Military Tech That Shaped Our World

When people think of the military, often the focus heads straight to war. And, while that can be a touchy subject, depending on what side of the fence you are on - there is no denying that the military technology has changed our lives. It is nice to pay homage to those who have had a hand in creating some of the most powerful tools (tech wise) that we use in modern times. It might even interest you know just how many WW2 veterans are still alive?

Photo by Jiyeon Park on Unsplash


Remember back to those days where your parents or caregivers where driving for miles only to realize the passenger had the map upside down. The old A to Z saw a lot, but all hail GPS and its ability to get yours there in the shortest amount of time.

The system was initially perfected to keep soldiers safe and help them identify targets, tracking planes trajectories too. Many of us use it to use Google Family Link or Find Friends on iPhones.

Most people couldn’t get by without it. The civilian application is wonderful.


Or Microwave Ovens as they are known. The radar tech that was developed in World War II was later manipulated for different uses. Surprisingly one of these uses was the production of technology that was able to create small scale electromagnetic waves. That might give you a great indicator as to why they were labeled as “microwaves” in the first place.

The process cooks food rapidly by passing microwave radiation through it. The molecules vibrate quickly and create heat. In 1946 the first microwaves, called Radarange, were released. But the technology was too expensive for your average consumer. 23 years later, they became a popular fixture in kitchens all over the world. In fact, you will find them in commercial kitchens just as often as in residential.


Scientists during WWII were asked to create a solution that could create clear plastic gun sights. However, as is often the case, they created something somewhat different. They instead created a substance that would stick to anything, and stick almost anything to almost anything else. And voila - superglue was born.

The military rejected it, but it became a commercial success during 1958. A famous demonstration was the car, hanging from a crane - simply to show off its very useful capabilities. And let’s face it, who doesn’t have a tube in their kitchen drawer or toolbox. A very popular mistake.


A Royal Army Medical captain, Alexander Fleming, was working on something that would help save the soldiers that were dying of infected wounds. The antiseptics that they were using at the time seemed to do more harm than good. Fleming discovered a type of mold that released a substance that inhibited bacterial growth. It was eventually called Penicillin and is now a mass produced product that pretty much everyone has taken at some point. You will be happy to know that it also successfully treated injured soldiers too.

Digital Camera

Would you believe that your much lover DSLR is actually a descendant of a spy satellite? Well, they were used to capture high-resolution aerial images of the enemies installations. It progressed and during the Cold War, and then the 1970s the first ‘self-contained’ digital camera was born. The technology has obviously taken many years to get to the point it is now, and camera tech makes significant strides every year - which is all the more fun for the regular consumer.

The Internet

And where would we be without it? Who knows. In any case, the internet started its early years called ARPANET or Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. This fantastic piece of technology was then combined with IP/TCP, and now we have the internet that we all enjoy so much today. It should always be noted that it was the Cold War that gave the need for ARPANET in the first place.


Well, you can't have one without the other. Or at least not for very many years. The chances are if you put a teenager or younger in a room with a computer as it once was, and as it is now, they might not make the connection. They would be used with punch cards, and mechanical looms solved problems. Code cracking and communications. During WWII, they got faster, and that is when they really started to show amazing capabilities. Colossus was the invention that helped people decipher messages sent by Nazi encryption machines.

Fast forward to now, and we are all carrying around tiny computers in the form of a smartphone. And much like the camera, they are continuously improved and shrunk down.

The Jeep

The shape is instantly recognizable - you wouldn’t mistake a Jeep for any other car on the market. It was designed with four-wheel drive in mind, and the intention that it could be used in any area of combat. They have become popular in the years following because of their unique shape and style.


This one might sound a little far fetched, but watches were used in the military as a way to synchronize maneuvers on the battlefield without the need for walkie talkies, or other interceptable signals. The importance of this synchronization was noted throughout the entire military and then the world. Now they are a fashion accessory for some, a time device for others and a way to display wealth for many.

The military has shaped our world in more ways than many people know. The technology we are lucky enough to have in our homes that enable us to take that long road trip and not get lost and even to send an email while we travel is all thanks to the military. Each of the items has contributed to how the 20th and 21st century have been able to do business, make money, communicate, and in our everyday lives. Even how we cook in the modern world wasn’t shaped in the way you might’ve previously thought.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

No comments