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How You Funded Some of the World's Greatest Technologies, Including Fruit Ninja

By Jordan Robertson - 2014-04-01T16:13:22Z

Photograph by Underwood Archives/Getty Images

Company Symbol % Change
Alphabet Inc GOOG:US 0.28
Apple Inc AAPL:US -0.19
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NLS (oNLine System)

There's a reason why Douglas Engelbart's presentation in 1968 became known as the "mother of all demos." The SRI researcher, appearing again on this list, introduced a suite of technologies called NLS that included a precursor to modern network sharing. 

NLS encompassed multiple technologies designed to make computers easier to use for collaboration, such as software that allowed sharing address books and programming code across multiple screens, and a system for tracking changes to documents with more than one author. 

That may not seem mind-blowing today, but back then, computers were thousands of miles apart and the interface consisted of punch cards and teletypes. Engelbart's DARPA-supported research would help lead to some of the most significant technological achievements of all time, from personal computers at home to high-powered workstations in the office.

Related: Google Experiments With Changing Users' Risky Behavior