Ultra Swank - Retro Adventures

1960s Tech Inventions That Shaped Today’s World

Presented by Breeders Cup Classic • October 29th, 2019
1960s Tech Inventions That Shaped Today’s World

Back in the 1960s, the technology was emerging and it was a brilliant time for inventors to come up with something revolutionary. It was clear that the technology industry needed to be advanced in order to improve our living. There were many different designs and inventions that did not see the light of the day, as they were too advanced and optimistic to built for that time.

However, there were some tech designs that helped to shape the world as it is now. Some of the technological inventions that happened in the 60s are used today all the time and people cannot live without them. We cannot imagine the medicine, transport, connectivity, and even sports like football, NBA and horse races, like the Breeders Cup classic, without technology.

Let’s see what technology trends developed in the 1960s that shaped today’s world.

Above: TV Games Inventor — Ralph Baer an engineer for Sanders Associates, Inc., of Nashua, New Hampshire.

First Video Game Console

Ralph Baer was the inventor behind maybe one of the biggest trends today. Back in 1966, he envisioned the original video game console called by fans the Brown Box. He played the first two-player video game in 1967, which he apparently lost, and a year later the prototype was finished. This gaming console went into production and hit the markets later in 1972 and people were very excited to try it.

Above: First Computer Mouse — Image via SRI International

Computer Mouse

Can you imagine what the world be like today without a computer mouse? Basically impossible to use all the technology. Douglas Engelbart had completely changed the way people use their computers by developing the first computer mouse in 1964. The first mouse was made from wood and had two gear-wheels that were perpendicular to one another, this means that one axis moves were possible. He sealed his invention by filing for a patent in 1967.

Above: Light Emitting Diodes (LED) — Image via Speak Fun Electronics

Light Emitting Diodes (LED)

Even though electricity was available, it was still a technology that was in development and needed improvements in order to use it more efficiently in our homes. Originally, the first idea behind the light-emitting diode came up back in 1907, but the technology seemed too advanced for that time. Later on, in 1962, Nick Holonyak Jr, while he was working for General Electric Company, has managed to create the first practical visible-spectrum LED. They described the diode as the “father of the light”. At first, the LED were red and did not produce enough bright for them to work effectively.

Above: 1960: the first working optical laser — A laser at the Hughes Aircraft Company

Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation (Laser)

Even though the full name sounds like a weapon from a Bond movie, it was basically developed for more precise measurements and some medical procedures at the time. Theodore Maiman was responsible for developing this technology back in 1960 and since then, lasers have become part of our everyday lives.

Above: Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) — Computer RAM

Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM)

What would today’s computers look without RAM? This technology was redesigned by Robert Dennard and he improved the RAM memory at the time so it would work more efficiently over smaller space. Basically, it was a win-win situation as the users had bigger capacity and it cost less than the technology available at the time.

Above: UNIX — Ken Thompson (sitting) and Dennis Ritchie working together at a PDP-11


In the late 60s, a group of employees from AT&T after working on the project for a couple of years created one of the most powerful and popular operating system of the age, called UNIX. Names like Brian Kernighan, Douglas Mcllroy, Dennis Ritchie, Ken Thompson, and Joe Ossana were working on this project and the name came from MULTICS, which was a project run in conjunction with several large companies that failed to succeed with this project.

These are some of the technological inventions that helpt to shape today’s world. Each of them is responsible for many different things that happened and the world would not be the same without them. At that time the technology advanced at a much more slower pace than today making things only harder which is why we have to appreciate their efforts.

First Computer Mouse

Above: First Computer Mouse

Light Emitting Diodes (LED)

Above: Light Emitting Diodes (LED)

Above: 1960: the first working optical laser

Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM)

Above: Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) — In the 1960s, 128 kilobytes weighed around 600 pounds


Above: UNIX

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