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Chris Birk


7 Technologies the Military Made Possible (PHOTOS)

Posted: 05/10/2012 4:40 pm

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  • 7 Technologies the Military Made Possible

  • Tech from the 1930s

  • Walkie-Talkies

    The technology behind walkie-talkies (formerly known as handheld transceivers) is present in cell phones, children's toys and tools for hobbies such as hunting. The concept was originally part of the Canadian military's communications system. The first version of this technology to actually be referred to as a Walkie-Talkie was created during World War II by Motorola (model SCR-300) and used by the U.S. Signal Corps.

  • Microwave Oven

    Household microwaves have become a staple in kitchens throughout the country. It's strange to think that aircraft tracking radar from the mid-1930s is to thank. Originally invented by the Royal Air Force, aircraft tracking radar served as an instrument used in early warning systems. On top of just being used to pop popcorn, similar technology is still being utilized in air traffic control towers all over the world

  • Tech from the 1940s

  • GPS Navigation

    Today's GPS are roughly based on technologies created in the 1940s. American military forces developed long range navigation, or LORAN, based on British radio navigation technologies. Upgrading to today's GPS technology meant moving from a land-based positioning system to a space-based positioning system. Today's GPS can also trace their origins to ballistic missiles created by the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. These missiles made long-range attacks possible for the first time in the 1940s. Many historians have even tracked modern space exploration to these missiles.

  • Low Light Photography

    This form of photography was made possible by the US military's night-vision technology. Invented in 1940s, night vision employed two goals common to photography: reaching sufficient spectral range and intensity range in order to "see" in low light conditions. Photographers of all skill levels frequently practice low light photography thanks to this technological advancement.

  • Silly Putty

    This gooey toy was originally supposed to be part of a research project during World War II. The Japanese government curbed rubber supplies to the United States, so the government commissioned a group of scientists to develop a substitute. The scientists hoped to created a rubber-like material that would be strong enough for automobile tires and other necessary products. One of the results was Silly Putty (1943). The substance wasn't strong enough for tires but made for a simple children's toy.

  • Tech from the 1960s

  • World Wide Web

    During the Cold War the U.S. and the Soviet Union looked for ways to one-up each other beyond nuclear power. Researching how government and defense installations woulds stay in contact if cities and telecommunication networks were wiped out became part of the U.S. plan to gain dominance. This research led to networking experiments as early as 1962 run by the Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency. Those experiments gave way to one of the most incredible technologies every created.

  • Digital Cameras

    Film cameras have nearly phased out in the retail sphere, pushed out by the rise of digital photography. Whether the style of digital camera be an SLR or a smaller point-and-shoot the impact is overwhelming. What many people don't realize is that digital cameras, no matter the type, are all reminiscent of the U.S. and Soviet Union's satellite spy cameras used in the 1960s.

This originally appeared on Veterans United Network.

Chris Birk is director of communications for the VA Mortgage Center, which specializes in VA loans for veterans and active duty service members.


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