History of Technology[edit | edit source]

The history of technology proceeds parallel to the history of humanity. It is focused on the invention of tools and techniques. The timeline reaches from the Stone Age to the medieval and modern history until present.

Prehistory[edit | edit source]

Stone Age

Homo sapiens evolved some 200,000 years ago. Homo erectus, which has become extinct learned to make use of fire for heating and cooking. They even knew how to build rafts for travelling across the ocean. Furthermore, a huge number of stone tools were developed in this period of time. These stone tools were mainly made of flint, which was formed into a tool with the help of a hammerstone. Such a struck flintstone has a sharp edge so it can be used as a chopper or a scraper.

Copper and Bronze Ages

The Stone Age developed into the Bronze Age. This was distinguished by the development of agriculture, animal domestication and permanent settlements, whereas humans in the Stone Age mostly lived as migrants. Because of this the development of metal smelting was made possible. Copper and later bronze were commonly used. An alloy of tin and copper was also produced. Polished stone tools were still used during this period.

Iron Age

The Iron Age combined older knowledge with iron smelting technology. Iron replaced bronze, so that the produced tools became stronger, lighter and cheaper than those made of bronze.

Ancient[edit | edit source]

In this time the growth of ancient civilizations took place. This civilizations like the Sumerians, the Babylonians, the Greek or Romans produced greatest advances in technology and engineering. New ways of living and governance were evolved.

The Egyptians for example developed a hugh number of elementary machines, such as the ramp to aid construction processes.

The peoples of Mesopotamia (Sumerians, Assyrians, and Babylonians) were famous for their inventions. It is no longer certain, whether they invented the wheel or not. What is evidenced is that they lived in cities in contrast to former societies. Their architecture based on mud-brick and stone.

The Greek and Hellenistic civilization generated an immense number of inventions and improvements to existing technology.

Medieval to early modern[edit | edit source]

At this time European technology was revealed as a combination of tradition and innovation. Former knowledge was enhanced with new perceptions.

Industrial Revolution[edit | edit source]

The British Industrial Revolution was mainly characterized through textile manufacturing, mining, metallurgy and the transport driven by steam engines. Whereat the production of energy was based on coal, which is a cheap form of energy. Converting coal into coke made it possible to produce and use blast furnace and cast iron in hugh numbers. Based on this innovation several new constructions like The Iron Bridge [1] could be buildt. That is the reason why the industry depended no longer alone on water resources which drove mills. By the way water resources were still a very effective kind of energyproduction.

With the help of steam engines mines could be drained. That is why more coal reserves could be reached so that the effect of coal increased. The invention of the high-pressure steam engine enabled the development of locomotives. So that a revolution of transport involved.

20th century[edit | edit source]

The development of technology has rapidly taken place since the first landing on the moon [2] in 1969.

Modern science and technology have contributed to reach rapidly improvements in the fields

  • Communication technology
  • transportation technology
  • broad teaching and
  • implementation of scientific methods.

Military research and development enabled great proceedings in the field of technology, especially in electronic computing.

The invention of the telephone, the fax machine and the magnetic storage of data based upon the key technologies radio, radar and early sound recording. Enormous improvement based on energy and engine technology took place. Nuclear power was among this. It was developed after the Manhattan project [3].

The modern science with its advanced research labs made the recombination of DNA possible.

21th century[edit | edit source]

In the early 21st century main proceedings have relied on electronics. Broadband Internet has been spread in developed countries. Smartphones build up an wireless connection with the Internet. Smartphones have become capable of multimedia playback (video, audio, and eBooks). Furthermore applications, like navigation, productivity tools and games work on Smartphones. The 3D printer has been established in many areas.

Among others further proceedings take place in the areas

  • quantum computers,
  • nanotechnology,
  • bioengineering/biotechnology,
  • nuclear fusion
  • artificial intelligence (for example the simulation of the human brain), etc.

Other improvements can be registered in field of particle physics, especially through particle accelerator projects [4].

Further developments are expected in spacecraft designs such as the project Orion [5]. Space Telescopes are used to explore new horizons. The dwarf planet Pluto and its moon will be studied in 2015.

Technologies in our daily life[edit | edit source]

Today, in the 21st century it is hard to find a place, where no modern technologies are used. May every one use a modern technology every day, for example about one billion peoples use mobile telephones every day, and while are they using these devices they are using many technologies. Today living in such a technologised world make it easier to communicate with other people. It simplify the work (like machines) and solve problems. There are also some critical situations and areas where we need the technologies and there we can't waive them. These are medical areas, the technologies in this division rescues lives every day.

Recent examples for technologies in daily life:

  1. Smartphones
  2. GPS
  3. Internet

The above mentioned technologies are typical examples for these ones which are used everyday by almost everyone. These technologies makes our life more easier and solves problems everyday, e.g. you use smartphone with internet access to navigate to the next doctor.

How has technology changed our lives?[edit | edit source]

Modern technologies make our life easier for the most parts. There are many technologies we used everyday which save a lot of time and help us to survive. The space of change is increasing rapidly. For example, twenty years ago, people didn't have modern technologies like the Internet, smartphones and laptops etc. Today we are dependent on them to a large extent.

These modern technologies help us to be more efficient on our daily lives, that means for example you can work on the laptop while sitting in train or learn english with Duolingo on a smartphone while riding the bus to university. We are also outsourcing our memories onto external platforms. For example there is a solution for almost everything on the internet and you can use it to quickly solve your problems. A simple example of how we have outsourced other mentala abilities can be seen when we reach for a calculator instead of doing the math in our heads.

But the Internet does not just provide quality information, and there is a lot of rubbish on the web. One picture says more than thousand words!

Bildschirmfoto 2014-10-22 um 15.21.01.png

A big factor of change which is affected with the introduction of smartphones is that personal contact between people has decreased because many people do not meet friends anymore and just communicate over the Internet and smartphone. This virtual existence is not necessarily a good thing as many people feel they have to be connected everywhere all the time.

Medicine[edit | edit source]

Especially in the field of health, technology has a huge impact on our life. The most recognizable change we can observe are better living conditions and a longer life span. This is due to more efficient ways of spotting and treating diseases as well as a greater knowledge about what is good and what is harmful to our health. On the other side we can observe a higher dependency on technology as more and more people use the possibilities of technology to make your life easier. This can lead to a less resistant immune system. Also bigger populations lead to higher risk of new diseases and less resources to cure them.

Jobs[edit | edit source]

Increased use of technology leads to increasing globalization which causes different pro and cons. On the one hand it offers a opportunity to find more specialized jobs faster by the use of the internet. Especially in the information technology new jobs are created everyday. On the other hand more and more task can be handled by robots and/or programs. Also a higher population through better medicine as stated above leads to a higher demand for jobs. So at the same rate technology creates new jobs, it makes older jobs redundant.

The banning of light bulbs[edit | edit source]

In 2008 the EU-committee announced the step by step banning of light bulbs. Since September 2012 all light bulbs with an energy efficiency class C and below are banned from trading in the EU.

Light bulb alternatives[edit | edit source]

energy saving lamps[edit | edit source]

Energy saving lamps are more expensive than light bulbs, but need about 75% less energy. The have a ten times longer life span. After about 1000 hours of usage it makes up for its higher price.These lamps are not allowed to be disposed of in regular household waste.

LED[edit | edit source]

LEDs are more expensive than light bulbs, but on the other side much more energy efficient. Like energy saving lamps need about 75% less energy to emitt the same brightness. LED lamps reach their full brightness in an instant as opposed to energy saving lamps which need a while to warm up. Because of their hight efficiency they do not get hot. They have a estimated life span of about 20.000 hours. LED lamps do not belonge in the regular household waste.

halogen lamps[edit | edit source]

Halogen lamps have double the life span of a light bulb and are much cheaper than LED lamps and energy saving lamps. Their energy efficiency is just a little bit better.

In the future[edit | edit source]

For the future the Trend goes to smaller devices and minimalism. But therefore many technologies have to be more efficient, for example the biggest part in a smartphone is the battery, so the smartphones can only be smaller if the battery is smaller.

Technologies we will may user in the future every day:

  1. Biometrics (Face detection against the normal key, to open doors and checking in)
  2. Robots for home (vacuum robots for cleaning rooms, robots that will do all the housework and food)
  3. Virtual Reality

Certainly some technologies will not appear any more in the future because they are just old or there is a newer technology which is better. Today, there are some technologies, which will be detached by a newer technology. As mentioned above the trend goes to minimalism and smallnes, therefore it is possible that some technologies will combined in one device. This effect can be seen by the smartphones, ahead the introduction of the smartphone the people uses an digital camera, a mp3 player, a navigation device and a mobile phone, now there is the smartphone that combines all the mentioned technologies

Technologies wich will be detached in the future:

  1. Desktop PCs
  2. Classic HDD spinning disks
  3. CD DVD and Blueray

These are three typical examples for technologies which will detached in the next 20 years. In the future many people won't use desktop pc because there are tablets and notebooks, which are lighter and uncommitted to the place of execution. CDs DVDs and Bluerays are very interesting in this point of view because the technology self of bleary for example is not bad, you can store few hundred gigabytes on one disk. But on the other site there is a video on demand market, where you can stream movies and series, without going out of your house, or buy an external player for this medium. Video on demand can be used with any smart tv, laptop, tablet, smartphone.

Battery Technology[edit | edit source]

One of the biggest problems is, that the battery technology is not contemporary. Smartphones or other portable devices have only the power for one day. In the last years a lot of companies and universities have develop technologies for better batteries, but this developments are only


The developer wanted to increase the capacity of the batteries, but this was and is today very difficult. So they search a other way and find him. Scientist from University in Singapur have develop a battery wich can charge 70% of the battery in two minutes. A other reason for this battery is that it have more charge cycles.

For example a lithium ion battery bring it to 700 until 1000 charge cycles and the creation from Singapore comes to 10.000 charge cycles, this means that the battery will alive 20 years and a normal ion battery comes only down to two years.

This battery plus version will be available perhaps in the next two until for years.

Nanotechnology[edit | edit source]

Nanotechnology (Greek:νᾶνος/nános for 'dwarf') is the science of manipulating molecules and atoms. It is used in the fields of surface science, organic chemistry and molecular biology. Objects and materials which were manufactured or manipulated on molecular basis react differently to heat, power, light or magnetic fields than normal objects. There are already many different objects like self cleaning surfaces, antibacterial and non-smelling textiles, color switching windows, water filter, scratchproof autopaint or graffiti resistent wallpaint.

Communication[edit | edit source]

Digital communication[edit | edit source]

As a result of the history of technology the world "connected" with the establishment of the Internet in the last 40 years. Thanks to technology communication became easier and we're able to communicate with people from all over the world now.

Communication Protocols[edit | edit source]

Communication between different devices of the same or different type is controlled by so called "protocols". These protocols contain rules for syntax, semantics and the synchronization of communication. Protocols can be implemented with hardware, software or a combination of both. Communication protocols are an essential part of the internet and have a huge influence on their success and performance. Most important are the Internet Protocol (IP) and the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). The expression "TCP/IP" is used for a collection of the most used protocols of the internet. Most of the communication protocols are defined in the RFC's of the "Internet Engineering Task Force" (IETF).

In general only the basic protocols are used alone. Most of the protocols, especially network protocols are protocol stacks which include different layers. The tasks to realize the output is shared between the different protocols within the stack.

Internet Protocol[edit | edit source]

The Internet protocol (IP) is the most common one these days. It's used for communication between networks and in the internet aswell. So far there are two major IP implementations. The first one was version 4 and is often referred to as IPv4. An IPv4 address consists of 32 bits in binary notation. When reading such an address it's usually devided into four seperate 8 bit parts. To make it easier for the end-user to use these addresses they are usually displayed in a decimal notion with dots between the four 8 bit parts.

An example: Decimal: Binary: 11000000 10101000 1100100 00000001

In theory it would be possible to have about 2^32 (4.294.967.296) addresses using all 32 bits of an IP address. However there are some restrictions in practice due to different address spaces for different purposes. These days we're in the situation that there's not much address space left in the IPv4 address pool whilst the number of network-braced devices rapidly increases. Whereas some people didn't believe that the IPv4 address pool will not be enough at some point others investigated counter measures. Starting in the nineties another IP procotol implementation was developed which is now often referred to as IP version 6 or IPv6. Its purpose was to offer more address space, but also solve other problems in the IPv4 implementation.

An IPv6 address consists of 128 bits. Without its restrictions for different address spaces it would allow for a total of 2^128 (340.282.366.920.938.463.463.374.607.431.768.211.456 ≈ 3,4 · 10^38) addresses. Using decimal notation the addresses would be quite long, so that it was decided to use the hexadecimal notion in favor. An IPv6 address in hexadecimal notation consists of eight seperate 16 bits parts which are divided by colons.

An example: 2001:0db8:85a3:08d3:1319:8a2e:0370:7347

For various reasons the development of IPv6 was rather slow. It took about twenty years until the majority of companies started to experiment with and use it. The optimum isn't reached yet since the IPv4 and IPv6 implementations coexist.

However thanks to the free address pool in IPv6 it's possible to connect a lot of devices with the Internet - and this is exactly the development that's happening these days. Mobile devices are getting a higher marketshare every month and other uses for the Internet Protocol are explored. In example some people already connect their homes with the internet..

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Created April 29, 2022 by Irene Delgado
Modified May 15, 2022 by Felipe Schenone
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