News You Can Use: April Edition

It’s been a great month for news profiling inventors, inventions, mentorship and more. Check out some of the links we’re loving from April.

News You Can Use: April Edition

IV in the News

IV’s Manan Shukla (above) talks with Rural Reporters about how the AI Shield can help improve the lives of cattle and dairy farmers across the developing world.

CNBC profiles IV spinout Kymeta and their groundbreaking metamaterials satellite technology. 

Inspiring Inventions

Stanford engineers invent ‘gecko toes,’ using inspiration from lizards to design an adhesive that could let people engage in superhero-like feats like climbing walls of glass.

Think Progress profiles wearable technology developed by students to help people with disabilities.

Insight from Mentors

Physicist Olivia Castellini, a senior exhibit designer at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, talks about the importance of mentorship in a new video.

The Smithsonian Institution Archives profiles Roxie Laybourne and some of her incredible advice gathered over a 44-year tenure with the institution as a forensic ornithologist.

Grand Finale

The National Inventors Hall of Fame inducted their 2016 class. Check out the amazing men and women and their breakthroughs.

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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Join in the Celebration with World IP Day

With the core belief that ideas are valuable and with a commitment to ensuring a thriving market for innovation, Intellectual Ventures (IV) is proud to take part in celebrating World Intellectual Property Day. Started by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2000, World IP Day gives us the opportunity to “learn about the role that intellectual property rights (patents, trademarks, industrial designs, copyright) play in encouraging innovation and creativity.” This year’s theme centers on the future of media, art, and culture in the digital age. 

Join in the Celebration with World IP Day

To get into the spirit leading up to today, IV’s Phyllis Turner-Brim, Vice President and Chief IP Counsel, hosted the 2016 AIPLA Women in IP Global Networking event for the greater Seattle area last week on April 21. Looking towards the future, Turner-Brim will be one of the impressive speakers scheduled to present during IPBC Global, the annual event for global IP leaders, taking place this June in Barcelona.

Businesses, associations like AIPLA, and organizations around the world are getting involved, and you can to. Read more about ways to engage during World IP Day.

Want more content on intellectual property? Check out News You Can Use: The Future of Intellectual Property and subscribe to our newsletter to stay up-to-date.

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Behind the Breakthrough: Scenes From Intellectual Ventures Laboratory

As we head off to Germany for the Hannover Messe trade fair, we’re offering a behind the scenes look at our state-of-the-art research lab as it pursues breakthroughs. Check out the photo series below for some of the technology that we’re excited to showcase next week.

Behind the Breakthrough: Scenes From Intellectual Ventures Laboratory

The Intellectual Ventures Lab is a state-of-the-art facility that brings together an interdisciplinary team of over 100 scientists and engineers to find creative solutions to some of the world’s toughest problems. These solutions include a laser that can quickly detect and kill disease-carrying mosquitoes and a cooler that can keep vaccines from spoiling for extended periods of time.

Every year, insects spread deadly diseases to humans and cause heavy losses to farmers worldwide by destroying crops. Mosquitoes in particular are the deadliest animals in the world. Each year they kill hundreds of thousands of people through transmission of diseases like malaria, especially in poor countries. To fight these insects, Intellectual Ventures developed the Photonic Fence (prototype in the photo), a laser-based system that electro-optically tracks and shoots down insects in midair.

3ric Johanson (pictured on the left), a research scientist at the Intellectual Ventures Lab, explains how the Photonic Fence electro-optically tracks mosquitoes and agricultural pests and shoots them down in midair. Every year, insects spread deadly diseases to humans, like malaria, and cause heavy losses to farmers worldwide by destroying crops.

Pneumonia kills more children than any other infectious disease, particularly in poor countries where hospitals lack access to therapeutic oxygen. To solve this problem, the Intellectual Ventures Lab is designing a mask that conserves the amount of oxygen delivered to a patient. The research team designed and built an anatomically correct, 3-D printed infant face and trachea models (shown here) to evaluate mask performance in preparation for a field trial.

Engineers Mark Kuiper and JR Noll stand in front of the oxygen concentrator with a prototype storage reservoir designed at the Intellectual Ventures Lab that aims to provide a lower cost and more reliable alternative to batteries in low income countries. Therapeutic oxygen is critical for premature babies and children with pneumonia, but hospitals in the developing world often lack access to it.

Developed in the Intellectual Ventures Lab, Arktek™ (in the photo), is a long-hold cold box that can store temperature-sensitive vaccines for a month or more with only ice. The Arktek was developed to help health workers provide life-saving vaccines to people in the most remote parts of the world where power and general infrastructure are absent or extremely poor.

A multichannel pipette is loaded with vital stain at the Intellectual Ventures Lab, a state-of-the-art facility that brings together an interdisciplinary team of over 100 scientists to find creative solutions to some of the world’s toughest problems.

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Showcasing the Power of Global Invention at Hannover Messe

Successful invention relies on a thriving global ecosystem for science and technology breakthroughs. At Intellectual Ventures, we’re proud to foster the vast infrastructure supporting the work of invention around the world. That’s why we’re heading to Germany later this month to demonstrate the value of an invention marketplace by showcasing some of the products we’ve created, our work with partner companies and the groundbreaking technology behind a few of our spinouts.

Showcasing the Power of Global Invention at Hannover Messe

Biochemist Amy Steadman monitors toxin levels using high performance liquid chromatography in the Intellectual Ventures Lab.

For the first time in the event’s 69-year history, the US is serving as the partner country for Hannover Messe, a leading global trade fair for industrial technology. We’re attending the conference as a part of the U.S. Commerce Department’s delegation and excited to continue to build global relationships and innovations to grow the marketplace for invention.

Our shortlist for the showcase includes:

  • The Photonic Fence, whose applications include agricultural pest and disease control;
  • The ArktekTM device, which keeps vaccines from spoiling in remote, low-resource, regions with poor infrastructure;
  • Our metamaterials spinouts, including Kymeta’s connected car technology, most recently profiled by CNBC; and
  • Partners like CollinsWoerman, Coffee Flour and Raisio who’ve partnered with us to commercialize a range of inventions.

In other words, inventions that touch and help people from all walks of life all around the world.

Inventing in today’s landscape is inherently collaborative. Contemporary problems are complex, traversing technological, geographical and policy boundaries. And technological developments over the past few decades have made our world more connected. It’s no longer only about the single inventor solving a specific problem, but about groups of smart people – often across different geographical regions - working together to solve really big challenges.

Innovation is a global enterprise. And our next stop is Germany.

Want more content on Hannover Messe? Follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter for the most up-to-date pictures, anecdotes and more from our team on the ground. 

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Encouraging the STEM Workforce of the Future

At Intellectual Ventures (IV), we are committed to empowering more young women to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and careers. That’s why we’re proud to be a sponsor of Expanding Your Horizons (EYH), a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing gateway STEM experiences to middle and high school girls that spark interest in STEM. 

Encouraging the STEM Workforce of the Future

Left: Nicole Dalluge and Christy Barwick run IV’s booth at the EYH career fair. Right: Svetlana Titova charts infection rates during a workshop.

Currently, data shows that women are still heavily underrepresented in STEM fields; according to U.S. News and World Report, women represent just 24 percent of the engineering workforce, 36 percent of the computing workforce, and 18 percent of the advanced manufacturing workforce. IV and EYH recognize that engaging with female STEM role models and participating in hands-on activities can inspire girls to further pursue STEM education and consider a career in a related field. Several IV employees joined three local EYH conferences over the last month to foster a passion for STEM among local middle and high school girls. You can check out our first post on IV’s participation here: “Empowering Girls to Pursue STEM with Expanding Your Horizons.”

The Importance of STEM Role Models

In addition to the IV volunteers presenting workshops, Christy Barwick, treasurer, and Nicole Dalluge, finance manager, staffed IV’s booth at the career fair portion of the conference, meeting with many of the young women in attendance and answering their questions about working in a STEM-related field. Christy and Nicole shared their professional journeys with the students and fielded questions about how they used STEM skills to get to where they are today, providing the girls with positive role models who are active in STEM-related careers. EYH conferences aim to facilitate meaningful conversations such as this between the attendees and women who have parlayed their passion for STEM into successful careers. These conversations help the young women envision doing the same in the future.

“As a mother of two young girls, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet these young women and talk to them about their current interests and how those could one day translate into successful careers. Even a quick conversation about my journey in finance and technology can spark inspiration and instill confidence in these young women.” –Christy Barwick

“Sharing IV’s story of innovation and exposing high school girls to the possibilities that lie ahead is invigorating, it’s one of the reasons we volunteer year after year.” –Nicole Dalluge

STEM Learning with IV’s Institute for Disease Modeling

On March 25, EYH held a STEM conference at Bellevue College for 600 high school girls to foster awareness of STEM career opportunities and encourage them to participate in related activities. Jaline Gerardin and Svetlana Titova, from IV’s Institute for Disease Modeling, presented a fascinating workshop on infectious diseases fittingly entitled ‘Epidemics!’ With recent outbreaks such as Ebola and the Zika virus top of mind, Jaline and Svetlana used a video of disease modeling to make a quick impression on the girls while capturing their undivided attention. The participants discovered how diseases like Ebola and malaria spread in different populations, and learned about potential ways to control future epidemics. The workshop also challenged the girls to address probability modeling and encouraged them to think critically about the ways in which we can look to eradicate or contain diseases globally.

Many thanks to Expanding Your Horizons for hosting an engaging series of conferences, and to all of our IV employees for volunteering their time to mentor students and to inspire girls to pursue a career in STEM.

Follow our IV in the Community series by subscribing to our newsletter, and check out more quotes from IV volunteers and mentors on our Facebook  LinkedIn pages.

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IV in the Community – April

April is shaping up to be a busy month for Intellectual Ventures, and our leadership has speaking events planned in communities around the globe. From Shenzhen, China to Hanover, Germany to Seattle, Washington, check out where in the world we’ll be this month. And if you happen to be in our neck of the woods, we hope you’ll join us.

IV in the Community – April

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Inventor Superhero: Claude Shannon

Just like Marvel Comic’s heroes, inventors venture into unexplored territory, overcome obstacles, and improve the world around them. Tinkering away in their invention lairs, inventors make the real-life gadgets that crack codes and save the world. They have the brainpower to solve complex problems that ordinary citizens can’t match. And like our most beloved superheroes, inventors inspire us to strive for ingenuity and pursue our dreams.

Inventor Superhero: Claude Elwood Shannon (1916-2001)

Superpowers: Mathematics, cryptography, card tricks, unicycling, juggling

Eureka! Moment:  When Shannon was in his 30s, he showed that text, telephone signals, radio waves, pictures, film — any form of communication — could be encoded in bits. This universal language written in binary digits 1 and 0 is known as binary code. Shannon developed a theory that once information was transcribed in binary code, it could be perfectly transmitted without error. His theory made it possible to use bits in computer storage. Today, many communication lines are measured in bits per second.

Cool Gadget: The Ultimate Machine. Shannon built a box with a large switch on the side. When the switch is flipped on, the lid rises to reveal a mechanical hand. The hand then reaches down, turns off the switch, and withdraws, leaving the box in its original closed state.

Superhero Lair: Bell Laboratories and MIT

Childhood Hero: Thomas Edison, who was Shannon’s distant cousin

Nemesis: Groupies. In his 1956 paper The Bandwagon, Shannon declared that Information Theory was being oversold. “It has perhaps ballooned to an importance beyond its actual accomplishments,” he wrote.

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Empowering Girls to Pursue STEM with Expanding Your Horizons

At Intellectual Ventures, we take pride in encouraging the next generation of inventors through mentorship and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. That’s why we sponsor several local conferences run by Expanding Your Horizons, a nonprofit organization committed to providing STEM workshops to middle and high school girls that spark interest in STEM activities and careers. All across the country, EYH is inspiring girls to recognize their potential and pursue opportunities in STEM. Several IV employees volunteered at local EYH conferences over the last month to present on the value of invention and innovation in STEM-related fields, and to foster a passion for STEM among local middle and high school girls. 

Left: Eleanor Goodall illustrates the task to students with help from the scooter. Right: One group’s plan for a multi-terrain scooter.

Invent This!

To teach middle school girls about invention and patents, Eleanor Goodall and Beth Schubert, both from IV’s Invention Science Fund, got together a few years ago and devised a workshop. The colleagues have since presented ‘Invent This!’ at EYH conferences for several years running. The workshop takes the girls through the process of inventing and applying for a patent. On March 12 and April 2, Eleanor and Beth presented the hands-on workshop to middle school girls at Seattle University and Bellevue College, respectively.

During the workshop, the girls learn about the development of ideas into patents. They then split into small groups to tackle their own invention challenge, to create a unique scooter that can function on water. Finally, they evaluate their own creations as the possible basis for patent applications. Each team can interact with and study the Ski Skoot® snow toy, a scooter with ski attachments that allow it to function on snow. Eleanor and Beth also provide handouts featuring patents on scooter-like devices for reference and inspiration. Throughout the process, students learn how to work together to solve a complex problem that demands engineering solutions, draft a patent application, and present their inventions to the larger group. 

Over the course of the six workshops delivered this spring, each team had its own creative approach. “Every group has a different plan of attack, but they always come away with an innovative solution,” said Eleanor Goodall. “By the end of the workshop, the girls have brainstormed unique scooter designs in response to the business and technical challenge they’ve been given, and considered whether the new ideas would qualify for patents. We’re thrilled to help spark curiosity and interest in STEM through the EYH conferences.”

IV is once again excited to have taken part in such encouraging events for girls in STEM, and we can’t wait to see what these future STEM innovators come up with next.

Follow our IV in the Community series by subscribing to our newsletter, and check out more quotes from IV volunteers and mentors on our Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

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News You Can Use: Inventing for Impact and More

Inventors inspire us, and those who made news this month were no exception. Check out this month’s News You Can Use for some of these noteworthy innovations, from a woman who developed an underwater wheelchair, to two inventors whose inventions make medicine more affordable. 

News You Can Use: Inventing for Impact and More

This video showcases an amazing invention allowing those who are wheelchair-bound to swim underwater. (Via

A high school senior invented a $35 device to diagnose lung conditions in the developing world and won $150,000 for her work. Congratulations and kudos, Maya! (Via Smithsonian)

This Irish inventor also won a major international prize for his low-cost medical invention – this time, a machine for kidney dialysis. (Via The Irish Times)

The inventor in this video is building a clock that will last 10,000 years as a symbol of the future and to make a point about the importance of long-term thinking. (Via National Geographic)

ProPublica marks the invention of the infographic – a device first used to mark the spread of cholera in New York City in 1849 – and leveraged to visualize data countless times since.

IPWatchdog talks about the work of two of the most impactful inventors in history: Einstein and Tesla.

Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center highlights amazing female inventors throughout history in honor of Women’s History Month.

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:

Related Posts

The Women of Behind the Breakthrough: Retrospective

As Women’s History Month draws to a close, we’re featuring key insights from some of the amazing women of our Behind the Breakthrough series. Read on for their inspirations, lessons for leaders, wisdom for young people and more…

The Women of Behind the Breakthrough: Retrospective

From L to R: Grace Huynh, Christy Barwick, Phyllis Turner-Brim

On lessons for leaders:

“Speak up. Don’t wait for new assignments to learn new skills. Ask for them.

Don’t dismiss criticism. Whether true or false, you need to address that perception of you.

Engage a mentor or career coach. A mentor/coach can help even more if they understand your field.” – Christy Barwick, treasurer

On progress she hopes to see:

“I would like to see improved global healthcare. Our research is making an impact, but there is always more to be done. The population will keep growing and we need to ask ourselves, ‘what are we doing to make sure everyone has a healthy and productive life?’ With more research, we can take big steps towards addressing the spread of preventable diseases that rob so many people of their livelihood and lives each year. As a society, we should always look out for one another. We will keep progressing if we do.” – Grace Huynh, senior research scientist at the Institute for Disease modeling

On teaching the value of IP to younger generations:

“We are part of an innovation society today, in large part because of young people. If we passionately explain to younger generations that they have the unique ability to develop technologies that can be leveraged for monetization, it would go a long way. Additionally, we need to educate younger individuals about innovation and invention, and patents in general. This will make them better “IP citizens” in the sense that they will understand how to obtain their own IP rights. They will also understand why respecting the IP rights of others is so important. It all comes down to education. Our younger generations are enthusiastic and intelligent. I have a lot of faith in them to not only understand and defend IP rights, but also to lead our innovative future.” – Phyllis Turner-Brim, chief IP counsel and vice president

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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Props to @IVinvents' vaccine storage device featured in this tweet by @WHO on World Immunization Week.…

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In honor of #NationalSuperheroDay, we're celebrating some of our favorite “Inventor superheroes” incl. James Dyson.

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On April’s News You Can Use, check out the #invention and #mentorship links we’re loving this month:

Apr 28