• Tech - News
  • Updated: November 27, 2022

Ten 21st Century Inventions With The Biggest Impact

The most impactful inventions change the way we live our daily lives. It seems we’ve just heard about them and then all of a sudden, we can’t live without them

Once they are released from the inventor's control and released into the world, they can travel in any direction.

Some results are positive, some negative. They create some issues and solve others.

The most impactful inventions affect everyone, from innovators and early adopters to laggards who only adopt a new thing when they are forced to.

These ten inventions from the twenty-first century have shaped our world today.

10. Cryptocurrency 

Although the goodness is debatable—especially if you suffered significant financial losses in the most recent crypto crash—the impact is undeniable.

The financial sector has been shaken by the widespread adoption of cryptocurrency, which is positioned as a decentralized alternative to government-issued fiat currency that puts the power in the hands of the holder.

More than a fifth of American adults have traded or used cryptocurrencies since the launch of Bitcoin in 2009.

If you watched the Super Bowl, which more than 100 million people did, you couldn't avoid it.

9. Human Genome Map

The Human Genome Project started in 1990 but it wasn't until a "rough draft" of the human genome was published in 2000 that countless medical advances were made.

Level “complete genome” was achieved in 2021 and the last sequence was completed this year. Knowing what makes up our genes has led to treatments for all sorts of diseases, especially cancers, and provided a great deal of information about human evolution and prehistory. 

The potential of this knowledge, which we are only now beginning to explore, will enable longer, higher-quality lives.

8. E-Readers

The device, which stores all of your books on one portable device, revolutionized reading and printing.

Suddenly, you could pack them all in a convenient tablet, eliminating the need to select just one beach book for your trip.

You can get a long battery life and little eye strain with electronic paper instead of LED screens, which you couldn't get with a smartphone.

E-readers are now owned by more than half of adults in the world, and they have irrevocably altered the publishing sector.

7. Streaming

The ability to stream audio and video has altered how we consume media due to the expansion of internet bandwidth and its technological dominance.

The music industry was first upended by Napster, which was founded in 1999. Then Netflix and Amazon Prime Video started offering streaming video.

Take the United States, for example, there are more than 50 million cord-cutters, and new ones sign up for streaming services every day.

Instead of using physical media, we listen to music through streaming services, and everyone you know is a podcast listener (invented in 2004).

6. GPS Navigation

The global positioning system itself is not a creation of the twenty-first century. It was kept secret and under U.S. military control until the year 2000.

Now, we're using GPS navigation while driving or strolling around to find that brand-new eatery that's a mile from our home.

Many of us can’t go anywhere without it, and it’s opening up parts of the world that were extremely difficult to explore before. Road trips with a paper map? That’s so 20th century.

5. Tokenization 

Some of the most significant inventions of the twenty-first century are responses to issues raised by earlier innovations.

We have a lot of personal information floating around that could seriously harm us if it fell into the wrong hands because so much of life now occurs online.

In particular, financial transactions demonstrate this. Tokenization transforms sensitive data into indecipherable, one-time-use tokens that are disconnected from the identifying information that gave rise to them.

It is what enables us to quickly make electronic payments without having to worry about the security of our banking information.

4. Social Media

The term is a vague catch-all. Even though social networking websites existed before the turn of the century, they took off and became commonplace in the early 2000s.

They established a connection between offline and online life that now permeates our culture.

Most of the time when we take out our smartphones, we check out what's going on on social media.

Social media works best when it helps us stay in touch with friends who are spread out across the globe. In the worst cases, it can rot our brains.

3. Smartphones

We’re practically attached to them, so it’s hard to remember that the first iPhone came out just 15 years ago. 

Since then, smartphones have become our most prized possessions.

They’re our digital assistants, reminding us of what’s on our agendas today. They’re our cameras, with more photos taken on any given day than in the entirety of pre-smartphone human history. 

We watch TV on them, we surf the web on them, and we run financial transactions on them.

They’re little handheld computers, and they know more about us than anyone else in our lives.

2. Robot Heart

Artificial hearts have been around for some time. They are mechanical devices connected to the actual heart or implanted in the chest to assist or substitute a heart that is failing. 

Abiomed, a Danvers, Massachusetts-based company, developed a robot heart called AbioCor, a self-contained apparatus made of plastic and titanium.

AbioCor is a self-contained unit except for a wireless battery pack that is attached to the wrist. Robert Tools, a technical librarian with congestive heart failure, received the first one on July 2, 2001.

1. Robotic Exoskeletons 

Ever since researchers at the University of California, Berkeley created a robotic device that attaches to the lower back to augment strength in humans in 2003, the demand for robotic exoskeletons for physical rehabilitation has increased, and manufacturing has taken off.

Wearable exoskeletons are increasingly helping people with mobility issues (particularly lower body paralysis), and are being used in factories. 

Ford Motor Company, for example, has used an exoskeleton vest that helps auto assemblers with repetitive tasks to lessen the wear and tear on shoulders and arms.

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Rasheed Olajide Awoniyi
Rasheed Olajide Awoniyi

Rasheed Olajide Awoniyi is a Master's degree holder in International Affairs and Diplomacy, A Ba...

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