The Hardware Making Your Technology Tick

There's no question progress in technology and electronic parts has changed the way we live and what the big picture of our future includes. Using cell phones to communicate and take pictures, implanting artificial hearts to save lives, and living in houses that remember what our preference for shower temperature are all thanks to technological advances. New technology is often sleek and modern in design, ergonomically designed, and usually on the expensive side. But what really is technology? When you take off the shiny plastic coating, what are the basic electrical components that make these toys tick? Resistors, capacitors and diodes all help to create, move and store electricity so a tiny light emitting diode (LED) can tell you if your electronic is on or off. Smash open your computer or printer "Office Space"-style and discover a network of microchips, circuit boards and transistors that serve as the brain, organs and blood vessels of technological devices.

How do smaller-than-a-penny parts communicate with each other to make state-of-the-art electronics? How can the same components that make 50-year-old transistor radios work also power tools used in life-saving surgeries? And how hard is it to build a robot? Grab some pliers and put your thinking cap on—this playlist breaks down everything beyond the gadgets we know and love.

Written by Curiosity Staff July 7, 2014

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