The November 2023 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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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

Photos: Left, Reg Speller/Getty Images; Right, Char-Broil
Infrared light was used to cook a turkey at a 1966 U.S. exhibition in London; now it’s in a product from Char-Broil, which claims to provide a deep-fried taste without adding a drop of oil.

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.

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