What defines a “gadget” anyway?
* It has to have electronic and/or moving parts of some kind. Scissors count, but the knife does not.
* It has to be a self-contained apparatus that can be used on its own, not a subset of another device. The flashlight counts; the light bulb does not. The notebook counts, but the hard drive doesn’t.
* It has to be smaller than the proverbial bread box.
The top three:
- APPLE POWERBOOK 100, 1991: “…the PowerBook 100’s greatest and most lasting innovation was to move the keyboard toward the screen, leaving natural wrist rests up front, as well as providing an obvious place for a trackball.”
- ZENITH SPACE COMMAND TV REMOTE CONTROL, 1956: “His Space Command remote had four buttons that, when pressed, struck an aluminum rod located inside the unit. A receiver in the TV detected the sound, and depending on the pitch, changed channels or muted the volume. No batteries required.”
- SONY WALKMAN, 1979: “…this portable cassette tape player made the dream of a mobile music collection a generation-changing reality and put Sony in the technological catbird seat.”