Everything in our world that does not come from nature is a direct result of either invention or innovation. Inventions are ideas that have been turned into new devices or systems. During our everyday lives, we are surrounded by inventions. Some inventions have revolutionized the way in which we live.
Inventions have both positive and negative impacts.
The automobile, for example, is an invention that illustrates this well...
Positives: Quick, independent travel for people
Negatives: Exhaust fumes pollute the air, trees and plants are cut down in order to build roads for our cars, animals can accidentally get hit by a car, people can get hurt in car accidents.
Even though there are many negative impacts relating to the automobile, the positives outweigh the negatives making it America's most widely used means of transportation.
Humans, animals, and the plants are often impacted, both positively and negatively, by our inventions.
Once an invention is mass produced and available for purchase, it goes through a series of changes called the Product Life Cycle. Check out the stages in the diagram below:
When inventions are improved, they are referred to as innovations. Innovations are improvements made to existing devices or systems. Most of the technologies that we use today have been innovated from their original design. For example, look at the innovation of writing instruments:
Some other examples of invention and innovation pairs would be...
VCR to DVD player
Computer to Laptop computer
Pencil to Mechanical pencil
Standard computer mouse to Optical computer mouse
Fire to Light bulb
Light bulb to LED (Light Emitting Diode)
Can you think of some others?