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Failing for Success: Alexander Graham Bell

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” - Alexander Graham Bell

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Top Invention Podcasts to Listen to in 2017

At IV, we recognize the immense value of listening. The act of listening allows us to expand our knowledge, develop new ideas and learn from others. So as you charge into 2017 full-speed ahead, take some time to listen to our top picks of invention and science podcasts and learn from some of the best and brightest minds in the New Year.  

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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 

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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. 

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How the Road Less Traveled Led to Blue Jeans

Blue jeans have become an integral part of the clothing industry and our culture. They are fundamental, timeless and just plain ordinary. Yet, as Nathan Myhrvold points out in an interview with Bloomberg Advantage, the creation of blue jeans was not so ordinary. The man behind the jeans, Levi Strauss, a German-born émigré to the United States, developed the idea by seizing an opportunity that no one else had thought to pursue. 

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Trailblazing the Modern Computer Age in the 19th Century: Ada Lovelace

Computers have become such an integral part of our daily lives, it is difficult to imagine a time when their only use was thought to be solving math problems. In the early 19th century – well before the advent of innovative mouse technology or even typewriters – it was widely believed that computers would never have a use beyond crunching numbers. 

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IV’s Favorite Inventions: The Babbage Machine

Visit the Intellectual Ventures Lab and you’ll find one of IV’s favorite inventions, the Difference Engine No. 2 or Babbage Machine. Consisting of 8,000 parts, weighing five tons and measuring 11 feet long, this particular invention is hard to miss. But its size isn’t the reason it has a home in the IV Lab foyer. The Difference Engine No. 2 is the earliest mechanical calculator and widely considered to be the world’s first computer

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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.

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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

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Exploration at the Heart of Invention

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 reached the moon. 47 years ago, man took his first steps there. Today we’re reminded of how fast technology can develop in the right environment and the distance that invention can take us when inventors, investors, big and small companies, governments, universities and communities work together. 

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IV’s Favorite Inventions: Cipher Machines

If you ever visit Intellectual Ventures’ offices, you’ll notice that a few interesting inventions make their homes in our hallways. One of these looks like a typical typewriter — in fact, you would likely pass by it without a second glance, if you noticed it at all.

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Leap Year Calendar – An Ancient Example of Failing for Success

It’s easy to take for granted the days, weeks, and months that structure our modern calendar. But when you stop to think about it, as you may have on the rare February 29th, our calendar is pretty remarkable. Especially because the calendar was designed – and redesigned – in ancient times, long before the sophisticated, modern inventions that allow us to more accurately mark our place in space and time. 

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Honoring Women Inventors

Intellectual Ventures recognizes the similarly amazing contributions that women make in invention and innovation. During Women’s History Month, IV is honoring a few of the many women inventors whose work strengthens businesses, leads to economic development, and improves society as a whole.

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News You Can Use: National Inventors' Day

In honor of Wednesday’s National Inventors’ Day, News You Can Use features stories about inventions and inventors. Intellectual Ventures deeply appreciates the hard work and intellect that men and women across the country apply each day to developing new ideas that improve the world. People such as this year's National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees....

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Introducing “Behind the Breakthrough”

This National Inventors’ Day, Intellectual Ventures is kicking off a new series to spotlight the people whose ideas fuel progress. Over the coming weeks, we will feature interviews with the inventors and scientists in IV’s network and in the greater inventor community to understand their approach to advancing science and technology. We’ll also highlight their future visions and offer anecdotes about things they think might surprise people about working in the field of invention.

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Super Bowl Science: Innovations That Shaped Modern Football

Last year’s Super Bowl was witnessed by well over 100 million people around the world. It’s the most celebrated sporting event in the U.S. Those of us at Intellectual Ventures’ headquarters in Washington will argue that football is best celebrated here in Seattle, with our amazing Seahawks and in the company of the twelves. And while we’ll be watching Sunday’s game for the raw talent of Wilson, Sherman, and Lynch, there are a few innovations that we #SeahawksScience geeks will be watching for, too. Take a look at some of the technologies, sciences, and discoveries that have helped evolve the sport through the years.

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Inventor Superhero: Nikola Tesla

Inventors are doers, but first they are thinkers. And while some invent gadgets, others invent systems. This month’s IV inventor superhero thought long and hard about how to enhance the world we live in, and his inventions and system innovations are engrained in just about everything we use in modern life.

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IV’s Favorite Inventions: Typewriters

We believe that like ourselves, invention evolves. There are several examples of the evolution of invention at IV’s offices, including the antique typewriters in our lobby.

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The Evolution of Invention

Depending on your age, you’ve likely seen some of today’s most advanced technology in its infancy — a mere prototype of an idea born from zealous inventors. Remember these?

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Inventor Superhero: Ellen Ochoa

Like superheroes, inventors bravely venture into unknown territory, face tough challenges, and ultimately make life better for the rest of us. Next in our series of inventor superheroes, we’re celebrating someone whose talents have taken her all the way to space and whose research and inventions have made her a pioneer of spacecraft technology.

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IV’s Favorite Inventions: Cipher Machines

If you ever visit Intellectual Ventures’ offices, you’ll notice that a few interesting inventions make their homes in our hallways. One of these looks like a typical typewriter — in fact, you would likely pass by it without a second glance, if you noticed it at all.

Read full article »

Everything Ventured, Everything Gained

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 reached the moon. 45 years ago, man took his first steps there. Today we’re reminded of how fast technology can develop in the right environment and the distance that invention can take us when inventors, investors, big and small companies, governments, universities and communities work together.

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Patriotic and Peculiar Fourth of July Inventions

Here at the Intellectual Ventures headquarters in Washington state, we’re raising our stars and stripes this Independence Day to salute our nation’s innovative spirit. American inventors have done extraordinary things; they gave us the telephone, the assembly line, and the polio vaccine. It’s also important to honor the inventors who don’t have a dedicated chapter in the American history books. Their inventions may not be well known, but they are just as extraordinary in their creativity.

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World IP Day: Celebrating Invention across the Globe

Every year on April 26th, the World Intellectual Property Association (WIPO) celebrates World IP Day – a day intended to promote discussion of the role of IP in encouraging innovation and creativity. In honor of World IP Day and all the fantastic invention happening the world over, below are a handful of some of our favorite inventors and inventions from around the globe.  

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National Inventors’ Day: A Salute to Edisons Everywhere

Remember the 1980s? MTV launched. The Berlin Wall fell. And people were in hot pursuit of the next great invention. The disposable camera was invented, along with disposable contact lenses. Engineers built a prototype for the first HDTV. The forensic science field was forever changed by the breakthrough of DNA fingerprinting.

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IP for a Nobel Cause

Inventors have changed and advanced the course of human history, but one inventor has arguably done more than any other to promote and encourage the people who explore those ideas. Today we recognize Alfred Nobel, born on this day in 1833. Through his generous donation of today’s equivalent of 265 million dollars, his namesake, the Nobel Prize, continues to honor and support those whose discoveries and inventions “have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.”

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Local Museum Showcases Innovation

Tomorrow, Seattle’s Museum of Industry & History (MOHAI) is launching the Bezos Center for Innovation, an exhibit which explores how one city has become a nexus of big ideas that have shaped not only the Pacific Northwest, but also helped change the world. The grand opening will feature tours, presentations, and performances by some of Seattle’s most innovative individuals and organizations, and we are proud to be included. 

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Patent No. 1

In an important footnote to U.S. economic history, July 31, 1790 marks the date of the first patent granted in the U.S. The Patent Board had only recently been signed into law, and the patent application submitted for improvements “in the making of Pot ash and Pearl ash by a new Apparatus and Process” was reviewed by no less than Secretary of State and patent-examiner-in-chief, Thomas Jefferson.

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Invention, Pure and Simple

Thomas Edison said, “During all those years of experimentation and research, I never once made a discovery. All my work was deductive, and the results I achieved were those of invention, pure and simple.” 

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Honoring World IP Day

Dear Inventor, today is World IP Day and we want to say thank you. Thank you to the inventors for identifying a problem, solving it, and producing a better outcome. Thank you for taking the time to invent something new. We know it wasn’t easy and it took many tries, but you did it and it was worth it. And, thank you for following the steps necessary to get your idea, your solution patented so that the world can recognize the value of all your hard work. This is no simple task. We know. 

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