The Sojourner rover is shown on the surface of Mars just after leaving the Mars Pathfinder Saturday, July 5, 1997 in this image from NASA NASA/File
Wilbur Wright watches his brother, Orville, take to the air at Kitty Hawk, N.C. on Dec. 17, 1903. AP/File
Office designers for iCommunicate, an Internet firm in Alexandria, Va., used variations in lighting to separate programmers' personal workspaces and to create optimal conditions for computer use. Andy Nelson / The Christian Science Monitor.
Inventor Dean Kamen demonstrates his Segway Human Transporter, a one-person, battery-powered scooter, Monday, Dec. 3, 2001, in New York. The device, which travels at a top speed of about 17 miles per hour, uses gyroscopes to keep it upright and discern where the rider wants to go. Louis Lanzano/AP/File
Canned air reveals the path of a green fiber laser beam in production at IPG Photonics headquarters in Oxford, MA, Jan. 2010. IPG Photonics has pioneered the development of fiber lasers used by manufacturers to drill, cut and weld metal parts. They have become the dominant player in the two billion dollar a year laser market industry.
Mary Knox Merrill / The Christian Science Monitor
The Garmin Approach G5 golf GPS device is displayed on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011, in Atlanta. The Approach G5 comes with thousands of preloaded golf course maps and uses its internal GPS to give golfers their position and yardage in relation to various course features. Ron Harris/AP/File
Two Taiwanese models demonstrate their LED light clothing during a photonics festival in Taipei June 2007. Some 655 booths including the light emitting diode (LED) lighting, solar power and panel makers are here to take part in this four-day annual exhibition. Sam YEH/Newscom/File
Oreo Separator Machine: Scientist David Neevel doesn't much care for the creme inside Oreo cookies. So he did what any man with too much time on his hands would do: He invented a revolutionary technology.
Once every several generations, an invention comes along that fundamentally alters the course of human civilization. For those living in the 15th century, it was Gutenberg's printing press, which enabled a rapid dissemination of knowledge that ushered in the Protestant Reformation, the Age of Enlightenment, and the Scientific Revolution. In the 18th century, it was the steam engine, which set in motion the Industrial Revolution and its attendant social upheavals.