Monday, December 17, 2007

Happy Anniversary Big T.

A small electronic device called the transistor, first invented on December 16, 1947, has completed 60 years of existence as of yesterday.

The world's first transistor was built by three physicists; namely, William Shockley, John Bardeen, and William Brattain at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey.

A transistor is a small electronic switch capable of amplifying electric current. The first transistor was rigged using a paper clip, Germanium, and Gold foil, and it boosted electrical current a hundredfold.

In 1952, a hearing aid became the first commercial product to use transistors, which was followed by a transistor radio costing $49.95 (equivalent to $380 today) developed by Texas Instruments (TI) in 1954.

In 1958, Jack Kilby from Texas Instruments successfully built the first integrated circuit combining a number of transistors on a Silicon chip.

Since then, the Silicon chip has seen a constant decrease in size, and a constant increase in potential usage in electronic products.

By the end of the 1960s, the microprocessor -- the computer on chip, was invented, and was brought to market by Intel in 1971. The mid-1970s saw the idea of a PC catching on among common people.

Today, the number of transistors on microprocessors has reached nearly a billion from the several thousands in the 1970s.

A single advanced microprocessor today is capable of holding 1.7 billion transistors, with each of the transistors as small as 200 billionth of a meter. These are the same chips that have permeated ever aspect of our lives today.

Sixty years completed by the transistor have also seen the birth of mobile phones, PCs, laptops, MP3 players, changing the way in which we live, work, and play.

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