The jetpack, the flying car, free electricity for the world – all these ideas are way ahead of our time in the practical sense.
With time on our side, however, the idea of what's out of our technological reach is always changing. Circuits get smaller, engines get more efficient, bored scientists find new and interesting solutions to unusual problems.
Then that cutting-edge stuff becomes commonplace and gets used as a foundation to go a little deeper, rattle a few more technological sabers.
For example, we couldn't explain to you how a flush toilet works, but ancient Minoans were building them in 18th century BC.
Here's a collection of this and 7 other inventions that were simply ahead of their time.
Contact lenses – 1632
Solar cells – 1883
Vending machine – some time in the first century
Military mind control – right now!
'An Arizona State University researcher...is trying to develop a military helmet equipped with technology to regulate soldiers' brains. The technology is transcranial pulsed ultrasound, which delivers high-frequency sound waves to specific regions of the brain...For example, he or she might want to be more alert after being awake for many hours or relax when it's time to catch some shuteye. The soldier might even be able to relieve stress or become oblivious to pain, eliminating the need for morphine and other narcotics.'
Mercedes Biome – right now!
'Engineers...created the car as part of the Los Angeles Design Challenge, which called for a safe and comfortable compact car of the future that could accommodate four passengers, demonstrate good handling and weigh only 1,000 pounds (454 kilograms). The BIOME represents the Mercedes-Benz vision. It is made from an ultralight material called BioFibre so that the finished vehicle, though wider than a typical car, only weighs 876 pounds (397 kilograms).'
Difference engine – 1822
His ideas helped lay the foundation for the personal computers we have today.
Electric car – 1828
His car was instrumental in helping drum up interest in exploring the idea of electric car as a major means of transportation.
Flushing toilets – 18th century BC
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Originally published on Business Insider Australia