What engineering breakthrough are you most thankful for?

Published: 11 Mar 2015

In a survey completed last year by Enhance Media’s Engineer panel, we  asked 50 engineers what breakthrough they were most thankful for and why. Here’s what they had to say:

  • The train (because it gets me to work)

An interesting aside, the Shanghai Maglev tops the fastest train list with its maximum operational speed of 430km per hour and average speed of 251kmph. It started commercial operations in April 2004 and is the first commercially operated high-speed magnetic levitation line. Its route is on the 30.5km Shanghai Maglev Line, extending from Longyang Road Station and ending at Shanghai Pudong International Airport. The train was constructed by a joint venture of Siemens and ThyssenKrupp.

  • Multi-layered lens coatings - colour photography
  • Microsoft Gantt charts because they make planning heaps easier
  • Telephone (because it opened a new way of communication)
  • Transistor because it makes small low power electronics possible

Given that the number of transistors on an affordable CPU now doubles every year, this exponential improvement has dramatically enhanced the effect of digital electronics in nearly every segment of the world economy.

  • Mobile telephones

You don’t need this article to tell you about the phenomenal technological enhancements (see above) that have occurred to make mobiles phones the powerhouse smartphones they are today.As an example, the Power Sleep app is a new Android app that uses the processing power of mobile phones for research while users are asleep. Scientists at the University of Vienna are using it to decode protein sequences.

  • Steam engine as it bred the industrial revolution
  • Computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines - massive improvement to quality, productivity, creativity and repeatability
  • The internet as it provides an invaluable source of information for equipment that I encounter as part of my job. This is equally applicable to the latest technology or to older less common components.

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