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Behind the Breakthrough: Manan Shukla on AI Shield

Last year, Behind the Breakthrough profiled Manan Shukla, an associate commercialization lead at Global Good who was born in a small village in India and raised and educated in the United States. Manan has traveled extensively in some of the most impoverished regions in the world, working with farmers to understand the problems they’re facing and what technologies could help. 

Behind the Breakthrough: Manan Shukla on AI Shield

Today, Manan shares an update about Global Good’s work on the Artificial Insemination Shield (AI Shield), challenges facing cattle and dairy farmers in the world’s poorest countries, and his hopes for the future. 

Why did Global Good prioritize developing artificial insemination technology for dairy and cattle farmers in the developing world?

Global Good focuses on problems in the world’s poorest countries that have potential for technological solutions. In 2014, our collaborator, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, identified that the growth of artificial insemination in low-income countries has been hampered by low conception rates. Since this problem fit squarely into Global Good’s mission – and because the ability to successfully breed cattle can have such a dramatic impact on farmers and families in the developing world – we started innovating technologies that could help address the problem.

What we came to realize was that the real issue was the ability for technicians to keep the semen cold. And in the artificial insemination world, there’s little room for error -  in many cases, 100% of sperm can die after one minute of exposure to the wrong temperatures. Even in a developed country like the United States, it’s estimated that handling issues, like the one I just described, account for a near 10 percent decrease in fertility. Of course, the problem is worse in the developing world—primarily because training is less rigorous—leading to devastating consequences for farmers and artificial insemination programs alike.

What we’ve developed in the AI Shield is a simple, proprietary cold chain solution that can reliably keep frozen bull semen at the proper temperature.

What’s next for AI Shield?

We’re really excited about Worthington Industries’ official launch of the AI Shield in Africa later this week at the African Dairy Conference in Kigali, Rwanda. At the conference, AI industry leaders will have the chance to learn about the technology and its benefits. Usually, the main buyers of AI equipment are governments who then provide them to AI technicians. It will be great to see the technology in the field in Africa impacting farmers’ lives.

We are also working with our newest licensing partner, the Cryogenics Business Group of Indian Oil Corporation, to make the technology available in South Asia for the first time. Later this year, Indian Oil, will be launching the product in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan.

We’re excited to see Worthington and Indian Oil expand their markets with our technology, and in so doing, make the AI Shield available worldwide.

What are your hopes for the future of this kind of technology?

Our goal with technologies like the AI Shield is to improve the conception rates of cattle in low-income countries. Ultimately, our hope is to improve the lives of smallholder farmers and their families, who depend on their livestock for nutrition and income. 

Follow our Behind the Breakthrough series by subscribing to our IV Insights blog, and check out more quotes from inventors and scientists on our Facebook and LinkedIn pages.  


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News You Can Use: Summer Olympics Edition

This month we’ve celebrated and showcased STEM in our communities, and appreciated outstanding displays of tenacity and teamwork – traits inventors often share – from Olympic athletes in Rio. Check out some of the links we are loving from August. 

News You Can Use: Summer Olympics Edition

IV in the News

Washington Global Health Alliance announced IV’s Global Good won ‘Outstanding Global Health Organization’ at the organization’s Pioneers of Global Health Awards.

Senior Vice President of Global Licensing Cory Van Arsdale sat down with IPPro Patents to discuss the role of licensing and collaboration in the global innovation ecosystem.

Nathan Myhrvold and the local community were thrilled to see a rare T. rex skull delivered to Seattle’s Burke Museum.

The Olympics

We hope you enjoyed the Olympics as much as we did! Did you realize that you watched the events courtesy of a number of new high-tech inventions?

As you’ve seen through our blog series Failing for Success, ideas take recurring trial and error to perfect. The Huffington Post highlights Olympians who have treated failure as an opportunity, not as the end of the road.

The New York Times profiles Olympic champion Katie Ledecky’s coach, Bruce Gemmell, an engineer and inventor who holds 11 patents.

Young Inventors

The Washington Post visits Camp Invention, a STEM-based camp encouraging kids to dream big and chase new ideas.

 

16-year-old South African Kiara Nirghin won Google’s Community Impact Award for creating an absorbent polymer that can be used to fight drought.

P.S.: You can thank former NASA engineer Lonnie Johnson for inventing one of your favorite summer toys: the Super Soaker. 

Want more News You Can Use? Follow us on Twitter and get the good stuff in real time.

News You Can Use

Intellectual Ventures regularly shares roundups of invention and intellectual property news. To read the other posts in this series, see below:


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Must-See Invention Movies for the Dog Days of Summer

Courage in the face of adversity, tenacity when the goal seems impossible and an undying commitment to progress – break out the popcorn and take in the inspiration, because inventors’ stories make for fantastic movies. Read on for some of our favorite invention movies – and then kick back and watch their trailers. 

The Theory of Everything

The Theory of Everything” depicts the remarkable life of one of the world’s most brilliant astrophysicists (and mentor to Nathan Myhrvold), Stephen Hawking.

The movie offers stunning detail on a life story that’s familiar to many – how Hawking, after being diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and given less than three years to live, defied the odds to make groundbreaking contributions that help the world understand the universe around us.

Throughout his life, Hawking has been a husband, a father, a best-selling author, a renowned mathematics professor, an astrophysicist and, of course, an inventor in his own right. He was the first to set forth a theory of cosmology explained by the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics.

His revolutionary ideas and inventive spirit continues to inspire scientists and inventors from all over the world.

 

The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game” follows the life of Alan Turing, an English mathematician, cryptanalyst and scientist recognized widely as the father of theoretical computer science.

But in cementing his legacy as an invention powerhouse, Turing secured another, perhaps more significant, accolade: war hero. Without his ingenuity, applied in spades to create the Turing machine, the Allied forces may never have cracked the Nazi’s Enigma code – a breakthrough in cipher technology.

The movie demonstrates the emotional and often tumultuous journey to develop breakthrough technology in a situation where failure would have had very real consequences for the future of the world.

 

Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin” tells the remarkable story of the world-renowned inventor, autism advocate and livestock handling expert.

After discovering that she had autism at an early age, Grandin invented the “hug machine”—a device used to calm individuals with autism spectrum disorders. The machine was initially inspired by Grandin’s realization that animals seem to relax in stressful situations when they’re “squeezed.” Grandin went on to significantly improve animal welfare by developing related livestock handling systems.

Perhaps most remarkable about Grandin, is the fact that she accomplished so much while battling her own autism diagnosis. Grandin, who was unable to speak until she was four-years-old, transformed her personal adversity into success as an inventor and advocate for autism and animal rights. She was one of the first individuals to publicly share her personal experiences with autism and was named a hero in Time Magazine’s Time 100 list in 2010.

 

For more real-life inspiration from scientists and inventors, check out our Behind the Breakthrough series.


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Inventing for Impact… Literally

The problem of head trauma in football is getting lots of attention – and for good reason. Stories of professional players’ suffering the effects of years of brain injury populate the news, and statistics show that even young players aren’t immune.

Inventing for Impact… Literally

While it’s still unclear whether helmet technology can ever prevent concussions, inventors are hard at work on new technologies that could make football safer. In the August issue of Inventors Digest, these inventions take center stage. Be sure to check out the full stories, available digitally here

What’s happening to the helmet?

Helmets are designed, in theory, to reduce brain injuries. But, as IPWatchdog’s Gene Quinn and Steve Brachmann write, current versions reliably protect against blunt impact but offer precious little protection against the conditions that lead to serious injury.

A cadre of inventors and start-up companies are working to develop new technologies that may be able to start mitigating head trauma in football. Their innovative ideas range from a helmet featuring self-recovering airbags, to a device that increases the amount of blood in the cranium so that the brain fits more tightly within the skull, to a two-layer helmet that rotates to help lessen impact from rapid twisting and torsion.

More details on these inventions and companies on pages 24-27 of the magazine.

Is the answer on the outside?

Many of the inventions described above address what’s inside of the modern helmet. But former NFL punter Zoltan Mesko and a team of innovators are putting a leaf-spring device, similar to what forms the suspension system on a wheeled vehicle, on the outside instead.

Reid Creager tells the story of how Mesko joined up with a fellow Michigan alum and six Harvard MBA, medical and law students to develop their new technology. Mesko and company’s go-to-market device is designed to help on the practice field first – where 76 percent of concussions occur as kids try to prove themselves.

Check out the full article on pages 20-23 of the August edition.

Interested in more stories like this one? Inventors Digest delivers useful, entertaining and cutting-edge information to help its readers succeed. Subscribe today. And stay tuned as we partner with Inventors Digest to spotlight these kinds of stories. 


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The Next Generation of STEM Superheroes: Meet Ayantu, Ray and Aisha

Superheroes venture into unexplored territory, overcome obstacles, and improve the world around them. At the Intellectual Ventures Lab, we think of ourselves in a similar way. Using our science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) superpowers, we invent real-life gadgets that could save and improve the lives of millions of people across the planet. 

The Next Generation of STEM Superheroes: Meet Ayantu, Ray and Aisha

Future STEM heroes visit the Intellectual Ventures Lab.

We were excited to recently host a group of 60 STEM superheroes-in-training from across the Seattle area. These high school juniors are part of the University of Washington’s Math Science Upward Bound program and are exploring careers in the sciences and engineering. The students toured our electronics, optics, mechanical engineering and biotech labs, learning about some of the nifty gadgets we’re developing in our not-so-secret lair – technologies like Arktek, a super thermos that uses space technology to keep life-saving vaccines cool as they are transported to children in remote areas, and the Autoscope, an automated microscope that uses artificial intelligence to detect malaria in areas with few trained microscopists.

The students also had a chance to hear from Aidan, a summer intern who is helping to design a device to diagnose tuberculosis, and Amanda, a scientist who is developing a test to measure the bacterial contamination of milk, among others.

We caught up with a couple of these STEM superheroes to find out what their superpowers are and how they plan on deploying them to improve the world. Meet Ayantu, Ray and Aisha:

Ayantu, high school junior

STEM Superpower: Medical microbiology

Quest: Wipe out infectious disease.

“If I had a superpower, I would be trying to find a cure to diseases that are wiping out a wide population, like HIV. I’m interested in that because I’ve known people who have had diseases like that.”

Ray, high school junior

STEM Superpower: Asking questions!

Quest: Improving water quality

“It's ridiculous how some parts of the world don’t have the kind of quality we have that we take for granted. We have tap water that's 100 percent healthier than what you get in third world countries. I think that a lot more people should work on that problem.”

Aisha, high school junior

STEM Superpower: Research

Quest: Creating new dermatitis treatments

“I have eczema. I want to do research and find ways to get rid of it.”

Thank you, Upward Bound, for visiting us at the Lab. Though we are working hard to develop breakthrough technologies that can address global challenges, we know that we can’t tackle them alone. We need to inspire the next generation of STEM superheroes to join the fight, and continue to invest in an innovation ecosystem where ideas can thrive.

To stay up-to-date with the Lab, subscribe to our newsletter. Learn more about the next generation of STEM superheroes this summer on Facebook and Twitter.


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Colin McNelis, 17, Invents to Solve Your Problems

Ever had your phone charger bite the dust at the most inopportune moment? Tempted fate with a partial charge because you didn’t have enough time wait for a full battery? Colin McNelis has a solution for that – and he’s only 17.

Colin McNelis, 17, Invents to Solve Your Problems

During his visit, Colin enjoyed a tour of the IV Lab with his mother, Bernadette (center), as well as meeting with Adriane Brown, President and COO (bottom right).

Colin won the IV Insightful Invention Award for his new cell phone charger adapter that prevents wire stress and increases charge speed at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) held in Dublin, Ireland earlier this year. After hosting him at our Bellevue headquarters this past week and witnessing his inventive spirit for ourselves, we’re sure this isn’t the last you’ll hear from Colin.  

Throughout the day, Colin shared his prototype and discussed his patent application with a wide range of individuals at IV including President and COO, Adriane Brown. We also took some time to talk to Colin about his hopes for the future and advice to young innovators. Here’s what he had to say:

What technological breakthrough would you like to see in your lifetime?

I’m very keen on the space and aviation industries. I’m currently studying part-time to obtain my private pilot’s license, so I hope to see personal aircraft and space travel in the not too far future.

What advice do you have for young learners?

I started thinking about the BTYSTE years before I actually applied. I looked at all the entry details for the competition and would go every year, and finally I got the confidence to just go for it and put myself out there. So I’d tell anyone in that position, who maybe isn’t sure how they’ll do or are maybe not 100% confident in their ideas to stop procrastinating and just get out there!

Sage advice indeed. IV is proud to support the annual competition that brings together the brightest young minds from across Ireland to showcase the next generation of scientists, inventors and innovators. To inspire the inventors of tomorrow, we must encourage the students of today to pursue education and careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), fields that we recognize as the cornerstones of invention.

A big thank you to Colin for making the journey from Ireland to spend the day with us. We can’t wait to see what Colin comes up with next!

Want to know Colin’s #STEMSuperpower? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn to find out as we highlight the next generation all summer long.


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IV’s Favorite Inventions: Fire Hoses

Two of the most powerful natural elements on Earth are arguably water and fire. What can stand between these two elements is often simply a tube — that is, a fire hose. Intellectual Ventures has several antique fire nozzles on display at our Bellevue headquarters, and this invention’s unique ability to connect two dominant forces makes it one of IV’s favorites.

IV’s Favorite Inventions: Fire Hoses

Antique fire hoses on display at IV's Bellevue headquarters

We’ve probably all seen the photos in our history books of townspeople passing buckets of water back and forth to douse a house fire. There were few other options for firefighting until Jan van der Heyden –widely known as a painter – and his brother Nicolaes invented a new fire hose in the early 1670s. Their hose was 50 feet long, created from leather tubes sewn together, and attached to gooseneck nozzles on engines that pushed through water. However, the Heyden hose and many of the hoses that followed were often heavy, cumbersome, and unstable.

It wasn’t until the 1800s that advances in hoses began to (ahem) catch fire. Cities like Philadelphia began to tie hydrants into water mains to provide water sources closer to potential fires. In 1807, two American firemen banded a hose’s seam using metal rivets instead of traditional stitching, which led to a stronger and more durable product with fewer leaks.

In 1821, inventor James Boyd patented his design for a rubber-lined, cotton-webbed fire hose.  In 1838, Charles Goodyear discovered that rubber could be converted into a more durable material through the vulcanization process, and shortly afterwards, BF Goodrich created a rubber hose reinforced with cotton ply. More improvements followed, and by the early 1900s, lighter linen hoses were becoming the norm.


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Failing for Success: Henry A. Ford

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry A. Ford

Failing for Success: Henry A. Ford

Henry Ford, standing, and Barney Oldfield in 1902, via Wikimedia Commons.

Henry Ford is one of the most renowned entrepreneurs in history. He optimized transportation and forever changed the United States automobile industry. His innovative manufacturing process produced low-cost, reliable vehicles, while simultaneously keeping his workers well-paid and loyal.

Before his success, however, Ford encountered failure during initial production of his first automobile. His investors got cold feet over Ford’s meticulousness, and he was unable to find solid financial backing for the automobile in his first two ventures. Nonetheless, Ford used the lessons from these failures to instruct his future success as an inventor and a businessman.

William H. Murphy Folds…Twice

Once Ford created the Quadricycle, an automobile prototype, he needed funding to start work on enhancing it. Capital was difficult to attain, however, and in the late 1800s no one had established a standard business model for the automobile industry. Ford convinced William H. Murphy, a Detroit businessman, to back his automobile production. The Detroit Automobile Company resulted from this union, but problems arose shortly after its creation. In 1901, a year and a half after the company began operations, Murphy and the shareholders got restless. Ford wanted to create the perfect automobile design, but the board saw little results. Soon after, they dissolved the company.

Ford recalibrated his efforts after his first failure. He realized that his previous automobile design depended on serving numerous consumer needs. He convinced Murphy to give him a second chance, a rare occurrence in the early 20th century. However, their second venture, the Henry Ford Company, stumbled from the start. Ford felt that Murphy pressured him to prepare the automobile for production and set unrealistic expectations from the beginning. Shortly after Murphy brought in an outside manager to supervise Ford’s process, Ford left the company and everyone wrote him off.

These two failures could have been career-ending, but Ford continued. Several years after the second parting with Murphy, Ford met Alexander Malcomson, a coal magnate with a risk-taking spirit like Ford. Malcomson gave Ford full control over his production, and the company introduced the Model A in 1904.

For Henry Ford, failure did not hinder innovation, but served as the impetus to hone his vision for a technology that would ultimately transform the world. 


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Igniting Curiosity in Discovery: Pacific Science Center and the Festival of the Fountains

As a company committed to fostering a culture of innovation, we’re always looking for ways to support that same enthusiasm throughout the communities in which we live, work and play. On July 22, 2016 a group from Intellectual Ventures (IV) joined in the celebration at the 50th annual Festival of the Fountains under the historic arches of the Pacific Science Center to do just that. 

Photo credit: Seattle Met, view the photo album here.

More than 500 people attended the gala which brings together members throughout the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) community to celebrate the Science Center’s mission to inspire a lifelong interest in science, math and technology for all.

IV is proud to be a longstanding supporter of the Science Center, with our president and COO Adriane Brown serving as the secretary of the board of directors. Most recently, Adriane served as the event chair for the 13th annual Foundations of Science Breakfast, to help raise over $300,000 for the Science Center to continue their work to empower tomorrow’s innovators for generations to come.

Inspiring the next generation of inventors – and STEM advocates – is a shared passion of Adriane, IV and the Pacific Science Center. As Adriane once told a classroom of young women:

“The workforce of the future is going to revolve around STEM, and you can be the leaders of that movement. If you don’t give up on yourself, we won’t give up on you.” 

So in the true spirit of Adriane’s sentiment, in just a couple of weeks we’ll welcome a group of young people from the Science Center’s Discovery Corps program to take an inspiring tour of the IV Lab, as we’ve done for the past few summers.

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News You Can Use: One Small Step for Man…

As founder and CEO Nathan Myhrvold remarks, “Inventions are the foundation of all technology.” The stories we’re loving this month offer the inspiration for amazing achievements – as grand as putting a man on the moon 47 years ago – made possible through the power of the idea. Check out some of the links we’re loving from July.

News You Can Use: One Small Step for Man…

Technology to Change the World

We were thrilled – but not surprised – to see Washington state ranked top in the nation for technology. Bonus: The article features an image from our very own IV Lab.

Metamaterials spinout Evolv demonstrated its groundbreaking technology with the promise to prevent mass casualty events. Check out the video on CNBC.

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.

The People Behind the Idea

C-3PO and R2-D2 encourage participants in this video teaser for the DARPA Robotics Challenge, where teams design rescue robots.

We routinely profile inventors who failed before they succeeded, and this Entrepreneur article explains why breakthrough ideas are often met with resistance.

On the anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, the Science Friday podcast discusses the little known story of the incredible contributions of women coders whose ingenuity saved the day on the moon landing. 

Want more News You Can Use? Follow us on Twitter and get the good stuff in real time.

News You Can Use

Intellectual Ventures regularly shares roundups of invention and intellectual property news. To read the other posts in this series, see below:


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