Looking for outdated innovations isn’t really difficult. The past 50 years have been extremely innovative. Just take a look around and you’ll be blown over by devices which were invented during the last years.
My favourite one is the walkman. This device was invented in 1979 (my date of birth!) by Sony. 220 million units were sold. This device made it possible to run, walk and bike with music.
But actually, I find it more interesting to think about innovations which are currently in use, but of which you can expect to disappear during the next years and being replaced by improved versions.
#1 Solar panels
What about solar panels? The past years the Belgian state granted solar panels. These grants were halved in August 2012. The university of Hasselt is doing research to solar cells and found out how to put process them in cloths, glass and other materials. Most likely, in a few years solar panels will be really out-dated and remembered as “these years when people had really fun/ugly roofs”.
#2 Electric cars (with plugs)
I rest my case. Don’t you think this is a really a odd thing to see? A car plugged into the wall? Of course, nothing but glory to electric cars. In 2013 there will be a new feature exposed the Dutch highways. Two Dutch companies have designed a road with induction strips, which will charge electric cars while driving. Well, I think that is really impressive! No more paying fuel, no more pollution. The future is near!
#3 Smoking ban
I’m not a smoker, but I think the phenomenon of smoking is intriguing. Although people know it’s unhealthy, they still smoke or even start to smoke. A month ago 2 students, aged 55 and 60 (I teach in Adult education) mentioned the fact it was quite common during their childhood, people smoked at an age of 12. When I visited the USA in 2002, there was already a smoking ban in public places. In Belgium it took longer: it’s forbidden to smoke in public places since 2004 and in restaurants since 2007. The smoking ban is practically worldwide. Bhutan is the first completely smoke-free country. Most probably, other countries will follow. Maybe worldwide. We’ll see… But bottom of the line: I think innovation doesn’t always have to be technology.