Ten Tech Greats Who Recently Passed Away

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With the recent death of Hiroshi Yamauchi, the world has lost a legend who gave us Mario, Donkey Kong and Zelda. Today’s article takes a look at ten recently passed away people who had something wonderful to give to this world.

Hiroshi Yamauchi

Known for: Nintendo, Mario

He was a university dropout too, and he no doubt conquered the world; the gaming world. There is perhaps no character more recognizable in the (gaming) world than Mario. He created it, he created Zelda too. He created Donkey Kong and he was largely responsible for the original Wii.

He became president of Nintendo in 1949 and transformed this small playing-cards company into a billion-dollar video games company. In 2002, he stepped down as the president and remained with the board of directors.

Although Nintendo is still big, it suffered after his departure in 2005, when he left the company entirely. He gave us memories and perhaps there won’t be someone like him again. He died on September 19, 2013, at an age of 85.

Steve Jobs

Known for: Apple, iPhone. iPad

He was an all-rounder and considered the most charismatic person in the world of technology. An inventor, a marketer, father of digital revolution, CEO and chairman of Apple Inc., he also headed Pixar animation as the chief executive which was later acquired by Disney. He created the graphical user interface for Macintosh and played a role in introducing LaserWriter, the first widely available laser printers to the market.

There came a time in 1985 when the co-founder of Apple Inc. left Apple and founded NeXt. Later when Apple failed to deliver its OS, Jobs returned as an advisor and interim CEO and brought Apple from bankruptcy to profitability. He oversaw the production of iPhone, iTunes, iPad, iPhone and many other successful products and made Apple the world’s most valuable publicly traded company in 2011. Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2003 which led to his resignation as the CEO in August 2011 and he died of respiratory arrest on October 5 that year leaving behind a world that he changed so much.

Dennis Ritchie

Known for: C Language, UNIX

Dying just days after Steve Jobs, Dennis Ritchie didn’t get the attention he deserved. Perhaps, that’s because he was the man who worked behind the scenes.

He is said to be the man on whose shoulder Steve Jobs stood on. He was the father of C language, the language that runs the computer world. He also created UNIX using C, UNIX is the core of today’s iOS and OS X, both of which make Apple go round.

The data structures that Richie built into C, gave rise to the object-oriented paradigm used by modern languages such as C++ and Java.

Ritchie essentially made tools that have shaped the modern era of technology that we live in today. He died on October 12, 2011. He lived to be 70.

Doug Engelbart

Known for: Computer Mouse

Yup, that mouse was also an invention. Doug Engelbart was the man who envisioned it and invented it in 1963 in his research lab at Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International). His prototype was a device with perpendicular wheels mounted in a carved out wooden block, with a button on top.

Engelbart even thought about having up to 10 buttons on the mouse.

He also worked on emails, word processing and video teleconferences. His own laboratory was a great force behind ARPANet, the network that led to the internet as we know it today. He passed away on July 2, 2013.

Eiji Toyoda

Known for: Toyota, Corolla Series

The guy who gave us the Corolla and the Toyota company itself. In fact his cousin Kiichiro established an automobile plant at the Toyoda Automatic Loom Works in the city of Nagoya in central Japan and when Eiji was done with his mechanical engineering, he joined the company. They both then established a new factory about 32 km east of Nagoya (on a site known today as Toyota City) and Eiji was given the task of overseeing its construction.

What really turned their fortunes was Eiji’s visit to Ford’s River Rouge Plant at Dearborn, Michigan the 1950s. After which he applied similar production techniques to his plants. Today, Toyota is the third largest automobile manufacturer in the world.

In the beginning Toyota motors had produced just 2,500 cars in the first 13 years and after Toyoda became the president of the company from 1967-1981 and later the chairman of the company, the automobile manufacturer produced its 200-millionth unit just last year. Toyota produced 9.9 million cars in 2012 alone. Toyota is also at the forefront of hybrid car technology driving the world steadily into the future.

He died from heart failure on 17 September, 2013.