revolutionized the writing industry. Take a look at the poster advertising his invention:

1960 – Laser, one of the most useful tools today, was invented by Theodore Harold Maiman. This invention probably changed the course of human history because of its importance. From surgery to operating CD players, laser plays a part in all. Theodore’s passion for electronics, fostered by his father, is the reason why we have laser tag, among other things, today.

1990 – Perhaps the greatest invention of our time, the World Wide Web, or internet, was invented by Tim Berners-Lee. His invention paved the way for everything from the Google search engine to Facebook. Tim is the reason why we can search up news online and look up pictures of cats in the comfort of our own home. His invention connected the whole world, shrinking physical distance and providing a source of information for current events.

As you can see, we have grown from clumsy, gigantic calculators, to sleek Mac laptops and do-it-all phones in the time frame of less than a century. What is now essential, like the internet, did not exist thirty years ago. Putting things into perspective like this reminds us to be in awe of our achievements and not take our technology for granted. The next time you just HAVE to get that new cell phone or that new laptop, just remember that, at the rate we’re going, a year from now, a new model will have been developed and your current obsession will be sadly outdated.

So unplug and go outside, because although technology wears out fast, memories you make playing with your friends will last forever.