Generally speaking, the story of innovation is a gradual progression from Banging Things With Rocks to Smartphones. However, the history of invention has been neither pure nor simple. There have been a number of false starts, dead ends and mysterious disappearances that could have seriously mixed things up but, for whatever reason, didn't. Not every good invention gets off the ground, whether due to money problems, or simply because it was way ahead of its time. If some of these had been successful, then our world could have looked very different. Just imagine the kind of futuristic utopia we could be living in. Indestructible materials, super-miniaturised technology and electrical power that rains down from the sky and powers your technology... for free. This could have been a reality, but unfortunately, inventors seem to have a nasty habit of dying mysterious deaths before their creations can get off the ground. Weird that.