I guess you can say that if the integrated circuit (IC) was never invented, just about everything digital that we see and make use of today would not be in existence. Of course, the far reaching consequences of that would not be limited to just GPS navigation devices, a smartphone with its SoC, the notebook and desktop, but other appliances around the house such as the living room TV, microwave oven, and heck, even your vehicle, would be gimped in many ways. Having said that, Christie’s, the famous auction house that has seen its fair share of valuables go under the hammer over the years, will put up for auction an early prototype of the integrated circuit that was constructed by a certain Jack Kilby all the way back in 1958 as he was still an employee of Texas Instruments back then.
Kilby, alongside Robert Noyce, created history when they demonstrated a functioning IC in that year which merged different electronic functions on a solitary slab. While in this day and age, most of that happens to be silicon, but if one were to rewind the clock to 1958, germanium was used by Kilby as the material of choice. Of course, if you are interested in owning a piece of computing history, it would burn up to a $2 million hole in your pockets.
To celebrate Kilby’s achievement, he and his team picked up a Nobel Prize at the turn of this century in 2000. Do you think that it will be a billionaire from the Silicon Valley who would pick up this piece of computing history?