TOP 10 ‘INNOVATIONS’ THAT SHOULD HAVE CHANGED THE WORLD... BUT DIDN’T MANAGE IT. This list, compiled by a panel of 20 experts from the BriNsh Science AssociaNon, reveals the most exci+ng innova+ons that failed to live up to expecta+ons.
1. Concorde It was an engineering marvel admired by NASA and the envy of airlines around the world. ASer its maiden ﬂight in 1969, Concorde was heralded as the dawn of a new age of supersonic passenger air travel. UlNmately, however, just 20 of these aircraS were ever built and the high running costs saw a trip on Concorde become a luxury ﬂight rather than rouNne transport. A combinaNon of the Air France crash in 2000 and the slump in air travel following the September 11 terrorist aYacks saw Concorde ﬁnally reNred from service from the two airlines that operated them – BriNsh Airways and Air France. Today, airline passengers can barely travel at half the speed reached by Concorde.
2. Microwave ovens The microwave oven was supposed to sound the death knell of the tradiNonal oven. UNlising microwave radiaNon to heat water inside food, it was able to cook from the inside out. The inability to put metal objects inside microwave ovens, their tendency to heat crockery more than the food and their associaNon with unhealthy ready meals meant they only ever became an addiNon to the oven rather than a replacement.
3. The Millennium Bug Known as the Year 2000 problem, the Millennium bug was reported as a computer soSware glitch that threatened to send ﬁnancial markets crashing, cause aircraS to drop out of the sky, cause power cuts and cause widespread computer chaos. The problem stemmed from a problem with many computer programs that only stored years with two digits, which would have resulted in their clocks being reset when the millennium rolled over. The new millennium arrived with liYle trouble and countries that had spent very liYle on tackling the Y2K bug, such as Italy and South Korea, performed just as well as those who had spent a fortune.
4. High Rise Buildings Tower blocks began springing up in ciNes in Europe to replace the buildings destroyed by the aerial bombardment during the blitz. They provided cheap and easily assembled housing that allowed large numbers of people from the crumbling tenement blocks to be given homes. They were seen as a bold social experiment and were welcomed for their innovaNve design and spectacular views. Soon we would all be living in a high rise utopia. Dwindling council budgets for maintenance and poor building materials, however, saw these dreams turn sour and they have now become a symbol of 1970s ugliness and poverty. High rise buildings now rank among the least desirable places to live.
5. Moon landings The excitement that followed the Apollo mission to the Moon and Neil Armstrongs famous words as he became the ﬁrst human to set foot on the surface of a solar body other than our own, was huge. The pictures beamed back by the crew revealed a barren and inhospitable landscape with an undeniably fantasNc view. Apollo 11 and the subsequent ﬁve lunar landings certainly helped to inspire a generaNon of scienNsts. Sadly only one scienNst, Harrison SchmiY, a geologist, ever got to walk on the Moons surface and aSer Apollo 17 in 1972, Nasa abandoned manned missions to our nearest astronomical neighbour.
6. DomosNc Robots In the 1950s, predicNons of what life would be like by the end of the millennium placed robots ﬁrmly into the domesNc sefng. Intelligent, autonomous machines would move out of the science ﬁcNon movies and into our homes. They would help housewives with domesNc chores from vacuuming to washing up. Today, robots are now only just ﬁnding use in military sefngs in the guise of unmanned aircraS and bomb disposal drones, but sNll have to be remotely controlled by humans. Small numbers of roboNc vacuum cleaners that trundle around the home sweeping up crumbs have been sold, but sadly most home owners sNll have to get their hands dirty without the aid mechanical helper.
7. Video Phones Featured on Tomorrows World in the late 1980s, video conferencing was billed as the way we could be communicaNng in the future. Not only would we be able to talk to friends and relaNves on the other side of the world, but we would be able to see them too. Despite enjoying a slight revival in the business world as concerns about climate change saw many push video conferencing as an alternaNve to air travel for meeNngs, they have really failed to take oﬀ in any meaningful way. Instead, the video funcNon on mobile phones now tends to be used to capture the wacky drunken anNcs of friends while enjoying a night out on the Nles.
8. The Mini A revoluNonary vehicle made by the BriNsh Motor CorporaNon and is successors, which made small cars "cool" and classless. It became an icon of the 1960s and helped inspire new ways of packaging engines and passengers. Despite the trend it set for so called "superminis", for the next forty years cars got bigger and heavier. Even the revamped version of the Mini produced by BMW saw the iconic liYle car grow in size. It is now 22 inches long, 12 inches wider and nearly twice as heavy.
9. MagneNc trains Another Tomorrows World favourite, Maglev trains were to be the ultra modern, super fast form of transport. Rather than using wheels and tracks the trains levitated above powerful magnets along the track. MagneNc trains really only entered use in Japan and parts of China. Despite having the potenNal to reach speeds far in excess of aircraS, the highest speed achieved so far was 361mph. just 3 miles per hour faster than the speed record set by convenNonal trains.
10. Nuclear power Seen as the answer to the worlds energy problems in the 1950s, there were predicNons almost everything from cars to kitchen appliances would become nuclear powered. Fears over safety and diﬃculNes in disposing of the radioacNve waste got in the way....
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