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An enabling technology is an invention or innovation, that can be applied to drive radical change in the capabilities of a user or culture. Enabling technologies are characterized by rapid development of subsequent derivative technologies, often in diverse fields. See General purpose technology.
Equipment and/or methodology that, alone or in combination with associated technologies, provides the means to increase performance and capabilities of the user, product or process.
Historically significant enabling technologies
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Ancient and prehistorical eras
- The Printing Press revolutionized the way people conceive and describe the world they live in, ushering in the period of modernity.
- Steam engine: The stationary steam engine was a key component of the Industrial Revolution, allowing factories to locate where water power was unavailable
- Electric Motor
- Internal Combustion Engine
- Personal Computer
- Internet: The Internet has enabled new forms of social interaction, activities, and social associations.
- Cloud Computing
- Interseasonal thermal energy storage: enables recycling of waste heat and utilization of natural energy (e.g. summer's solar heat or winter's cold) for heating or cooling in the opposite season.
- 3D Printing: "Three-dimensional printing makes it as cheap to create single items as it is to produce thousands and thus undermines economies of scale. It may have as profound an impact on the world as the coming of the factory did."
- "What is enabling technology? definition and meaning". BusinessDictionary.com. 2016-12-05. Retrieved 2016-12-11.
- "Print me a Stradivarius – How a new manufacturing technology will change the world". Economist Technology. 2011-02-10. Retrieved 2012-01-31.