The spyglass was the first scientific instrument to amplify the human senses, to make previously invisible objects visible. Ever since Galileo pointed it up to the skies, scientists have been tinkering with it. I wish he could come back for one day and see the views provided by that improved spyglass known as the Hubble telescope. Galileo would be even more amazed.
It is amazing how great ideas come out of simpler ones. If you read this article, you can see the connection between spyglasses, an invention for an entirely different purpose, inspiring one of much greater significance. But the invention of the instrument is just the first step. What you do with the invention, seems to influence, how it propagates.