Technology has always been around from the beginning of civilisation, whether useless or revolutionary, and the top factor in consumer technology has always been ergonomics. Here are five of my favourite gadgets and how they have become an extension of the human anatomy.
Not a typical ‘Gadgety’ article, nor associated necessarily with typical ergonomics, the pedal bike is the only common form of transport which is practically free to run, and suitable for commuting distances. The Bicycle takes human effort and introduces a gearing system between us and the road, enabling our power/velocity ratio to be manipulated, which ultimately gives us the power to travel speeds and distances that are impossible by the laws of human nature. Although not as popular as once upon a time, a truly mind blowing concept, taken for granted by most of us.
The Gas Lighter:
It’s hard to think of life without the benefits of instant fire, and unless you’re Ray Mears you will have a huge problem obtaining it without a lighter. Where I find the fascinating ergonomical revelation here is the sheer immense amount of power made possible with a mere flick of the thumb, very few inventions have such a massive benefit/input ratio. The lighter weights less than a bunch of keys but is one of the most useful items to be carrying whilst stranded!
The Swiss Army Knife:
The Swiss army knife is such a great invention, every tool you could possibly need for a camping trip fits right in your pocket, and makes clever use of physics and geometry to give you the most efficient user-experience, from ‘levering’ open tin cans, using the strategically placed cork-screw or carving sticks into tools, everything has been thought of.
The Knife and Fork:
The knife and fork, another invention taken for granted by most people. The knife and fork made it to my list for a number of reasons, but the main reason is the fact that they are so common, a forgotten invention often mistaken for a part of our natural human anatomy. I don’t even know who invented them (though I will be googling it imminently) but they are purpose made to enable us to consume with minimal effort.
The Yale Lock & Key:
The common lock and key is a favourite of mine as it’s such a small invention, but has been the industry standard since invention, used in Banks, Prisons and even our homes for one sole purpose – Security. A device that typically weighs less than a kilo in total is able to grant or deny access to our most treasured belongings. A tried and tested device which is so common we would be considered ‘mad’ to live life without it. And the best part is, I hear you ask! The key fits right into the palm of your hand!