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IV’s Best Nine of 2016: Nine Pictures Worth 9,000 Words

The first photograph made in a camera was taken in the 1820s. Because of the early photographic process, the image is difficult to view. In fact, at first glance, it can be hard to see the image at all. However, if viewed from a specific angle and in specific lighting, the image’s unique story comes to life. Almost 200 years later, this notion that an image has the power to capture a pivotal moment in time if taken and viewed in the right circumstances still holds true. Some images need context. Others require the photographer to zoom in, zoom out, or even change the angle of the camera, to tell the full story.

IV’s Best Nine of 2016: Nine Pictures Worth 9,000 Words

As 2016 comes to a close, we’re depicting the year of ideas, inspiration and invention through nine of our favorite pictures that were taken at just the right moment in time. Because while the world of invention propels us forward quickly, it’s important to remember the milestones of progress that helped us get where we are today.

This year, IV’s Global Good won the USPTO Patents for Humanity Award for harnessing the power of invention to solve humanity’s biggest challenges. Among the team’s technology that is changing lives is the Arktek™ – a device that can store a month’s supply of vaccines in 100-degree heat without electricity. This photograph was captured last summer, when a team from Global Good traveled to Ethiopia’s Danakil Desert to observe how the Arktek is helping the community. Explore the impact the Arktek is making across Nigeria, Ethiopia, Senegal, India, Nepal and Fiji here

Photo credit: Peter Prato

IV founder and CEO Nathan Myhrvold shared his thoughts on the innovation landscape and emerging technologies with many different audiences this year. He was the keynote speaker at the annual Bloomberg Technology Conference where he spoke about IV’s unique approach to inventing and his top tips on what it takes to be a good inventor. Nathan also took part in a “fireside chat” at this year’s GeekWire Summit where he covered metamaterials, investing in invention and creating technology to transform lives. Finally, Nathan spoke at the Science|Business Horizon2020 conference in Brussels about the importance of risk-taking in innovation.

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Top 16 Invention Stories That Had You Talking in 2016

Transformative invention requires an element of idealism – calling on the dreamers, visionaries and optimists who imagine a better world. But truly life-changing invention demands more than just an imagination for a brighter future. There needs to be an element of pragmatism in invention – a trailblazer who creates an idea that bridges the gap between a vision for the distant future, and reality in the here and now. 

Top 16 Invention Stories That Had You Talking in 2016

It is in this space – where idealism meets ideas – that the magic of invention is brought to life. And as we look back on the 2016 inventions created around the world, and within our own walls at IV, we find inventors who pictured a better world and found a solution to make it happen. So before ringing in the New Year, join us as we share our favorite stories of what was achieved this year through the magic of invention.

Intellectual Ventures Invents for Impact

IV’s flow-based diagnostic malaria test was profiled in Scientific American. Want more on how IV is innovating to fight malaria? Senior vice president of Global Good & Research Maurizio Vecchione joined Seattle’s top thought leaders to share his thoughts on the best approach to eradicating malaria by 2040.

This year, Puget Sound Business Journal took readers on a tour of IV Lab – home to a rocket engine, a particle accelerator, a simulated dinosaur tail and most importantly, our team of problem solvers.

Nathan Myhrvold shared his thoughts on what it takes to be a good inventor at the Bloomberg Top Tech Conferencediscussing the current invention environment and offering insight into what he looks for before investing in technologies like artificial intelligence. 

Global Good won the WGHA’s Pioneers of Global Health ‘Outstanding Organization’ Award and the USPTO Patents for Humanity Award for its invention of Arktek™, which is helping to save lives in countries with the lowest immunization rates in the world.

The Invention Science Fund partnered with the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC) to harness the vast potential of 3D printing technologies in new ways.

IV president and COO Adriane Brown was featured in Seattle Business.

The need to close the patenting gender gap and encourage more women to pursue STEM made received sustained national attention this year, making headlines in U.S. News and World Report, among others. IV also weighed in on the importance of diversity in driving innovation and helped to foster an interest in STEM among girls in the local Seattle community with Expanding your Horizons Network.

IV was a finalist for the Association for Financial Professionals Pinnacle Award, an annual award recognizing the leading finance groups for innovation, collaboration and results.

Global Good worked with Worthington Industries and the Indian Oil Corporation to launch its AI Shield in Tanzania and India, respectively. The technology helps cattle and dairy farmers by improving artificial insemination conception rates among livestock.

Inspiration through Invention

Kymeta CEO and president Nathan Kundtz wants to use metamaterials to change the world. He spoke with Puget Sound Business Journal to talk about bringing “a high-speed internet connection to anything that moves.”

Robert Fischell, inventor of the rechargeable pacemaker and the implantable insulin pump, shared a look into his problem-solving approach and creative process.

In these TED talks, seven young inventors tell stories of how they are finding innovative approaches to world health problems like Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and asthma.

President Obama awarded 21 Americans who have “helped push America forward” with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Of the 21 recipients, five have made contributions in tech and three of those are women.

Washington state ranked top in the nation for technology. Bonus: The article featured an image from IV’s very own IV Lab.

Imaging scientist and social impact inventor Ramesh Raskar won the Lemelson-MIT Prize for his Femto-photography work that is, quite literally, impacting how we see the world.

The new innovation hub at the University of Washington is fostering the next generation of inventors, scientists and entrepreneurs and making an impact in the Seattle community.

Want to catch all the 2017 invention news as its happening? Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Twitter

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Our People: Amy Steadman

Amy Steadman is a biochemist for Intellectual Ventures Lab, currently working on a cervical cancer screening project to develop a test that would help diagnose high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) in the pre-cancer stage. We recently spoke with Amy to learn more about her passion for using research to help women in the developing world, her inspiration for her work and how she rocks out in her free time. 

Tell us about your work.

I’m working on a cervical cancer screening project, developing a test to detect the high-risk HPV DNA, a common sexually-transmitted infection that spreads quickly among teenagers and young adults the world over and often causes cervical cancer. Hundreds of thousands of women in low resource settings die of cervical cancer each year. If it is diagnosed in the pre-cancer stage, treatment is non-invasive, effective and inexpensive. So we are trying to develop a test that allows a clinician to screen a woman, immediately report whether she has HPV before the virus has caused cancer, and then treat her on the spot.  

What inspires you most about what you do?

My parents have devoted most of their lives to aid and missionary work in low-resource settings, so they provided a great model of the value of service to others. Research is the practical approach I have taken to helping people who don’t have the same resources that many of us have in the U.S. If I find myself feeling frustrated at work, I try to focus on the women who need this [cervical cancer screening] test and who will ultimately benefit from it. I find the purpose of my work to be incredibly inspiring, and it allows me to push through any stressful moments.

Working in the lab is also totally fun, and I’m excited to come to work. I think it is easy to overlook how cool some of even the most basic techniques are. I get to visualize the localization of fluorescent mRNA in cells, see DNA in a nucleus, grow immortalized cell lines, amplify and analyze DNA, specifically detect ultra-minute quantities of protein in solution and read tons of interesting literature.

What do you do for fun?

I like being outside as much as possible, playing sports with my three-year-old and dog, going to Seahawks and Chiefs games, gardening and reading. I used to produce concerts and play music, so I’m kind of into that, but I play more “Rock Band” than real music at this point. My “Rock Band” band is called “Sizzle,” and I was one of the top ranked people in the world in Game of Thrones (Song of Ice and Fire) trivia. I also love traveling and eating.

Want to learn more about what inspires “Our People”? Subscribe to our newsletter today. 

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Inventors Gift Guide 2016

‘Tis the season to deck the halls and be jolly – why not splurge on a gift for the innovation enthusiasts in your life? From the aspiring inventor, to the seasoned chef or tech lover, our 2016 holiday gift guide is sure to impress. So go ahead, give your loved ones a gift that will have them geeking out all year round. 

Inventors Gift Guide 2016

For the inventor on the move:


Give the cyclists in your life the gift of eyes in the back of their heads with this augmented-reality helmet. The Optic helmet features front and rear cameras and a drop-down visor that can overlay live-streaming footage from the rear camera onto a rider’s field of view. The helmet can also show GPS navigation information and tracking statistics. 

For the ‘gotta have it now’ inventor:

At IV, we’re big fans of 3D printing and its vast potential to revolutionize nearly every industry – not to mention your holiday shopping list. Operating 25 to 100 times faster than conventional printing, the fastest 3-D printer will make for the perfect gift for the more impatient giftees on your list. Watch it in action here.

For the foodie and the chef:


Give the health conscious food lover in your life the power to see the nutritional make-up of their food right from the palm of their hand. This cutting-edge food scanner can instantly measure how many calories are in food. Or, if your giftee is a seasoned chef, consider this smart pan with a temperature sensor that connects to a smartphone app and brings a whole new level of precision into the kitchen.

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Thirteen Must-Read Stories Featuring Inventions that Propel Us Forward

“It’s ingenuity that will make the difference between a bleak future and a bright one.” – Bill Gates

Thirteen Must-Read Stories Featuring Inventions that Propel Us Forward

This quote hangs at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center along with a display of inventions making a worldwide impact, including Global Good’s Arktek™. But beyond its role as a backdrop, the quote embodies the ambition at the heart of invention – to create ideas that move society forward and improve lives. This month, the links we’re loving tell tales of inventors fostering big change through big ideas.

IV in the News

Global Good won the USPTO Patents for Humanity Award for its invention of Arktek™ – a device which can keep vaccines cool for more than a month with no power and is helping to save lives in countries with the lowest immunization rates in the world.  

IV metamaterials spinout Echodyne announced the successful test results of its new detect-and-avoid radar technology, which can “see” both moving and stationary objects.

Global Good recently worked with Worthington Industries and the Indian Oil Corporation to launch its AI Shield in Tanzania and India, respectively. The technology can help Tanzanian cattle and dairy farmers by improving the process of livestock breeding.

Along with top thought leaders in Seattle, Senior Vice President of Global Good, Maurizio Vecchione spoke with Reuters on his view for the best approach to eradicating malaria.

IV President and Chief Operating Officer Adriane Brown was appointed to both the Washington Research Foundation’s (WRF) and Allergan, Plc’s board of directors.

Global Good announced a new partnership with the Feinstein Institute and Sanguistat to find a solution to the leading cause of maternal deaths worldwide.

Young Minds, Big Ideas

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Here’s One Way We’re Celebrating Inventors This Thanksgiving

The time to gather around the table with food, family and friends to share what we’re thankful for is almost upon us. At IV, we’re taking our turn at the table to share a little early this year, as we express our gratitude for Inventors Digest – a publication committed to educating and inspiring inventors from all walks of life. The latest edition features wheelchairs transformed into dragons, Star Trek and an enduring champion for the small inventor. So this Thanksgiving – after the pumpkin pie – spend some time with these powerful stories of inventors and inventions that are transforming lives.  

Here’s One Way We’re Celebrating Inventors This Thanksgiving

Giving Thanks to Those that Give Back

This month’s issue highlights organizations that use the spirit of invention to help others. Among them is Magic Wheelchair, a nonprofit that builds Halloween costumes for children in wheelchairs. We should add that these “costumes” – far from your average Spiderman suit – are elaborate designs that incorporate each wheelchair in a big way. Past costumes include a mermaid riding a sea turtle, a Mickey Mouse train and a chef with a stovetop.  

Check out the full story to learn more about the “magic” wheelchairs putting a smile on the faces of kids throughout the nation, a UK organization fostering innovation to help people with sensory impairments, and even our own commitment at Intellectual Ventures to spark interest in science and STEM education. [PAGE 26]            

The Woman Who Started a Movement

In this month’s edition, you’ll also meet Joanne Hayes-Rines, a trailblazer who was one of the first editors of Inventors Digest and a passionate advocate for the American inventor. Her tenacious efforts to reform the U.S. patent system have made a lasting impact on the world of invention and it’s a story you don’t want to miss. [PAGE 22]

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Patents for Humanity: Global Good’s Passive Vaccine Storage Device, Arktek, wins USPTO Award

Through its Patents for Humanity Award, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) illuminates stories of technologies that are making real change in the world for those most in need. This year, one of those stories is ours to tell. 

In the developing world, more than 1.5 million children under the age of five die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases. Seven years ago, the Global Good team set out to change this. The team had a vision to help deliver vaccines to rural areas where vaccines are often critical, and power is scarce or nonexistent. 

Through the invention of Arktek™ – a device which can keep vaccines cool for more than a month with no power – inventors, rocket scientists, industrial engineers and health experts worked together to turn this vision into a reality. The technology has been transformative for countries with the lowest immunization rates in the world including Ghana, Ethiopia, Senegal and Nigeria.
 

Since the first U.S. patent was issued in 1790, patents have provided the momentum driving the developed world into each era of technological progress. In the modern invention landscape, the Global Good team draws on resources, such as patents, that are often reserved for commercial pursuits in the developed world to lift up those living in our world’s most impoverished countries.  

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Inspiring the Next Generation of Women in STEM with the Expanding Your Horizons Network

As IV President and COO Adriane Brown once said, “it is important to recognize that we as a company, a country, and as a world community must do better to encourage women to pursue educations and careers in STEM fields.” Intellectual Ventures is committed to adding more women voices to the world of invention. That’s why we have partnered with Expanding your Horizons Network (EYHN), a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing gateway STEM experiences to middle and high school girls that spark interest in STEM careers. 

Inspiring the Next Generation of Women in STEM with the Expanding Your Horizons Network

Photo courtesy of Expanding Your Horizons Network

Through its worldwide network of 100 STEM conferences, EYHN opens the minds of young women to the possibility of careers in math and science. At these conferences, girls meet and interact with female adult STEM role models and participate with their peers in hands-on STEM activities. The conferences consist of customizable workshops based on each girl’s specific area of interest.

Every year, EYHN conferences helps 24,000 girls in 33 states and three countries to recognize their potential as powerful thought leaders and innovators in the field of STEM.

IV has worked with EYHN for 3 years, supporting several local chapters in and around the Seattle area. Most recently, IV employees led hands-on workshops for middle school and high school students at Bellevue College and Seattle University, giving girls the opportunity to learn how STEM has enriched the lives of innovators on the IV team. Past IV sponsored workshops have included Invent This! Learn how great ideas are developed and patented hosted by volunteers from the Invention Science Fund and Epidemics! How diseases spread and what we can do to stop them hosted by volunteers from the Institute for Disease Modeling.

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The Heartbeat of Invention: How Pacemaker Creator Wilson Greatbatch Saved Countless Lives

“Failure is a learning experience, and the guy who has never failed has never done anything” – Wilson Greatbatch 

The Heartbeat of Invention: How Pacemaker Creator Wilson Greatbatch Saved Countless Lives

A lot can happen in a minute. In the world of scientific invention, a minute can be pivotal. A spark can trigger a life-changing idea for an inventor in a minute, and 60 seconds is all it takes for an inventor to make a huge mistake.

In some extraordinary cases, perhaps both phenomena can occur in that same moment in time. This was the case for Dr. Wilson Greatbatch, an inventor who in just a minute, made an error that led to a life-saving invention and forever changed cardiovascular healthcare.

The Mistake that Sparked It All

In 1956, Greatbatch attempted to create a heart rhythm recorder. However, after mistakenly adding an incorrect electronic component, the device produced electronic pulses instead of simply recording the sound of the heartbeat as he had intended. Listening to the pulse of the device, a sound similar to that made by a healthy heart, Greatbatch had his critical “a ha” moment. In that moment, he realized that this device could help an unhealthy heart stay in rhythm by delivering shocks to help the heart muscles to pump and contract blood.

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A Woman of Many Firsts, Marie Curie Embraced the Unknown

By any measure, Marie Curie was one of the most revolutionary scientists in history. In 1903, she became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. She was also the first person to be honored with two Nobel Prizes, and she remains both the only woman to win twice and the only person to win in multiple sciences. 

A Woman of Many Firsts, Marie Curie Embraced the Unknown

By Fotograv. - Generalstabens Litografiska Anstalt Stockholm [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

At IV, we are focused on the road ahead – how to make the future better than the present through new inventions. But as we generate ideas to propel our world forward, it is important to remember those brave pioneers who paved the road that we continue to travel on. Just ahead of what would be her 149th birthday, we honor one of these early trailblazers whose work led to the development of cancer treatments, advanced x-rays and the redefining of established ideas in physics and chemistry.

Widely considered the most important piece of research she conducted, Curie was able to show that the radiation was not the outcome of the interaction of molecules, but came from the atom itself. She used the electrometer, a device for measuring electrical charge, to determine that the activity of uranium compounds only depends on the quantity of the uranium.

In partnership with her husband, Pierre, Curie discovered two elements, polonium and radium. After almost a decade of research, Curie developed methods for the separation of radium from radioactive residues in order to characterize and study its properties, particularly therapeutic properties.  

During World War I, Curie recognized the need for field radiological centers near the front and developed mobile x-ray and radiography units. She helped to equip ambulances with x-ray equipment, which she herself drove to the front lines. It is estimated that over one million wounded soldiers were treated between the mobile units and the 200 radiological units at field hospitals.

Curie’s work helped overturn established ideas in physics and chemistry. The radioactivity of radium contradicted the principle of conservation of energy and forced a reconsideration of the foundation of physics. In addition, her research showed that the radioactivity of radium appeared to successfully attack cancer.

Curie devoted her life to advancing science, dying in 1934 from her long-term exposure to radiation. After her death, Curie became the first woman to be honored with interment in the Pantheon on her own merits. At IV, we look at where we are today in the world of science with overwhelming admiration for Marie Curie and her enduring legacy.

Explore more transformative Nobel Prize winners and the inventing legacy of Alfred Nobel.

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