Category Archives: Innovation

Apple Introduces Lisa: “Great Artists Steal”

30 years ago today, Apple introduced Lisa, a $9,995 PC for business users. Many of its innovations such as the graphical user interface, a mouse, and document-centric computing, were taken from the Alto computer developed at Xerox PARC, introduced as … Continue reading

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Imagining Television, 1908

Today in 1908, Alan Archibald Campbell-Swinton published a letter in the journal Nature titled “Distant Electric Vision” in which he envisioned television as it was developed three decades later. He wrote: “Possibly no photoelectric phenomenon at present known will provide what … Continue reading

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Bell Labs’ Phototransistor

Today in 1950, the invention of the phototransistor was announced by Bell Telephone Laboratories.  This was a transistor operated by light rather than electric current, invented by Dr. John Northrup Shive. A few weeks ago, Bob Metcalfe reviewed a new history of Bell … Continue reading

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Magnetic Core Memory Patented

Today in 1956, Jay Forrester of MIT was awarded a patent for his magnetic core memory. It became the standard for computer memory until it was supplanted by solid state RAM in the mid-seventies. It has continued to be used, … Continue reading

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Radar Invented

Today in 1935, Scottish physicist Robert Watson-Watt demonstrated in Daventry, England, that radio waves could be reflected by an aircraft. The experiment, prompted by fears of the development of death rays by Germany, launched a research program into what later will be … Continue reading

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First Handheld Calculator

Today in 1972, the HP-35 was introduced. The world’s first handheld-sized scientific calculator, ultimately made the slide rule, which had previously been used by generations of engineers and scientists, obsolete. The HP-35 was 5.8 inches (150 mm) long and 3.2 inches … Continue reading

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MIT Study Proves the World is Not Flat

Researchers at MIT and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, modeling the diffusion of social contagion by studying the spread of Twitter from 2006 to 2009, have found that “the site’s growth in the United States relied primarily … Continue reading

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