Innovation Related

These were Invented in the 1980s

5 Things You Didn’t Realize Were Invented in the 1980s

Microsoft Windows, 1985

Since its initial launch in 1985, Microsoft has released 10 major versions of the operating system. While Windows today looks a lot different than it did decades ago, it was the 1980s when it really got its start. Windows 1, spearheaded by Bill Gates, was an iconic moment in the tech industry because the new system relied heavily on the use of a mouse to input information, while other systems typically used keyboards.

Disposable camera, 1987

Although you don’t see these around too often today, they marked an iconic moment in the development of photography. And while the history of disposable cameras can date back to the 1880s, it wasn’t until 1987 that a major company released a consumer-ready disposable camera — Kodak’s “The Fling.” Good for 24 photos, the disposable camera cost a consumer $6.95 when it was first released. After the Fling’s release, other companies began releasing their own versions, and between 1988 and 1992, disposable camera sales grew from 3 million to 21.5 million.

DNA fingerprinting, 1984

Dr. Alec Jeffreys was studying hereditary family diseases as a geneticist at the University of Leicester in England in 1984 when he discovered the repetitive patterns of DNA in humans. With further research, he discovered that the variations between a person’s DNA could be used to identify an individual, unless he or she had an identical twin. He called his new finding “genetic fingerprinting” and successfully tested his discoveries when two murders occurred near the university. The new method worked to exonerate a suspect and convict a guilty one.

CD player, 1982

Before the time of wireless bluetooth speakers and surround sound, there was the CD player. In 1982, Sony released the world’s first commercial compact disc player, the CDP-101. At the time, the CD player was sold for a whopping $674, while CDs themselves cost around $15 a piece. CD players were viewed as products for the wealthy, but as they slowly became more mainstream, prices dropped and players made their way into a majority of American households.

MTV, 1981

MTV went on the air for the first time on Aug. 1, 1981, with the words: “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll.” The first music video to air on the new television station was “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles. Early on, most of the channel’s programming consisted of music videos — helping boost the fame of some of today’s most celebrated artists such as Madonna, Prince and Duran Duran. MTV became one of the most influential media channels for music, pop culture and entertainment.