Remember the good old days of jukeboxes, typewriters and getting lost on long car journeys while trying to read a fold-out map?
Fifty years ago, these items were a staple in day-to-day life. However, since then, technology has progressed immensely.
Tiny portable music libraries, ultra-slim laptops, in-built satnavs and virtual gaming goggles are just some of the technologies we are now familiar with in 2020.
But how else have electronics transformed the seemingly everyday things we know and love into something extra special?
Helping us through day-to-day activities
Only 15 years ago, you would probably spend much of your journey hoping you were reading the map the right way up. Now, you can simply enter the destination into a smartphone app like Google Maps — for end-to-end guidance practically anywhere in the world. Many new cars are even fitted with an LCD touchscreen and GPS tracking as standard.
The timeless analogue wristwatch has also been transformed into hyper-intelligent ‘smartwatches’, such as the Apple Watch or Fitbit. As well as telling the time, these watches can show you how fast your heart is beating, read out your latest text message and tell you the weekly weather forecast.
Card readers have had to adapt to advancing technology, too. Fewer and fewer people carry cash nowadays as it is much easier to track spending via card or your smartphone. As a result, you can now pay for your shopping via the tap of your card (or smartwatch!) using contactless payments.
And if you use online banking, you probably receive all communications and statements electronically. This switch to paperless is a crucial step in the right direction for the environment. These sustainable electronics solutions are an integral part of making processes more renewable.
Browsing an entire library from your home
Gone are the days where you had to under-pack sandals and swimsuits to make sure there was enough space in the suitcase for your holiday reading. E-readers offer an entire library in a device no bigger than a sheet of A5 paper and are popular among commuters and avid travellers alike. Not only are electronic books cheaper than their paperback or hardback counterparts, but they save on paper waste and production too!
Compared to its ‘snail-mail’ ancestors, email has also come a long way — enabling users to write and deliver messages in seconds. These days, you can even create animated birthday cards to send via email!
And you wouldn’t even be able to send an email without an electronic keyboard. Cumbersome typewriters are now an expensive novelty which has been replaced by high-tech computers and laptops — allowing you to delete, edit and completely rewrite documents to your heart’s desire (as well as lots of other things).
Keeping you entertained through the years
There was a time not too long ago when it could take longer to dial the number and get through to whoever you were calling than you’d spend talking to them. A welcome enhancement to this dated technology is the smartphone: a device with such advanced electronics you can achieve nearly anything from a single screen. From video calling to playing bite-sized versions of your favourite game, smartphones are one of the most exceptional technologies to date.
Smartphones act as portable music players, too. Going back through the years to the iPod, MP3 player, Walkman and all the way to tape recorders, music devices have changed dramatically. Today’s electronics mean we can play practically any song wherever we are — and never get tired of listening to the same handful of tapes or CDs in our carry case.
What’s more, electronics have helped to size down games from chunky arcade machines to consoles in the living room or even pocket-sized handheld devices. The gaming industry is set to be conquered by virtual reality, too. VR goggles offer the ultimate immersive experience, and electronics have needed to adapt substantially to cater to this growing trend.
There’s no doubt the world has changed significantly thanks to electronics, and we wonder which innovative technologies will come next…