Written by IEEE | February 24, 2016 | Updated: December 15, 2020
Happy Global Engineer Day, celebrated as part of Engineers week! Most of the day-to-day conveniences we enjoy are all thanks to engineers, including these four modern marvels:
- Highways: While a word association game with highways probably conjures up painful memories of your morning commute, if it were not for 20th century engineers, American roadways would be a true disaster. Thanks to engineers across the country, time spent in traffic is at least time spent driving through a neat network of roads.
- Zipper: You don’t think twice about zipping up your jeans or coat each morning, and you have an engineer to thank for that. In 1913, Gideon Sundback created the interlocking oval scoop design that seals and closes up the zipper.
- Seat Belt: The safety belt or seat belt was originally a lap belt and only used by race car drivers. Nils Bohlin created a 3-point safety belt for Volvo in 1959 and the design was shared with other car manufacturers free of charge for use in their vehicles. Since 1968, it became a legal requirement for all cars to have seat belts and millions of lives have been saved ever since.
- TV Remote Control: Whether you’re a binge-watcher or channel-flipper, take a look at your remote control and thank an engineer for its creation. In 1955, Eugene Polley created the first wireless remote control that worked like a flashlight. Just one year later in 1956, the technology was improved by using ultrasonic waves to control your TV. Infrared devices replaced ultrasonic remote controls in the early 1980s.