Accidental Inventions and my views

Luck is an important component of all our lives. A combination of hard work and luck has never failed in this world. Many famous inventors and scientists have had this luck in the past. In this post, I am going to highlight a few accidental inventions which have become very essential components of the modern-day life.

There have been a few inventions in which the inventor exactly knew what he/she was doing. Even many famous inventions like telephone and discoveries like X-rays happened by accident.These are famously called as serendipitous inventions and discoveries. 

The word serendipity is derived from a fairy tale called the Three Princes of Serendip, in which the heroes ‘were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of’. The word ‘inadvertent’ also means the same, just in case you are searching the meaning of the word like I did  😉

So, without further ado, straight into the inventions: 

1) Microwave Oven

Percy Spencer, an engineer at Raytheon, a major US defense contractor,  was known as an electronics genius. He had also had a stint in the US navy during WWI. In 1945, Spencer was fiddling with a microwave-emitting magnetron — used in the guts of radar arrays — when he felt a strange sensation in his pants. A sizzling, even. Spencer paused and found that a chocolate bar in his pocket had started to melt. Figuring that the microwave radiation of the magnetron was the reason for this,  Spencer immediately set out to realize the culinary potential at work. The end result was the microwave oven. All moms in the world have to thank this guy for making their cooking a lot easier. 


2) Velcro

Dear PETA workers and Zynga lovers, this one’s for you. A dog invented velcro (just kidding, but it played a part). Swiss engineer George de Mestral was out for a hunting trip with his pooch, and noticed the annoying tendency of seeds having tiny hooks(called burrs) to stick to its fur (and his socks). Later, looking under a microscope, Mestral observed the tiny “hooks” that stuck burrs to fabrics and furs. Mestral experimented for years with a variety of textiles before arriving at the newly invented nylon, which is the velcro we know today.

                                  Image result for velcro


3) X-Ray

German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen was experimenting with cathode rays. A piece of cardboard had lighted up across the room,even though there was a screen in place between the cathode emitter and cardboard. Hence, it proved that this radiation could penetrate through solid objects. Roentgen immediately realized that images of skeleton could be produced and his wife’s hand is the first X-ray image obtained.

It was called as X-ray as x is the name given to any unknown quantity/variable. 



4) Telephone

Alexander Graham Bell was famous for working for various deaf schools and was a great activist working for the rights of these differently-abled people. His invention of the telephone is the story of a man who started working for something but the product he created was something else. Alexander Graham Bell was trying to develop an advanced telegraph that could send multiple messages over multiple lines, according to Robert Friedel, a history professor at the University of Maryland. In fact, Bell described his device as a “speaking telegraph”. Everybody know what happened afterwards and the famous “Watson! Come here!” dialogue. We don’t need a Sherlock for that  😉

                                     Image result for first telephone


5) Pacemaker

John Hopps, an electrical engineer was conducting a research on hypothermia, a condition resulting in unusually low body temperature. He was trying to use radio frequency heating to restore body temperature, when he found that when the heart stopped beating due to cooling, it could be started again by artificial stimulation. This led to the invention of the pacemaker. Since then, it has taken the medical field by storm and has been a key factor for a healthy heart,especially for senior citizens. My “hearty” tribute to you, Mr.Hopps!!

Image result for pacemaker cartoon


There are so many more in this list. Even things like CocaCola and potato chips come under this category. So, in many people’s lives, accidents and luck have been a crucial factor for something revolutionary to happen in their research work and their life as well. So, my dear fellows, please don’t get depressed when something you don’t desire happens in your life. Await the accident that will occur to change your life the way you like. 

Written by Anirudh Ramesh, First Year, Electronics and Communication Engineering