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Bill Gates once said that, “We are changing the world with technology.” The major examples of these innovations include computer and wheel, but there are also many other major and life-altering innovations which have been evolved without any particular research—or more specifically accidentally. Here’s a list of some such accidental innovations which have bought elemental changes in human life.
Percy Spencer, an engineer, was known as an electronics genius. Once, while working on a microwave-emitting magnetron, Percy found that a chocolate bar in his pocket had started to melt. Assuming it was the work of the microwave magnetron, Percy set out to analyse the mechanism of said magnetron, and presented us with the microwave oven.
Though not a life-altering innovation, per se, this spring became a goofy toy of many childhoods. It was accidentally Invented by navy engineer Richard James, while trying to figure out a way to use springs to keep the sensitive instruments aboard ships from rocking themselves to death.
Swiss engineer George de Mestral was out for a hunting trip with his dog and noticed that burrs kept sticking to its fur. Mestral observed the tiny hooks that stuck burrs to fabrics and furs. Years of experimentation with different textiles led to the invention of velcro. Technically, we could say that a dog invented the velcro, right?
- Chocolate chip cookies
They may not have changed the world, but they definitely changed the world of snacks. Ruth Wakefield was mixing a batch of cookies when she discovered that she was out of baker's chocolate. As a substitute, she broke sweetened chocolate into small pieces and added them to the cookie dough. She expected the chocolate to melt, making chocolate cookies, but the little bits remained intact.
Not sure if this innovation is a good or bad thing, considering its side effects on the environment, but it has definitely helped humans a lot. And its discovery is an interesting one. During chemist Leo Baekland’s experimentation with formaldehyde and phenol, he noticed that a new substance emerged. It was extremely durable, moldable, heat-resistant and totally non-conductive. He called his discovery “Bakelite,” the first plastic.
Chemist Roy Plunkett was trying to create chlorofluorocarbons and left his experiment in a refrigeration chamber. But when he came back, a canister that was supposed to be full of gas had vanished—leaving behind only a few white flakes. Experimenting with these white bits, Plunkett discovered a lubricant with an extremely high melting point, which was initially used for military gear, and is now found applied across non-stick cookware.
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