5 Military Inventions That Are Now Part Of Your Everyday Life

April 25, 2014: An overview of today’s household products which were originally invented for military purposes.

An Israeli company, Water-Gen, has developed a device which can potentially solve the global water shortage. The Atmospheric Water-Generation Unit can produce water out of thin air. Similar to air conditioners, the device employs heat exchangers to cool air and condense water vapor.

This is, by no means, a first of its kind invention. However, its efficiency and affordability has made it stand out among its predecessors.

Although the generators were developed primarily for military use, particularly the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), its impact may extend far beyond military circles.

The invention inspired us to look back at five major inventions for military use which have changed the world. They are:

Internet

We start with none other than our beloved internet, which revolutionized all aspects of human life, whether social, political or cultural. Though it was not commissioned to aid primarily in warfare, the early funding came from the Department of Defense which awarded contracts in the 1960s for the development of what eventually came to be known as the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET).

The project aimed to improve communication through packet switching and led to the implementation of the TCP/IP protocol. Several decades of further innovation led us to the internet of today.

Programmable Computer (ENIAC)

The Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer (ENIAC) was a milestone in the evolution of computing. It was the first general-purpose electronic computer capable of being programmed to solve numerical problems. Its design and construction was financed by the US Army to calculate artillery firing tables for the Ballistic Research Laboratory.

Today, every modern computer owes its origins to the ENIAC.

Microwave Oven

The discovery that microwaves can heat food came about purely by accident. In 1945, American defense contractor Raytheon employee Percy Spencer was working on an active radar when he found that the microwaves emitting from it melted a chocolate bar in his pocket. He saw potential in the invention and filed a patent for the oven based on the concept. The rest, as they say, is history.

Global Positioning System (GPS)

Our ever-reliable companion, the GPS, was developed by the Department of Defense and for military navigation with the aid of satellites in the Earth’s orbit. It was developed in the early 90s and utilized only for military purposes until 1996 when it became fully operational. The first conflict in which GPS was widely used was the Gulf War from 1990 to 1991.

Duct Tape

A simple yet valuable invention, the duct tape was developed during World War II by a division of Johnson & Johnson. Its water-resistant qualities were effective enough for it to be employed in sealing the ammunitions cases. Soldiers quickly realized its worth and, over the period of time, it transformed from a military essential to a household product.

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