Technology has changed the world and how we live in it. Over the years many scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs have made a fortune by innovating and inventing technological breakthroughs. These innovations did not only make our life easier but also made their inventors very wealthy. Here are the top 10 tech breakthroughs that led to immense wealth.
10. Bloom Box:
Bloom Box or Bloom Energy Server is a solid oxide fuel cell made by Bloom Energy, which uses different inputs to generate electricity on site from various sources including biological hydrocarbons. It is a tough and rugged unit of fuel cell that can withstand harsh conditions without much maintenance. The founder and CEO K. R. Sridhar raised $400 million in start up funding to form Ion America which was later renamed to Bloom Energy.
9. Computer Mouse:
Douglas Engelbart invented the computer mouse which we all use everyday. He was an American engineer and inventor and while working for SRI International he did pioneering work in human-computer interaction. His work also led to the development of hypertext, networked computers and the graphical user interface. The mouse has ruled the information technology world and has only started losing ground after the use of touch screens in laptops and desktops.
The Light Emitting Diode was invented by Nick Holonyak, an American scientist while working for the General Electric Company. The LED has revolutionized not just television and monitor technology but the whole semiconductor world. He also has 41 other patents to his name, including semiconductor laser or laser diode that is used in CD players.
7. Microwave Oven:
Microwave ovens are one of the most influential inventions of our times. It was invented by Percy Spencer after World War II using the radar technology developed during the war. Although the initial microwaves were bulky and expensive and were horribly named “Radarange”, pretty soon the countertop versions were introduced and since then have gone on to find a place in every home and kitchen.
6. Digital Camera:
Digital cameras have become such a big part of our life that billions of photos are uploaded on the internet everyday. All this became possible because of Steven Sasson, an American electrical engineer who invented the digital camera while working for Eastman Kodak. Because of his work we now have a camera in every device.
5. Cell phone:
The shrinking of the world and the rise of globalization can be credited at least partially to the cell phone. It made instant communication with anyone in any part of the world possible. It was to the telephone what the telephone was to the telegram. It was invented by American Martin Cooper while working for Motorola. He’s called the father of the cell phone and is the first person to make a call in public using his own invention. Cooper left Motorola to form Cellular Business Systems which later he sold for $23 million and formed Dyna LLC.
4. Hard Disk Drive:
The hard disk drive was invented by IBM and it has become a standard part of every computer and electronic device. IBM has in fact invented many technologies such as the ATM, floppy disk, magnetic strip card, universal product code (UPC) and recently the Watson artificial intelligence system. IBM started as a collection of various technologies of the 1880s. These technologies included the computing scale, dial recorder and the electric tabulating machine among others. Today IBM is a multinational technology and consulting corporation that builds hardware and software and provides infrastructure, hosting and consulting services to its clients.
Among stories of tech breakthroughs leading to immense wealth, Microsoft Windows has to be among the top 3. Bill Gates and Paul Allen created Microsoft in 1975 to develop and sell BASIC interpreters for the Altair 8800 system. It then created the MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows operating systems. Windows has evolved over the years and is one of most commonly used OS in the world. Microsoft is one of the largest software manufacturers in the world and one of the biggest companies. Bill Gates went on to become the richest man in the world.
2. The Search Engine:
Google has revolutionized the online search engine and has changed the way the internet works. Before Google came along, search engines were dull and predictive as they only counted the number of times the keyword was used in a webpage to rank their results. In 1996, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two PhD students at Stanford University started researching a way to make internet search better. When they came up with their PageRank algorithm, Google was born and the rest, as they say, is history. Today Google is one of leading multinational corporations in information technology.
The Mackintosh personal computer is probably one of the biggest tech breakthroughs that has revolutionized the world of computers and generated great wealth. Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne wanted to build personal computers and that’s how Apple was born. The first computers were hand built by Wozniak. Apple 1 was sold in 1976 and in 1977 Apple was incorporated with Ronald Wayne selling his share back to Jobs and Wozniak for $800. Today Apple is a multinational corporation that designs, develops and sells consumer electronics of all kinds. The iPad, iPod, iPhone and MAC have all become the leaders in their own segments. In 2012 the worldwide annual revenue of Apple was totaled at $156 billion.