What was a major technology development in the 1990’s? The MultiMedia Compact Disc, Internet Protocol (IP), Cell phones, and Video game consoles are just a few examples of the developments that took place during this decade. You can read about each one in more detail below.
In the 1990s, we saw more extreme examples of technology, from bigger homes to more expensive cars. Almost everyone spent longer hours at work to pay for all these things, and we were borrowing more money to do so. The new weapons against HIV are considered one of the biggest breakthroughs of the decade.
MultiMedia Compact Disc
CDs were an important technology development during the 1990s. They were a hybrid form of digital media. A CD player uses a laser to read the data on the disc. The CD’s diameter is 115 millimeters. When it was introduced, CD players were more portable than analog videotapes. CD players also have the same form factor as CDs. MultiMedia Compact Discs are not only great for storing music, movies, and other types of digital media.
When CDs first came out, they were single-sided discs that could only hold 4.7 gigabytes of data. Then, dual-layer recording came along and turned a single-sided disc into a dual-layered disc with 8.5 gigabytes of data! At the time, 8 gigabytes seemed like a lot of data to store on a single disc.
Philips and Sony came up with an idea to create an audio CD format. Their collaboration led to the Red Book Standard, officially called Compact Disc Digital Audio Standard. This standard defines the physical characteristics of audio CDs and CD players. Similarly, the Orange Book and Green Book standard define the formats for CD-ROM and CD-I. Both use laser technology and are compatible with older CD players.
CDs also support graphical information. However, the graphical data must be read by an exclusive CD cum graphics player. For example, lyrics are stored in a graphical format on a CD and displayed when a song is played. In 1999, Sony and Philips developed a higher-fidelity audio format. Then, they made hybrid CDs that included a super audio and standard audio format.
Internet Protocol (IP)
IP was developed to create an Internet network, which was later a success. The initial Internet networks served 188 host computers. In the years that followed, IP networks would gain popularity and continue to grow in size. The first major breakthrough came in 1984 when the domain-name service was introduced, which allowed organizations and individuals to organize and classify their online sites. Today, this system is widely used for internet websites. The original Internet protocol, TCP, split into IP v1 and IP v2, and is still used on the Internet today.
In 1991, the Internet was transformed into a worldwide network, with researchers and scientists sending data across the Internet. By 1991, the World Wide Web was introduced to the public, and the first audio and video was distributed. By the early 1990s, the term “surfing the Internet” was coined. In addition to IP, several other major developments in the 1990s brought the World Wide Web into commercial use.
In addition to the first commercial Internet service provider, Telenet, the technology was also gaining wide use. Telenet, a commercial version of the ARPANET, is founded. Vinton Cerf and Bob Kahn, known as the “Fathers of the Internet,” publish A Protocol for Packet Network Interconnection (TCP). The World Wide Web is born, with the Queen sending the first email to the British Royal House.
In 1984, CERN began to use TCP/IP to connect its major computer systems. The CERN TCP/IP Coordinator Ben Segal had met Len Bosack, the CEO of Cisco, and subsequently helped the organization purchase its first TCP/IP routers. But there was a lot of resistance to TCP/IP in Europe, and the CERN TCP/IP intranets remained disconnected until 1989.
During the early 1990s, cell phones were not widely used by the public. They were used mostly by businessmen and salespeople. A breakthrough in design was brought about by Kreg Jones, an industrial designer at The Art Institute of Philadelphia. Several companies developed cell phones that had more advanced features than the clunky, bulky models. A Motorola 2900 bag phone, for instance, was smaller, cooler and had longer talk time.
Second Generation cellular phone technology swept the world in the 1990s. They were faster than their analog predecessors and were quieter. New designs for the phones made them cheaper and more energy efficient. By the end of the decade, 2G cell phones became an antique, no longer being sold. However, they were an important technology development of the decade. Cell phones continued to evolve, as the popularity of the internet and prepaid mobile phones increased.
The cell phone revolution started in the early 1990s. As cell phones became affordable for the average person, they transformed the way we communicate with each other. These devices initially had simple texting capabilities, but later gained more functionality, such as customizable ringtones and digital cameras. Apple launched the iPhone, which ushered in the smartphone revolution, making the cell phone a camera, a computer, and a communication device. Today, smart phones feature apps for every activity, from email to text messaging.
The ’90s saw the first cell phone phones, but the designs changed dramatically in the following decade. Today’s cell phones sport larger screens and fewer buttons, making them the ultimate mobile media device. They are becoming high-definition devices. The keyboard has disappeared in favor of a touch screen keyboard, as seen in the Apple iPhone and the Droid models. The trend continues today.
Video game Consoles
Home video game consoles began appearing around the same time as the first home computers did. The PC Engine was an arcade system with a futuristic white chassis and cool mini-cartridges. It was developed by Hudson Soft and electronics giant NEC and had twin 16-bit graphics chips, bringing a whole new aesthetic to arcade games. In the US, it was known as the PC Engine.
The NES Family Computer, released in 1983, was a major innovation for the video game industry. It featured groundbreaking action-adventure and platform games, and helped revitalize the industry in the US after its crash in the 1980s. Atari also released an arcade version, the Atari 5200, and Mattel produced Intellivision II and ColecoVision. Although these consoles were not as popular, Sega and Nintendo were the top two players at that time.
While video game consoles were one of the most significant technology developments of the decade, the technology wasn’t as advanced as many people thought. The first console was a small white box with 40 diodes and transistors. It connected to a television, and two blocky controllers were attached to it. The first games were variations of Pong. The consoles had no sound, but allowed players to interact with graphics on a television screen.
The advent of the Internet triggered a series of improvements in video game technology. In the early 1990s, the Dreamcast was the first console to offer internet functionality, and this helped the consoles catch up with the growing popularity of the Internet. By the mid-2000s, Microsoft introduced the Xbox, which continued to improve on the Dreamcast’s internet-centric approach. The online functionality of the Dreamcast has become a core component of the gaming industry.
Human Genome Project
The Human Genome Project (HGP) was a research effort to map the nucleotides in the haploidreference human genome, a chromosome that is unique to each individual. In order to map the human genome, researchers sequenced the DNA of only a small number of individuals and assembled the nucleotide sequences for each chromosome to create a mosaic of DNA. The utility of this project stems from the fact that most of the human genome is identical across individuals.
Before the human genome was sequenced, scientists used model organisms for the project. Model organisms used in the HGP included Arabidopsis thaliana, the flowering plant, and the fruit fly. BACs were easier to produce than YACs, but the sequencing process was still extremely difficult. BACs are also more stable than YACs, so this process was more challenging.
Scientists developed three tools that allow them to pinpoint gene locations. The first tool is a genetic map, which consists of thousands of landmarks evenly spaced along the chromosomes. These landmarks allow researchers to narrow the gene’s location to a specific chromosome region. A second tool, called a physical map, is a set of overlapping DNA. These maps may span an entire chromosome. Both tools are cloned and frozen to be used for further research.
In October of 1990, the first step in the Human Genome Project was taken. Scientists from around the world joined the project and began work on mapping the human genome. Ultimately, a quarter of the human genome was spelled out by 1999. This groundbreaking project was made possible thanks to advances in computer technology. If the Human Genome Project is successful, we can expect significant advances in genetic research in the next few decades.