Developing Technology For Developments Sake.

by Liam McClure

In the world of technology nothing lasts long, it is one of the fastest changing environments with constant updates and developments occurring at a head spinning speed. I thought that it would be interesting to look at technology that we still use day to day that has not changed.

Television remotes are still used today, despite originally coming out in 1955 there has been little change to the appearance and tech involved in them. Although the first remotes were essentially a torch that remote receptive televisions could pick up this had to be altered after it was discovered that sunlight could change channels, remotes were then changed to ultrasound and finally arrived at infra-red as we still have today.

Now when I mention cobol not many people will have a clue what I am talking about, but it is one of the few technologies to have remained the same for over fifty years. Cobol is a computing language that is used in business. It was made in such a way that people without programming expertise could use it. In today’s world it has many functions, from payroll calculations to booking airline tickets to cash machines in the street. It is estimated that people use a cobol product nine times every day but do not realise. Although there has been some additions to the original programme it is very much the same as it was way back in 1959. Here is a video looking at the history of cobal.

It is fairly impressive that this language has survived and is still widely used with around the world in business and government considering all the developments which have occurred over the past fifty or so years.

Looking towards the medical world there have been huge steps taken in developing new treatments and procedures. The birth control pill was first put on to the market in 1957. Enovid, a drug the FDA approves for menstrual disorders, comes with a warning: The mixture of synthetic progesterone and estrogen also prevents ovulation. Two years later, more than half a million American women are taking Enovid—and not all of them have cramps. In 1960 the FDA approves Enovid for use as the first oral contraceptive.

LEDs are used in many products world wide and were developed in 1962. While working as a consultant for General Electric, Nick Holonyak developed the light-emitting diode (LED), which provides a simple and inexpensive way for computers to convey information. From their humble beginnings in portable calculators, LEDs spread from the red light that indicates coffee is brewing to the 290-ft.-tall Reuters billboard in Times Square. And with them still being used today people have come up with some ingenious uses for them.

So as technology leaps and bounds into the future with who knows what developments on the horizon it is interesting to think that some programmes and products created fifty years ago can still hold their own. You can also check out our timeline that we made looking at other developments in technology over the past fifty years here.

What Technology do you still use that may be considered out of date? Is there any technology that has vanished from the everyday world that you would like to see come back into use? Please let us know in the comments.

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