27 Technological Innovation Examples (Chronological Order)

technological innovation examples and definition, explained below

Technology is anything that is newly created based upon the cutting-edge knowledge of the era.

In today’s information society, when we think of technology, we generally think of machines like computers, smartphones, and cars.

But 500 years ago, things considered technology had no electrical components – they were things like better quality bows, arrows, and shovels.

The definition of technology also encompasses the application of scientific principles to achieve specific objectives, such as increasing crop yields or improving communication networks.

Technological Innovation Examples

1. Fire

Invented: 1.5 Million BCE

According to most historians, fire was first invented by early humans between 1.8 and 1.5 million years ago.

prior to the invention of fire, human beings were restricted to eating raw foods. The discovery of fire changed all of that, allowing our ancestors to cook their food and unlocking a whole new world of flavor and nutrition.

In addition, fire provided warmth and light, making it possible for humans to live in colder climates.

As a result, the invention of fire had a profound impact on human history. It helped humans to gain greater control over their lives, shaped their development as a species, and allowed them to become more civilized.

Related: The 25 Most Famous Innovators of All Time

2. The Wheel

Invented: 4000 BCE

It is unclear exactly when the wheel was invented, but bt 4000-3500 BCE there is evidence of wheeled vehicles and wheels used for the production of pottery.

The invention of the wheel revolutionized transportation and had a profound impact on the development of civilization. Wheels were foundational for future developments, including the steam engine, which operates on an axle, and of course, the car.

Even the wheel has developed significantly over time. For example, the invention of the spoked wheel in the Middle Ages made travel much easier because it was far lighter than simple wooden disks. In the late 19th century, the invention of the pneumatic tire transformed transportation yet again, allowing vehicles to drive more smoothly on uneven terrain.

3. Money

Invented: 600 BCE

The first known use of money comes from ancient Mesopotamian cities. From as early as 3000 BCE, Mesopotamian cities had central banks that would store assets and provide clay tokens as a proxy for the assets. These tokens could then be traded on an open market.

The first known coin, however, is a cultural artifact that dates to 600 BCE, from the Kingdom of Lidya (modern-day Turkey). These coins were made of electrum, an alloy of gold and silver.

Since then, money has evolved to become the primary means of exchange in most societies. Today, there are a wide variety of currencies in use around the world, including paper notes, metal coins, and digital currencies.

The invention of money was monumental because it allowed for the development of trade and commerce. Money made it possible to buy and sell goods and services without the need to barter.

4. Gunpowder

Invented: 808 CE

While the first confirmed recording of gunpowder was in 808 CE, it’s likely that gunpowder existed for several centuries beforehand.

Gunpowder is a mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate. It is used in firearms and explosives.

While gunpowder has a number of negative applications, it also has some positive ones. As a defensive mechanism, it helped militaries to keep countries safe from invaders. It is also used in fireworks, for example, and has also been used in Chinese medicine.

5. The Compass

Invented: 11th Century CE

The first compass was invented in China in the 11th century.

Prior to the invention of the compass, people navigated by using the stars and other landmarks. The compass made it possible to travel in any direction, regardless of weather or terrain.

As a result, the compass had a profound impact on exploration and trade. It allowed humans to venture into new and unknown territory and to expand their horizons.

6. The Printing Press

Invented: 1450

The printing press is a technological invention that prints text and images onto paper. The first printing press was invented in 1450 by Johannes Gutenberg.

The printing press is one of the most important inventions in human history. It helped to spread information and to print books en masse. As a result, literacy increased dramatically and human knowledge was accelerated.

Scholar Benedict Anderson also believes that the printing press and subsequent print media were the impetus for the concept of a nation-state, or ‘imagined community‘ where people who have never met each other could feel a sense of commonality and shared identity.

7. The Microscope

Invented: 1590

The microscope is an instrument used to magnify objects. The first compound microscope was invented in 1590 by Zacharias Janssen.

The microscope has a wide range of applications, including in medicine, biology, and engineering. It is used to examine cells, tissues, and organs; to study the structure of materials; and to inspect objects for defects.

The microscope revolutionized our understanding of biology. It helped us, for example, to learn about the structure of cells and to discover the existence of bacteria and viruses.

8. The Steam Engine

Invented: 1698 CE

The first steam engine was invented by Thomas Savery in 1698. It was an important invention because it helped to usher in the industrial revolution.

The engine worked by using steam to power a piston, which could then be used to drive a shaft. This made it possible to use steam to power a wide variety of machines, which led to an increase in productivity and efficiency.

In addition, the invention of the steam engine also helped to create new industries and jobs, as well as helping to fuel the growth of cities and towns. As a result, the steam engine was a key factor in the transformation of society from agrarian to industrial.

For more innovations from the 17th Century, see: Seven Innovations from the Second Agricultural Revolution

9. Electricity

Invented: Late 1700s

While electricity had been studied since the 16th century and some primitive forms of electrification were developed in the 18th century, it was not until the late 1700s that electricity became a well-understood phenomenon.

The English scientist Michael Faraday is credited with the discovery of induction in 1831, which laid the groundwork for modern electrical technology.

Today, electricity is an essential part of our lives, powering everything from our homes and businesses to our cars and electronic devices.

10. The Camera

Invented: 1827

The first camera was invented in 1827 by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce.

Cameras are now used extensively in our everyday lives. They are used not only on our phones to take photos and videos, but also used in security systems.

Cameras have had a profound impact on our society. They have allowed us to document and preserve our memories. They have also given us the ability to preserve and share our experiences.

11. The Internal Combustion Engine

Invented: 1862

The first internal combustion engine was invented in 1862 by Jean Joseph Étienne Lenoir.

Internal combustion engines are used extensively in our modern world. They power our cars, trucks, and buses. They are also used in construction equipment, generators, and lawnmowers.

Internal combustion engines have had a profound impact on our society. They have allowed us to travel long distances quickly and easily and have made it possible for us to move heavy loads and equipment.

12. The Telephone

Invented: 1876

The telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876 and it revolutionized communication. Prior to the telephone, the only way to communicate with someone at a distance was through written messages, which could be slow and unreliable.

The telephone allowed people to instantly connect with each other no matter where they were in the world. Today, there are over 1 billion telephone landlines in use and billions of mobile phones as well.

13. Computers

Invented: 1876

The first computers were created in the early 1800s. However, these early machines were nothing like the computers of today. They were bulky and required a team of operators to function.

In 1876, Charles Babbage designed a machine called the Analytical Engine, which could be programmed to perform simple calculations. However, the machine was never completed.

In 1937, John Atanasoff and Clifford Berry developed the first electronic computer, called the Atanasoff-Berry Computer. However, this machine was not actually built until 1973.

By the 1990s, computers had well and truly changed the world. People were using them at work and, increasingly, they were used at home for word processing and accounting.

14. The Airplane

Invented: 1903

The airplane was invented by the Wright brothers in 1903. It was the first heavier-than-air craft to successfully achieve powered flight.

The airplane has had a profound impact on the world, making it possible to travel great distances in relatively short periods of time. It has also made it possible to transport goods and people around the world in a way that was previously unimaginable.

It also changed how wars were fought, as airplanes were used in World War I to drop bombs and conduct reconnaissance missions. Today, there are over 100,000 airplanes in use worldwide.

15. Television

Invented: 1927

The printing press was the first form of mass media, followed by radio. But the postwar decades hailed the era of television. During this era, television was a disruptive technology that caused radio to lose its prominence.

By 1960, there was sufficient infrastructure, and televisions were affordable enough, that the television had entered the mainstream zeitgeist. It became one of the most popular forms of entertainment, broadcasting into over 1 million homes in the United States.

It also had a profound impact on society, helping to connect people from all over the world and making information more accessible than ever before. The Vitenam war was the first war to be televised into people’s homes, which was a catalyst for the anti-war movement in the United States.

16. Semiconductors

Invented: 1947

The first semiconductor was invented in 1947 by William Shockley, John Bardeen, and Walter Brattain.

Semiconductors are used extensively in our modern world. They are the building blocks of computer chips and are used in a wide range of electronic devices.

Semiconductors have had a profound impact on our society. They have allowed us to miniaturize electronic devices and to create fast and powerful computer chips.

17. The Polio Vaccine

Invented: 1955

The polio vaccine is one of the most important technological breakthroughs in history.

Prior to the development of the vaccine, polio was a leading cause of disability and death, particularly in young children. The introduction of the vaccine in the 1950s led to a dramatic reduction in the incidence of polio, and today the disease is considered to be Eliminated in most parts of the world.

While there are still a few cases each year, they are almost exclusively in countries where the vaccine is not widely available.

The success of the polio vaccine has led to the development of other vaccines for other diseases, such as measles and rubella, which have also had a profound impact on public health.

18. Artificial Intelligence

Invented: 1956

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the ability of a computer to perform tasks that would normally require human intelligence, such as understanding natural language and recognizing objects.

The first AI program was developed in 1956 by a team of researchers at Dartmouth College. The program, called “Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence”, was designed to create a machine that could beat a human player at checkers.

While the program was successful, it was not able to beat the best human players. However, it did lay the foundations for further AI research.

Today, AI is becoming more and more common in businesses. For example, many customer service tasks are now handled by AI chatbots. AI is also being used for more complex tasks such as financial analysis and medical diagnosis.

19. Satellites

Invented: 1957

The first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, was launched by the Soviet Union in 1957. This event ushered in the Space Age and the start of the space race between the two superpowers.

Satellites have had a profound impact on the world, providing us with a way to communicate with people in other parts of the world and to observe the planet from space.

They have also been used for navigation, weather forecasting, and mapping. Today, there are over 2,000 satellites in orbit around the Earth, and their numbers are growing every year.

20. The laser

Invented: 1960

The laser is a device that emits a beam of coherent light. The first laser was built in 1960 by Arthur Schawlow and Charles Townes.

Lasers have a wide range of applications, including cutting and welding, communications, printing, and medicine. They are also used in production processes, such as in the manufacture of semiconductors.

Recently, lasers have also been used in the military. They can help to guide missiles, for example, to help them to be more accurate.

21. Virtual reality

Invented: 1960 CE

The first virtual reality headset was invented in 1960 by Morton Heilig.

Virtual reality is a computer-generated environment that allows users to interact with it in a realistic way. It is a quintessential example of a wearable technology.

It has been used extensively in gaming and entertainment. But futurists believe that it will become extremely useful for training and education purposes (especially in the media), in medicine, and in manufacturing.pri

22. The Internet

Invented: 1969

The first Internet connection was made in 1969 between two computers at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The Internet is now a global network of computers that allows people to communicate and share information. It has transformed our lives. It has allowed us to stay connected with friends and family around the world, to access a wealth of information at our fingertips, and to work from anywhere.

It has also had a profound impact on our economy. It has stimulated technological globalization. created new industries, and allowed existing ones to thrive. It has facilitated the rapid transfer of information and money around the world and been the platform for the growth of countless businesses.

Read Also: Internet Pros and Cons

23. Mobile phones

Invented: 1973

The first mobile phone was invented in 1973 by Motorola. However, it was not until the late 1990s that mobile phones became commonplace in society, and it became one of the central types of communication technology of the 21st Century.

In the early days of mobile phones, there were a number of challenges that needed to be overcome. One of the biggest was developing a way to miniaturize the components so that they could fit into a small handheld device.

This was essential for making the phone portable and convenient to use.

Another challenge was finding a power source that would be able to keep the phone charged for long periods of time. NiCad batteries were initially used, but they had a tendency to lose their charge quickly and were also prone to the “memory effect”, which reduced their capacity over time.

Eventually, Lithium-ion batteries were developed which addressed these issues.

24. GPS

Invented: 1973

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite-based navigation system that was invented in 1973 by the United States Department of Defense.

GPS allows users to determine their precise location anywhere on the planet. It has a number of civilian and military applications, including navigation, surveying, mapping, and timing.

GPS is now an essential part of our everyday lives. It is used by millions of people around the world when using maps apps on their phones, for example. It helps us to find our way to a specific location, track our progress while running or cycling, and plan driving routes.

25. DNA sequencing

Invented: 1977

DNA sequencing is the process of determining the order of nucleotides in a DNA molecule. The first DNA sequence was determined in 1977 by Frederick Sanger.

Since then, DNA sequencing has become an essential tool in biology and medicine. It is used to study the genetic basis of diseases, to develop new treatments and diagnostic tests, and to trace the evolutionary history of organisms.

26. 3D printing

Invented: 1984

3D printing is the process of making three-dimensional solid objects from a 3D digital file. The first 3D printer was invented in 1984 by Chuck Hull.

Since then, 3D printing has become more and more popular, with a wide range of applications in industry, medicine, and even art.

3D printing has a number of advantages over traditional manufacturing methods. It is quick and easy to set up, and it can be used to create complex shapes that would be difficult or impossible to produce using traditional methods.

It is also relatively low cost, making it an attractive option for small businesses and hobbyists.

27. Bitcoin

Invented: 2009

Bitcoin is a digital currency that was invented in 2009 by an anonymous person or group of people known as Satoshi Nakamoto.

Bitcoin is different from traditional currencies because it is not regulated by any government or financial institution. Instead, it is decentralized and can be bought, sold, or traded on a number of online exchanges.

Bitcoin has become popular because it offers a number of advantages over traditional currencies. For example, it is not subject to inflationary pressures, and it can be used to make anonymous transactions.

See Also: Amazing Assistive Technologies for the Disabled


Technology has played a pivotal role in human history, and its impact can be seen in all aspects of our lives. From the development of early tools and agriculture to the rise of modern civilizations, technology has shaped the course of human history. Today, we continue to rely on technology to improve our lives and solve problems. With each new breakthrough, we push the boundaries of human capabilities.

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Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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