Albert Einstein Inventions

By Martin Gilliard

Albert Einstein inventions included a contribution towards the invention of the gyro-compass and a brief sentence in a letter sent to Einstein from Hermann Anschutz-Kaempfe suggests that Einstein had proposed an artificial horizon for an aircraft or ship by using two gyroscopes rotating in opposite directions.

Other literature suggests that Einstein may have worked with a painter (Emil Orlik) and a dentist (Josef Grunberg) to create an apparatus for copying artistic drawings.

Albert Einstein

Physicist Or Inventor?

Einstein would search for technological solutions to problem domains beyond his core field of study which just goes to show how wide his knowledge of physics was. However that said he was more of a theoretical physicist than an actual inventor.

What is interesting however is not so much Albert Einstein inventions but the inventions that happened as a result of some of Einstein’s theories and discoveries.


For example in 1917 Einstein was able to demonstrate that when a photon comes into contact with an atom it is possible for a chain-reaction release of additional photons from local atoms. This observation forms the theoretical basis for the laser beam.

A green laser

(Photo Credit Flickr FastLizard4)

Lasers are used alongside fibre optic cables for incredibly fast data transmission. Without this discovery we could have had very limited data transfer rates!

Light Emitting Diode

Einstein can also take some responsibility for the light emitting diode or LED. His work showed that light travels in bundles called quanta which is the basis for an LED.

LED Christmas Lights (Photo Credit Flickr slworking2)

Accurate Global Positioning Satellites

Then there was Einstein’s special theory of relativity that highlights that time goes by more slowly for satellites because they’re moving at a much faster pace than ground based receivers and there was Einstein’s general theory of relativity which shows that a decrease in the gravitational pull at altitude speeds the flow of time for satellites. As a result of the aforementioned theories engineers adjust the internal clocks of Global Positioning satellites in order to keep them accurate.

Smoke Detector

One other modern day invention that we have Einstein to thank for is the smoke detector.

smoke detector

(Photo Credit Flickr R/DV/RS)

Many smoke detectors use a radioactive element named americium 241. This element decays according to Einstein’s equation E=mc². Radiation from the breakdown ionizes air molecules which creates a smoke sensitive electric field.

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