The evolution of the gizmo (and how we keep up).

Remember when you used to go out when you were little with your Tamagotchi, and you were all the rage? As a kid during that time, all that mattered to you was to go out, have fun and play it cool – because obviously, all the cool kids had a Tamagotchi.

90's Tamagotchi


Now, if you go outside with a Tamagotchi, no one will care – or in the least, they will call you lame. Today, all the cool kids have the latest smartphones, a nice-looking tablet and the fanciest, most expensive gadgets that their parents can buy.

Now, they take care of the “Tamagotchi” by using a smartphone app.

But first what is a Gizmo again?

No, it’s not a Gremlin (although it’s still the “little one” of the group). Basically, a “gizmo” is a cute word for a small “gadget.”

We call a gadget a gizmo because we either forgot its name, don’t know it, or we can’t be bothered to spell it out. Swedish army knives and smart watches are also part of this category.

So why do we actually call them gizmos instead of regular gadgets? Well, here’s the thing: a computer or some other big fancy device that we actually need is also a gadget.

Therefore, we call “gizmos” only the things that we don’t know the right name for it. Or just buy for the heck of it, such as toys or a wearable.

We might not necessarily need all these gizmos – but they sure are convenient. For example, we don’t necessarily need headphones in our daily lives – but it sure feels nice to feel connected, listen to some music during a break or even as you are working (some people find this a helper to their focus).

Gizmos are here to make our lives just a little bit easier.

 

Where It All Started

Most people would believe that only high-tech devices such as computers, phones or MP3 players would be considered “gizmos,” but think about it this way: prehistoric people had to live too, didn’t they?

While they wouldn’t feel the need to post every berry or wild game on Instagram, they still needed something to accompany their daily tasks.

As we already told you in our first blog, ‘The history of Gizmos and Gadgets’. One of the first gizmos created was the bow – and boy, what an invention that was.

Before, all they had to go with was sticks and stones – but they didn’t manage to break any bones. At that point, if you threw them into The Hunger Games, they would die before the first cannon fired.

However, once the bow was created, it was so handy that they could have raised an altar to it. It was a great help to get food and protect their people from those who wanted to prey on them.

The wheel was also one of the most valuable gizmos that marked our beginnings – although not everyone seems to appreciate its importance. Let’s go back to the prehistoric people: they created the bow, and they began so good at shooting that they could now handle big game such as antelopes or wildebeest.

However, after they killed it, they realized there was one problem: they couldn’t move it.

Enter the wheel! Obviously, our ancestors didn’t have our fancy rubber to create tires, so they had to make do with what they had: stone.

First gizmo ever ' The wheel'


A big circular thing sculpted in rock that looked more or less like a doughnut, and which you would attach to other doughnut-looking things by means of a stick.

As funny as that may seem to you right now, if it weren’t for that stone wheel, we wouldn’t have had the luxury of our fancy cars, planes or any wheel-based thing today. It may be underestimated at this point, but the wheel is one of the most valuable gizmos of all time.

Gizmos through the “Modern” Past

According to paintings on caves, gizmos were present in our lives ever since prehistoric times. However, the first “modern” gizmo was only recorded in the 1850s. Someone created a technical item and needed a placeholder name – which is why they called it a gadget.

Ever since then, the name was forgotten, and the words “gizmos” or “gadgets” were used to replace these devices (do you see a pattern now?)

At the beginning of the 20th century, the word “gadgets” was used for any objects that were old enough to not pay attention to them. They were items that already accomplished their purpose and were now some “old things.”

By the middle of the 20th century, on the other hand, gadgets seemed to get another meaning: they received connotations on their compactness and mobility. A gadget was a helpful device that you could easily reach and use right away without going through any fancy instructions.


Here are some gadgets of the past that people found very useful:

  • The pocket watch 

People used to rely on sundials to tell the time, and they could only see it from a particular place. Now imagine the triumph when they realized they could take “time” with them.

No one knew exactly what to call it back then – and it wasn’t as if their way of living depended on it. Therefore, it was simply a very useful gadget.

At first, the pocket watch was a bit larger, and it could literally fit in an entire pocket. Now, a pocket watch is small enough to go unnoticed; however, they aren’t used as often as they were in the past.

Now we depend on our wristwatches and cell phones to tell us the time.

  • The compass

Do you have any ideas how many sailors would get lost at sea? Well, leave it to the Asians to fix that problem.

Somewhere in the 19th century, someone discovered that if you magnetize a sliver of rock or metal, it’ll start pointing towards a magnetic pole.

Old compass and a map


As a result, people could get around even when they didn’t have any indicators of their location.

  • The cellular phone

When the first “brick” phone came into the business, it was nothing like today’s cell phones.

Sure, they were wireless, and you COULD carry them around – but it would have been impossible to fit them into your pocket. It was only later that they learned how to shrink the devices so that they could fit.

Enters Nokia 3310; that cell phone was and remains a legend.


People loved it for its durable battery, its strong signal – and stories say that if you dropped it on the floor, you would need a new floor.

This paved the road for the creation of other cell phones – however, now they are no longer shrinking. They keep growing!

Most cell phones today will either be cell phones you will no longer have to hold or “TVs” you’ll be taking with you on a daily basis. A mobile phone is pretty much a computer nowadays.

The Advantages of Gizmos

We talked about how these gizmos evolved throughout time, which is why it would be a good idea to point out some advantages. Regardless if you’re a caveman or a tech-savvy modern person, you’ll definitely agree with us on these:

  • You become the dependable person: Say that you have a gizmo that no one else has… for instance, the first bow. Obviously, people would start relying on you to bring meat to the table. Same goes for modern tech; if you are one of those people that are always attached to their gadgets, they’ll know you are the walking Google of their group.
  • It makes you more productive: Take for example the wheel; if we didn’t have that, we still wouldn’t be able to get from point A to point B without wasting a good couple of hours. Or the portable battery charger, like the Waka Waka for instance. If it weren’t for those, our phones would die, and we wouldn’t be able to pick up our business calls. This way, you can always have something to squeeze some extra work in.
  • It keeps you connected: The reason why we love most gizmos nowadays is that almost all of them are connected to the Internet – even something as simple a wristwatch is connected to the World Wide Web nowadays. Therefore, if you happen to have a loved one overseas, a gizmo with an Internet connection will be God-sent.
  • They make great gifts: If you need to buy someone a gift and have no idea what to go for, you can always rely on some gizmos. Who wouldn’t love getting a nice set of headphones or some fancy VR glasses for their birthday? You can never go wrong with gizmos, regardless of who you want to offer these gifts to.

As you can see, gizmos are pretty awesome at making our lives easier, no matter if we’re trying to stay connected – or to connect with someone else.

Why We Are Negatively Affected 

Here’s the thing: while these gizmos are a great thing to have around, they also affect us negatively if we aren’t careful enough. Here is what happens if we become “attached to the hip” to our gadgets:

    • We become dependent: In the past, kids would have loved to visit their grandparents, even if they lived in the middle of nowhere, where they could never get any signal or power. Today, they would see that as a form of punishment. Even as an adult, if someone takes your phone away from you for a day, you would feel as if a part of you has been ripped from your body.

 

Phone addiction


  • It gets us to procrastinate: Just as gizmos make us more productive, they also turn us into lazy bums. That “5-minute break to check your Facebook” will become a 2-hour break with you watching YouTube videos on how to talk to a giraffe if you aren’t careful.
  • It keeps you connected: We know, we listed this as an advantage – but it can also be a disadvantage. Being constantly connected means that you won’t have a single moment of privacy. Plus, you can be disturbed for the dumbest reasons, and you’ll be just a tap away from stalking your ex on Instagram.

As you can see, gizmos represent a two-edged knife. If you aren’t careful enough, you risk becoming a slave to your own devices.

How We Keep Up

The answer is simple: we adapt. In a way, you can say that our bodies mutate as a form of evolution. Here’s how our bodies keep up with the evolution of these gizmos:

  • Fast fingers: Try to compare a teen that just entered high school with someone over theirs 50s. The elder person would have written a sentence in a minute while the teen would have already written 100 words. Our dexterity is getting better, and our fingers literally know by instinct where each letter is situated.
  • Tolerance to screens: Back in the day, people would be so fatigued at the end of the day after sitting for 4 hours in front of a display that they wouldn’t even be able to function after that. Nowadays, after 8 hours, people experience little eye strain. Why? Obviously, because our bodies adapted.
  • Typing muscle: In the past, every human body was designed for hard labor such as chopping trees or throwing spears. Today, our muscles have been wired for typing. We got the “super thumb” of texts, and we became the masters of thumb typing.
Thumb Typing


So how do our bodies keep up? As you can see, we adapt. Since the process of using gizmos keeps repeating itself, our bodies mutate in order to accept the new devices.

Final Thoughts

Gizmos keep developing – and as a result, we keep evolving as well. The younger we are when we are exposed to all these gadgets, the easier it will be for us to adapt. Yesterday’s bow is tomorrow’s iPhone 8. Or yesterday’s wild game viewing will be tomorrow’s virtual reality.

In a way, we create only gadgets that we know we could learn to use – that’s what actually allows us to evolve along with these gizmos.