The 1970s was possibly the greatest periodfor innovation since World War Two. To put it into context, everything that has happened since Tim Berners-Lee introduced hypertext transfer-protocol in 1991 has been slow progress; the rapid rise of the smartphone since the early ‘00s has been snail’s pace next to the rapid progression of the home computer in the ‘70s. Federico Faggin, Ted Hoff and Stanley Mazor took the integrated circuit of the ‘60s and shrunk it down into the Intel 4004, the world’s first microprocessor; Alan Shugart of IBM introduced the floppy disk and ethernet was developed by Robert Metcalfe of Xerox. Between them, they laid the foundation of modern computing, allowing transfer of data through networked wires. Physical media and the microprocessor allowed computers small and cheap enough for home use. By the end of the decade, video games were into their second generation and printing became accessible for the home user too,with the invention of both laser printers and inkjet during the decade. Software developed alongside hardware: the C programming language and the gorgeous Unix operating system both made their debut in the early ‘70s. Spacecraft technology also had a stratospheric rise in the ‘70s: the Voyager 1, which passed into interstellar space this summer, was launched in 1977.
Robin James Kerrison
Forever remembered as a time of big hair and even bigger shoulder pads, the 1980s was a decade marked by change. While Frankie said “Relax” and Harry met Sally, scientists were beckoning in the modern technological age. 1982 saw a revolution in personal music ownership, with the release of CDs to replace vinyl LPs and cassettes. The brand new Sony Walkman allowed tapes to be played on the- go, straight from pocket to ear via personal headphones. And the advancements didn’t stop there. With the invention of the VCR, TV programmes could be set to record. It suddenly became possible to nip to the pub without missing Corrie. The same technology gave birth to camcorders,which let people capture and relive family memories. Devices such as the fax machine, answering machines and bricksized mobile phones led to profound developments in the communications
industry. A new generation of PCs brought computer technology deeper into the heart of the home. In 1984 Apple released the Macintosh 128K. With its new-fangled mouse and user-friendly system, it proved an instant hit. Meanwhile, around the world, academics had begun to communicate using a system of computer networks that would one day become the internet.
S-Club 7 and Viagra aside, Tim Berners-Lee’s invention of the World Wide Web at CERN, developed from the 80s concept of interconnected TCP/IP networks, ticks all the boxes in terms of advancing in leaps and bounds. Still unknown to most, Berners-Lee has managed to retain relative anonymity the world over, despite having instigated what is arguably the greatest upheaval since the agricultural revolution ten-thousand years ago. Whilst telegraphs and telephones succeeded in reducing the inconceivable vastness of the world, and made the concept of man’s domination over nature seem less than utter fantasy, the internet has in two short decades collapsed the planet Earth to a mere pinprick, and opened myriad doors hitherto unforeseen by even the most fantastical futurists. We now benefit from instantaneous communication, live-feeds from the midst of disasters and warzones alike, and access to the sum-total of mankind’s accrued knowledge; giving anybody the power to learn, to connect, and to be heard. And we accept this marvel without a blink, without a moment’s thought to the sheer magnificence of the resources at our fingertips; the internet has become wholly subsumed into our lives, and fundamentally altered what it is to be a citizen of the modern world.
Although the first commercially available mobile phone, Motorola’s DynaTAC 800X, was launched in 1983, the Noughties were the decade of the mobile phone. They evolved exponentially during the decade, with phones packing more and more functionality and becoming centrepiece to people’s lives with each passing
year. The first ever mobile call, made using a prototype that weighed two pounds and had a battery life of 30 minutes, was made in April 1973, a whole decade before the
DynaTAC and only six months before the first ever edition of the Boar was published, in October. The year 2000 saw the launch of the classic Nokia 3310, which featured a magnificent 84×84 pixel monochrome display and now-legendary battery life and overall sturdiness. In comparison, the most popular phone of 2010 was the iPhone 4, a device
that just ten years ago would be considered by many to be deep in the realm of
science fiction. We now use our phones for so many different things that their original purpose has almost faded into the background. Your mobile phone has become your guide to unfamiliar locations, a fountain of knowledge when a burning question has to be Googled on the spot, a friend to keep you entertained on those long bus rides. It can be whatever you want it to be.
Cayo Costa Sobral
So what’s in store for the future of technology?
The current decade has produced technology that the generations before us could not have dreamed of, and the future holds even more exciting prospects. One of the most promising of these is the invention of 3D printing – a concept which could change the world as we know it. By creating a digital model of an object, a 3D printer can then be programmed to simply ‘print’ out the object by laying down successive layers of material, then fusing these layers together to create the final product. This could revolutionise the mass production
of products, such as clothing or mobile phones. But there are even more exciting possibilities. By printing layers of living cells, using 3D printers to produce organs may be a real possibility in the future. The new organs could then be transplanted in to humans to replace failing organs; A huge improvement on those with illnesses currently waiting on an organ donor list, forever having to face the risk that they may lose their life if one is not provided quickly enough. Instead, 3D printing could completely reform the world of medicine and save lives! So, in the 40 years that the Boar has been producing its issues, technology has developed beyond our wildest dreams, making the once-impossible a reality. And, as sure at it is that the Boar will carry on its legacy, technology will continue to advance at an ever increasing rate.