How Technology Works Review
Discover how holograms, virtual reality, touchscreens, and more technical innovations operate in DK Canada’s How Technology Works.
I’ve often found myself on the cusp on falling asleep before the small part of my brain starts itching with the thought of: “What a moment, how exactly does this thing really work?” More often than not, I’m left with those lingering thoughts until I eventually break, and work my way down a rabbit hole on Wikipedia. Now, those questions are answered in an easy-to-read hardcover book with facts and illustrations that even a dummy like me can understand.
How Technology Works is the latest book in DK Canada’s series of “How...Works”, following other breakdowns including science, the human body, money, and business. How Technology Works is built by many contributors, including Jack Challoner, Hilary Lamb, Wendy Horobin, and more. Industry experts were also involved and contributed their knowledge on a wide range of different topics that fall within the technology space.
The book is broken up into nine separate divisions. A few of them are more niche than others. The Farm and Food Technology segment involved a slice dedicated to genetic modification, which caught my attention. Medical Technology, which by all means, is outside my general wheelhouse reeled me in when it covered brain implants and the benefits it could give to people who're hard of hearing.
Beyond those focused topics, most should be appealing to a general audience. You can find a break down of how modern-day television broadcasting relays signals to your tv or an in-depth look at the process of sound travelling from a microphone to a speaker, creating digital sound.
With VR being such a hot innovation, one I have kept a particular eye on, I was interested to see how DK Canada relayed the information to someone who may be out of the loop. The two-page spread highlights how eye tracking is made possible through infrared mirrors and lights. It goes on to explain head tracking, omnidirectional treadmills, and even VR gloves. While VR gloves have not become as widely used in the gaming space, it is still a fascinating aspect that could drive home that immersion once it takes off.
We’re still in the early days of the “smart home” era, or as How Technology Works refers to it—the digital home. More and more people investing in smart hubs like Google Home and Alexa. I was enthralled to see how smart devices like those work in tandem with smartphones and other apps. While I have been using these devices for the better part of two years, I never considered how many working parts went into a simple “Okay Google, what is the weather?” request. How Technology Works breaks down the step-by-step procedure in such an easy to understand way that even if you’ve been living under a rock and smart home tech is foreign to you, you should be able to grasp the surface level understanding of it.
Even if you think you know how a specific device works, you can still walk away with some new tidbit of information. Dishwashers, for example, I’m sure most of us know how dirty dishes come out clean after a cycle. What I didn’t know was how a soft water cycle affects your dishes on a molecular level. Each page details the core essentials to get you up to speed and have a foundation of understanding. Delving in a bit deeper, the writers and contributors pack in enough information that you’ll feel like you walk away having learned a great deal about the subject. More everday devices are catalogued in the same effect. Televisions, toilets, smartphones, and even email are all given the same treatment. If you’re looking to look into more focused topics, for instance, transportation, you can find a long list within.
Every topic, every page is paired with visuals and illustrations that help get the point across. These visuals break up the monotony that can come from paragraphs of information. While some of the page layouts give me flashbacks to grade 9 science, in reality, the use of images to supplement the text is quite effective.
How Technology Works doesn’t beat you over the head with information. It lays out the facts, the deeper details, and moves on. You won’t be able to read through the computers section and call yourself an expert, but you will likely pick up on some new factoids. Technology is rapidly growing and new innovations sprout up each year. It becomes hard to learn the ins and outs of each topic, so to have a helpful tool when you're looking for factual, top-level overviews, How Technology Works is a great addition to your bookshelf.
A copy of How Technology Works was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
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