Ideas Explained in Fewer Than 280 Characters (Part 3 of 5)
Ideas Innovation

Ideas Explained in Fewer Than 280 Characters (Part 3 of 5)

Sahil Thakkar

Ideas can be tough to wrap your head around. You might look at some of the amazing inventions and fantastic discoveries that have been made throughout history and get the feeling “Well, I couldn’t have possibly thought of that!”. But the truth is, you could have. See, the ideas didn’t start as the fully-developed, fleshed out, all-encompassing manifestations you see today. They started out as mere seeds. Sergey Brin and Larry Page didn’t immediately dream up a complicated algorithm so sort and index the entire internet…they just wanted to find things online easier! Dara Khosrowshahi didn’t envision a gigantic netowrk of cars linked through an app and a massive interconnected system…he just wanted to get a ride when he wanted to ride!

So, to remind you of this, we’ve taken what seem to be some of the most complex and intimidating ideas in existence and distilled them back down to their original forms. Don’t worry, it’s not going to be a large essay for each idea – in fact we’ve shortened them down to less than the length of a tweet --  280 characters -- if you can believe it!

  1. Refrigerator


A refrigerant in gaseous form is constricted by a compressor, which raises its pressure and pushes it into the coils located on the outside of the refirgerator. The coils convert the refrigerant into liquid form and it flows into the coilds inside the fridge. There, it absorbs the heat inside the fridge and cools down the air. Then it evaporates into a gas and the cycle starts all over again.

It's commonly said that necessity is the mother of invention. We can see this proven with the story of the invention of the refrigerator. It was invented by US physicial John Gorrie in 1844 to produce ice which would be utilized to cool the air for yellow fever patients.

1. Hard Drives


Data is stored in binary form, which is essentially a string of 1’s and 0’s. A hard drive has a spinning platter with a thin magnetic coating. A reader or ‘head’ moves over the platter and writes 0’s and 1’s to it to store data, and also reads it in the same way by going over the 0’s and 1’s again.

The first hard drive was invented by IBM’s engineers in their California lab in 1953. It cost over $50,000, was the size of 2 large refrigerators, and held a whopping five megabytes of data! The amazing innovations that have been made since then such as the wafer-thin, nail-sized micro-SD cards would have looked like nothing but magic to people in the 50s! Imagine how far we’ve come!

2. Particle Accelerator


A magnetic field is generated to direct and focus a beam of particles within the particle accelerator. Then an electric field is used to increase the energy of this beam and speed it up. It the travels through the metal pipe in a total vacuum. Particles can be directed at a single fixed target or two beams of particles can be collided.

Physicist Ernest Lawrence created the first circular particle accelerator in 1970 at the University of California, Berkeley. In it, hydrogen ions were accelerated up to energies of 80,000 electronvolts within a chamber with a length of less than 5 inches.

Lawrence began working on an 11-inch accelerator in 1991. The machine’s purpose was to accelerateprotons to over 1 million electronvolts.  It was successful and M. Stanley Livingston, a collaborator of Lawrence, reported this to Lawrence by telegram, simply stating “Whoopee!”

3. AI (Artificial Intelligence)


Enormous amounts of data are gathered together to create a required dataset. Intelligent ‘algorithms’ (AKA working rulesets) are programmed into the computer to process, learn from, and identify patterns from them. This is how the computer can learn to play Chess or solve a Rubik’s cube, and now even drive a car on it’s own. But don’t worry, Skynet or Westworld isn’t on the horizon

John McCarthy is known as the founding father of Artificial Intelligence and he is also the one who coined the term in the first place. At the time, AI was seen as nothing more than a dream or a far-off sci-fi notion, but he was steadfast in his belief and brought it into reality and now it’s changing the world in enormous, unprecedented ways. There’s never been anything like AI.

4. Camera


Our eyes are able to see because they have photorecptors that take in light and turn it into signals and send it to our brain. Similarly, a camera lens takes in all the light rays it captures and focuses them onto a single point, which is the camera sensor, thus creating a clear image.

Johann Zahn, a German author and an expert on light, envisioned amazing inventions such as the camera obscura, magic lantern, telescopes, and lenses. He put forth a design for the first handheld reflex camera in 1685. The stunning part is that this type of camera actually took 150 years to actually create, meaning he was 150 years ahead of his time!


We hope you enjoyed this foray into the genesis of some of the most well-known ideas that ultimately changed our world. Being overwhelmed by the amount of thought and effort it seemingly takes to bring an idea to fruition can be one of the biggest barriers that stops people from venturing forth and working on new ideas. The aim of this article is to serve to break down this notion and allow for free, boundless thought and ideation. This is the third article in a new five-part series we have created to help people move forward with their ideas at full speed and never look back. Stay tuned for the final two parts!