Technological invention is a process, not an act. Even the most rudimentary technologies, like wheels, are based on previous discoveries. As such, one can trace the origins of today’s most advanced machines back through history to their earliest ancestors — or one could just watch the National Geographic Channel’s new five-part documentary, The Link, and skip all the research.
The Link follows host, hacker, and TED-talker, Josh Klein as he investigates how the important historical inventions from the fields of art, science, medicine, and finance all work in concert to inspire today’s most radical designs. For example, the screener I viewed charted a path from the advent of Chinese Bronze Long Swords to Predator drones with stops at the Silk Road, the world’s first stock market, and the Anheuser-Busch brewery. Other episodes examine the connection between everything from aqueducts and oil rigs, to plows and super cars, and even between water wheels and Boeing 777s.
[imgclear] Addison, Texas: Josh Klein on the runway next to the B29 Bomber, Fifi. She’s the only operational B29 Bomber in the world. Photo Credit: ¬© National Geographic / Lizzie Abbott
[imgclear] Brookshire, Texas, USA: Josh Klein about to undergo HUET safety training, which involves being dunked into the water in a helicopter simulator and having to escape. It’s essential training before going to an oil rig. Photo Credit: ¬© National Geographic / Lizzie Abbott
[imgclear] DLR Institute of Robotics, Wessling, Germany: Josh Klein with Rollin’ Justin at the DLR Institute of Robotics. The robot can catch balls thrown at him. Photo Credit: ¬© National Geographic / Lizzie Abbott