Yesterday's Failed Ideas Are Today's Great Inventions

A look back at when today's technologies were way ahead of their time

1 min read

Randi Klett is the Photo Director at IEEE Spectrum.

Photos: Left, Hulton Archive/Getty Images; Right, Last Shot Photos
In 1961, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. lit up tires with rear-mounted incandescent bulbs, which was rather impractical. Now we have tiny, long-lasting LEDs, and lights are appearing throughout today’s cars, both inside and out.

When a new idea comes along, people often don’t know what to make of it. That's why so many inventions begin as light diversions and reach the development stage only much later, when applications finally suggest themselves. In this view, though necessity is still the mother of invention, whimsy is just as assuredly its father.

The Conversation (0)