During the early 1900s, German engineers articulated a broad concept of ‘technology’. It was a term they had likely heard when visiting Edinburgh University. They were likely also inspired by the theory of conservation of energy, which was developed in response to a technological problem of increasing the efficiency of commercial steam engines.
Technology is a process that involves the application of scientific knowledge and tools to order and transform matter. It also includes the process of discovery and development. A new technology may have both positive and negative effects. It can help make business operations more efficient, but it can also harm humanity.
In general, most technology products require operation and maintenance. This means that they will need to be replaced as they become obsolete. Technology is an important part of education, too, as it helps prepare students for a technical working environment. In addition to teaching students the basic skills for their future careers, technology has also helped to improve teaching methods. For example, virtual reality has been used for gaming and training. The latest technology innovations can include advanced artificial intelligence, smart cities, and quantum computers.
Technology is a complex subject. The optimum design requires that all the components are considered. This includes not only the technical details, but also the broader context, including the personal values of those who will use the product. For example, the optimum design must consider not only the benefits and costs, but also the potential side effects.
It’s important to remember that every technological system involves humans. Even automatic systems require some level of human input. This includes monitoring the components, programming the controls, and taking over when something goes wrong. In addition to the human components, there are also technological aspects such as data collection and storage. The optimum design also takes into account all the constraints.
The technology-of-the-moment might include technologies such as virtual reality or artificial intelligence. A related example might be genetic engineering, which maps out the locations of the genes in human DNA. These are examples of nano-tech, or nanotechnology.
The best way to understand technology is to examine the big ideas it embodies. These are principles, processes, and theoretical concepts that provide insight into how the field developed. In particular, the Engineering by Design ™ program provides a glimpse into this.
The core concepts are a set of universal attributes, or ‘big ideas’, that provide a general overview of the field. Among the most important are the following:
The best way to find the best technology is to take a long, hard look at the optimum design. The optimum design strikes a reasonable compromise between all of the factors. It may take some time to find the best design, but it is worth the effort.
A technological solution is often the solution to a practical problem in industry or in everyday life. Technology can help to solve problems by creating new products and services that deliver on time and within budget.