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The best Tech inventions of all time 2: Transport

In this series we take a look at everything, large and small that has changed the way we do things and has enhanced our lives in some way. In part two we take a look at advancements in transportation that have changed the way we travel the world - and beyond.

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Topic: Innovation
The best Tech inventions of all time 2 Transport ZDNet
1 of 12 NASA Imagery

Spacecraft

To overcome the force of the Earth's gravity and propel a craft beyond the surface of the earth requires a significant amount of power. Rockets give spacecraft the initial thrust to help it climb to a high enough altitude to overcome gravitational pull.

The rocket is then jettisoned and the spacecraft enters Earth's orbit. Space travel was first theorised in 1861 by Scottish astronomer and mathematician William Leitch. The first space craft to reach the moon was Luna 2 in 1959.

Related: The best Tech inventions of all time 1: Engineering

The best Tech inventions of all time 2 Transport ZDNet
2 of 12 Lucky 2013

Hot air balloon

Hot air balloons were used for signalling in China in around 220 AD. Balloons filled with hot air first lifted off the ground in 1709 in Lisbon. The first hot air balloon flight was in 1783 Paris in a balloon developed by the Montgolfier brothers.

Hot air balloons with on-board gas burners were developed in the 1960s. Larger wicker baskets started to be used for commercial passenger leisure flights in the 1980s. The fuel heat source is normally propane. Special shapes, whilst not overly easy to fly, are used for advertising.

Related: The best Tech inventions of all time 1: Engineering

The best Tech inventions of all time 2 Transport ZDNet
3 of 12 Wiki Images

Hovercraft

The term 'hover' to describe a craft was first mentioned in 1716 by Swedish scientist Emanuel Swedenborg. British engineer Sir Christopher Cockerell developed the idea of a ring cushion and curtain.

This curtain would trap high pressure air within the curtain and lift the craft. Fans at the rear of the craft provide its forward motion. The first hovercraft crossing of the English Channel was in 1959.

Related: The best Tech inventions of all time 1: Engineering


The best Tech inventions of all time 2 Transport ZDNet
4 of 12 Fotoshot

Armoured vehicle

Armoured vehicles have been mentioned in history since 300 BC where a siege tower was built to defend the city during the siege of Rhodes. Leonardo da Vinci drew a design for a protected gun platform in the 15th Century which was to be mounted on four wheels.

The first armoured car was built in 1902, and the first tracked tank was built by Britain and France to cross trenches during the first World War. There are many different types of armoured vehicles, carriers, trains and artillery in existence.

Related: The best Tech inventions of all time 1: Engineering

The best Tech inventions of all time 2 Transport ZDNet
5 of 12 Gellinger

Collapsible baby buggy

The first strollers or perambulators (later shortened to pram) were developed in 1733 by English architect William Kent. As the stroller evolved it added suspension to make the ride easier for the baby.

A more compact design, known as a push-chair, or buggy was developed in the 1980s with a detachable baby seat, or carrycot, and a chassis that can be folded.

Imagine air travel with a full flight, a screaming child and a fixed chassis stroller and you can appreciate just how far baby buggy technology has come.

Related: The best Tech inventions of all time 1: Engineering

The best Tech inventions of all time 2 Transport ZDNet
6 of 12 Zapata Racing

Hoverboards

Hoverboards are now proving Back To The Future film technology, and are becoming a reality. Boards are now being developed that go further than the Segway-style of wheeled board and can actually leave the ground.

Jet ski champion, Franky Zapata demonstrated his Flyboard Air could levitate. His flight earned him a Guinness World Record for covering a distance of around 2,200 meters with an average speed of around 50 to 60 km/h.

Related: The best Tech inventions of all time 1: Engineering

The best Tech inventions of all time 2 Transport ZDNet
7 of 12 Regina Maus

Glider

People have been jumping off high points attempting to fly with feather-like wings since the 9th Century. Eilmer of Malmsbury reportedly flew off the roof of the abbey in around 1000 AD, gliding 220 yards and breaking his legs.

More recently, heavier than air gliders have been flying since 1849. High altitude flight was achieved by a glider which was launched from a hot-air balloon in 1905. In addition to fixed-wing gliders, flight can be achieved by fabric wing, foot launched paragliders, and hang gliders.

Related: The best Tech inventions of all time 1: Engineering

The best Tech inventions of all time 2 Transport ZDNet
8 of 12 Unsplash

Automobile

The car was created in 1886 when Karl Benz built the Benz Patent Motorwagon. Early cars had solid tyres, no headlights and no windshield wipers. Back then, there was no paved road infrastructure, no traffic lights, roundabouts, or gas stations.

It is estimated that there are now over one billion cars globally. Most cars are powered by an internal combustion engine although battery powered cars are gaining popularity.

Related: The best Tech inventions of all time 1: Engineering

The best Tech inventions of all time 2 Transport ZDNet
9 of 12 Skeeze

Steam Engine

Steam engines are combustion engines designed to do mechanical work using steam to power the engine. Steam engines are usually boilers or part of an industrial steam plant that provides heat or power in factories.

Steam hammers, beam engines and pile drivers rely on steam for operation. There are portable steam engines to provide electricity, water pumps, and the steam locomotive which fills train aficionados with nostalgia.

Related: The best Tech inventions of all time 1: Engineering

The best Tech inventions of all time 2 Transport ZDNet
10 of 12 Skeeze

Airplane

Leonardo da Vinci first drew a design for a man powered aircraft in 1502 but the concept of the fixed wing flying machine was designed in 1799. Gliders had been carrying people since the 9th Century but the first (horse) powered flight by glider was in 1856.

The first powered flight was made by the Wright brothers in 1903. Jet airliners have been flying since the de Havilland Comet in 1952. Flight is powered by propeller engines, jet engines, electric motors and rockets.

Related: The best Tech inventions of all time 1: Engineering

The best Tech inventions of all time 2 Transport ZDNet
11 of 12 Skeeze

Helicopter

Helicopter-like vertical flight was first mentioned in Chinese documents in 400 BC. Leonardo da Vinci designed an 'aerial screw' machine that could fly but there was no technology in the design to stop the craft rotating.

Italian Enrico Forlanini built a steam powered machine that rose to 40ft and hovered for 20 seconds after take-off. Twin rotor helicopters were designed in 1951. They were initially powered by rotary engines, radial engines and are now primarily powered by turbines and sometimes jet engines.

Related: The best Tech inventions of all time 1: Engineering


The best Tech inventions of all time 2 Transport ZDNet
12 of 12 Skitter Photo

Bicycle

Bicycles use two wheels in tandem and were first mentioned in 1817 in Germany. A mechanical crank was added by Frenchmen Pierre Michaux and Pierre Lallement. They named this design the velocipede.

Bicycles are the main form of transportation in many regions across the world. Materials used in bicycle design focus on high strength and low weight such as carbon fibre.

Related: The best Tech inventions of all time 1: Engineering

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